Forbes features CTO Kalyn Sims on Smart Cities

The following contains excerpts from “How City Leaders Can Champion Smart City Technologies” written by Kalyn Sims (CTO, Safety & Infrastructure, Hexagon) and published by Forbes on 18 February 2022. You can read the original article here.

When it comes to looking forward and empowering an autonomous future, robust thought leadership is absolutely essential. At Hexagon, we are proud to work with many of today’s most prominent industry thought leaders and celebrate their achievements in helping to shape the future. One of these leaders is the Chief Technology Officer of Hexagon’s Safety, Infrastructure & Geospatial division, Kalyn Sims.

As CTO, Kalyn focuses on the growth and development of new product offerings and innovative technology. The founder of Denali Solutions, she joined Hexagon in 2011 through the acquisition of her company and has continued to push the boundaries of smart technology’s reach ever since – which is why it’s no wonder she was selected for the Forbes Technology Council to contribute her insights to the world.

In her recent article “How City Leaders Can Champion Smart City Technologies,” we are treated to a new perspective in the implementation of smart technologies that can be easy to overlook – the human element of leadership and its role in stewarding the value of these solutions for cities. Let’s take a look at some highlights, and you’ll see why Kalyn Sims is a voice to follow in the conversation on smart cities:

“Having the proper teams in place and on board with their vision is vital to a leader’s campaign for citywide transformation. Training, retraining and upskilling departmental leaders and employees to have a holistic view on embracing change is imperative. This includes creating a culture that fosters risk and empowers teams to develop innovative solutions to a wide range of challenges.”

It’s true – change is never easy, and the first solution is not always the correct one. In order to find the best fit for the diverse needs of different cities, there is always a need for experimentation and iteration. However, large-scale projects for cities take significant time and resources, and the expense and uncertainty of trying something new can be hard to overcome. Leadership has the power to take daunting risks and turn them into exciting opportunities by demonstrating the value of technologies that can reinvent the way they use data for the better. Once teams understand the amazing tools they have available to them, change seems less scary.

“Breaking down the traditional silos between organizations and sharing key operational data can have a tremendously positive impact on the ability to meet citizen needs. For example, incident response can be improved by disparate organizations across a city coming together and collaborating from the onset to avoid missed opportunities and conflicting actions. Bridging the gap for more coordinated response allows city departments to operate more like a single entity with shared situational awareness when needed.”

This is the future of smart cities – a system where the entire city functions as a cohesive entity based on shared and efficiently utilized data. This kind of interconnectivity has previously seemed nearly impossible, with a multitude of agencies and services operating independently and inefficiently. With a centralized solution like HxGN Connect, collaborative efforts can become immediate, efficient and automated, creating more responsive city services without the work of information gathering or the frustration of communications breakdowns. These changes don’t just change how a city operates – they transform it

“Today, city leaders have the unique opportunity to enhance the efficiency of all urban operations and services, while also meeting the needs of future generations. By embracing holistic smart city technologies, leaders can advocate for their communities by fostering collaboration to inspire true resiliency.”

Empowering an autonomous future isn’t just about using technology for its own sake. Thoughtful and purpose-driven leadership creates conditions that leave communities and people with the space to live and grow, untethered by the restrictions that come with management shortfalls and unexpected crises. Freedom from these roadblocks allows a city’s people to thrive and innovate, leaving a better place for those who come next with sustainability at the forefront. The promise of autonomy to empower industry and inspire new ways of thinking is the key to living in a world where technology truly takes care of us all.

These are only a few of the possibilities Kalyn Sims explores in her latest article, and you can read even more of her contributions on We are honored to call her our colleague, and can’t wait to see what else she has in store to make our cities better, safer and – most importantly – smarter.