Smart Cities Miami 2019

On January 25, 2019 U-SoA hosted its 3rd #smartcitiesmiami2019 in partnership with the Center for Computational Science (UM-CCS), breaking attendance records, from all (2) prior events. #smartcities is about the smart-city phenomenon in our city, on the street, in real-world applications, and in partnership with local government and industry. This year’s theme focused on transportation, social AI, and privacy.

Keynote Speaker, Rony Abovitz, of Magic Leap, discussed #Magicverse, the recent partnership with the University of Miami and how as a community, the future of our city lays within identifying and solving issues through spatial computing in a variety of destinations: manufacturing, food, media, technology, and healthcare. Members of the conference separated into groups and discussed issues that were later explored with panelists sharing projects and ideas for smart and #transformativechanges to be implemented across Miami, and how the process behind the projects using #emergingtechnologies will be used in the design.

This year’s conference launched the competition, Design your Coral Gables: Smart Cities Solutions,  a chance to bring ideas to life by prototyping technology solutions on 1 of 5 Transportation and Traffic challenges.




LOCATION   Jorge M. Perez Architecture Center |   Press Release
University of Miami School of Architecture, 1223 Dickinson Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146


Smart Cities MIAMI 2019 Speakers

KEYNOTE SPEAKER  Rony Abovitz, Founder, President, and CEO | Magic Leap

Rony founded Magic Leap in 2011 (working late nights in his garage studio). Prior to Magic Leap, he co-founded MAKO Surgical, which went public on NASDAQ in 2008 and was acquired by Stryker Corp in 2013. Rony was named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum for his work on computer-assisted technologies for minimally invasive surgery. Rony graduated from the University of Miami with degrees in mechanical and biomedical engineering, was the cartoonist for the school newspaper, was a DJ at WVUM, and threw javelin for the track and field team.

PANEL 1 Smart City Infrastructure: Prospects for Miami

The panel explores projects and ideas for smart infrastructure with a potential to transform Miami.

MODERATOR  Nicholas Tsinoremas, Center Director | UM Center for Computational Science

Dr. Nick Tsinoremas holds faculty appointments at the Miller School of Medicine and the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami. He is the Founding Director for the University of Miami Center for Computational Science.

Dr. Tsinoremas is an international leader in computational genomics and bioinformatics, and brings over 25 years of academic and industrial experience to the University of Miami. He received his B.A. in Chemistry from the University of Athens, Greece, and his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Leeds, UK. Before joining the University of Miami, he served as Senior Director of Informatics at The Scripps Research Institute-Florida. There, he recruited and managed the Informatics and IT groups for the newly formed Scripps Florida.

As Director of Computational Genomics and Genomic Discovery at Rosetta/Merck , Nick directed the project that combined informatics and computational approaches with gene expression profiling and genetics to discover, prioritize, and define drug target genes. Prior to working for Merck/Rosetta, Tsinoremas was the Vice-President of Genomics at DoubleTwist Inc., where he determined the scientific direction of DoubleTwist’s bioinformatics applications and databases.

Ivan Espadas Espinosa Ivan Espadas | Founder & CEO of Blue Ocean Technologies and Urbetica

Ivan is the Founder and CEO of Blue Ocean Technologies, a Mexican innovation & technology firm specializing in software development and digital government projects integration. He is also Founder & CEO of Urbetica, a smart cities technology integration firm actually developing the “Zenciti – Internet of Living” project (a combination of a smart city, a startup city, and a living lab) in southeast Mexico—a state-of-the-art nearshore location.

Actual Vice President of Human Capital Development at the Electronics, Telecommunications, and Information Technologies Industry National Chamber. Winner of the Yucatan Entrepreneur Award 2014, granted by the State Government through the Yucatan Institute of Entrepreneurs. Endeavor Nominee. E&Y 2013 and 2014 Entrepeneur of the year finalist.

Public accountant, has a master’s degree in public administration and other certifications in Electronic Government and Information Technology. Former public official with experience in management positions related to Information Technology, Innovation and Technological Development.

Smart Cities MIAMI 2019 Panelist Commissioner Eileen Higgins Commissioner Eileen Higgins | Miami-Dade County District 5 

After graduating from the University of New Mexico, Eileen got her start as an engineer in a blue jumpsuit at a heavy-duty manufacturing plant, where she learned to streamline processes and solve inefficiencies. She then earned her MBA from Cornell University, working as a marketing executive for some of the world’s largest brands. This international business expertise would prove vital when, in 2006, she accepted a commission to serve as Country Director for Peace Corps Belize. As Director, she oversaw an 85-person team and revamped operations, developing new ways to understand local concerns and affect change in the Central American nation. She later continued her public service as a Foreign Service Officer in the State Department, working to improve the bilateral relationship with Mexico and implementing U.S. economic policy in South Africa.

Since moving to Miami following her diplomatic service, she’s joined various organizations and boards, including but not limited to the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), People Acting for Community Together (PACT), the Downtown Neighbors Alliance, Miami Climate Alliance, Sierra Club, League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County, and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. When she’s not fighting for the families and individuals who call District 5 home, she enjoys exploring the different parts of Miami and taking in the natural beauty of our city.

Smart Cities MIAMI 2019 panelist Brightline's Mike Salzman Mike Salzman | Chief Development Officer, Brightline

Mike is responsible for all passenger rail and real estate development across the U.S. Mike will lead the Phase 2 expansion between West Palm Beach and Orlando and the potential Phase 3 expansion to Tampa. He will also oversee Brightline’s expansion into other markets across the country and transit oriented development opportunities.

Prior to joining Brightline, Mike served as senior vice president and head of Americas development for Caesars Entertainment. During his nearly 10-year tenure at Caesars, Mike developed more than 2.7 million square feet over six completed projects representing $2 billion in invested capital, including the LINQ Promenade, the Las Vegas High Roller observation wheel and the Octavius Tower at Caesars Palace. Mike also led a 90-acre masterplan in Las Vegas and several $1 billion-plus development bids.

Mike received an MBA with a concentration in Real Estate Management and Finance from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Dartmouth College.

Eric Singer Eric Singer | Partner, Bilzin Sumberg

Eric has focused his practice for the past several years in the areas of government procurement and complex government transactions, including public-private partnerships (P3). Eric combines that practical experience with extensive academic knowledge, gained as a visiting faculty member and research fellow at the New York University School of Law, where he studied P3s across the United States and abroad, in order to further his clients’ goals. Prior to joining Bilzin Sumberg, Eric also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Danny J. Boggs of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Eric handles the full spectrum of public-contracting issues, from preparation of proposals through appeals of administrative bid protests, and has represented clients on some of Miami’s most transformative public-private projects. For example, as part of securing a $300-million Metrorail contract for an Italian company, he defended a bid-protest appeal to the Federal Transit Administration.

Smart Cities Miami 2019 Panelist Darren Ware Darren Ware | Sr. Business Development Manager, Cisco Latin America

As Sr. Business Development Manager, Darren works with the Public Sector across Latin America. His focus areas include: macroeconomic and industry trends impacting enterprise technology, emerging cities, and urbanization and technology consumption.

PANEL 2 Designing with Smart City Technology

The panel explores emerging technologies, from Artificial Intelligence to Virtual and Augmented Reality, that are changing the way we design and build.

Smart Cities MIAMI 2019 Moderator Joel D. Lamere MODERATOR  Joel D. Lamere |  Assistant Professor, UM School of Architecture (Practice: GLD Architecture)

Joel Lamere is an Assistant Professor in the University of Miami School of Architecture. He was formerly the the Homer A. Burnell Chair at MIT, where he had been teaching courses in architectural geometry, design and representation since 2007. His research addresses the future of building practice, through innovation in emerging means and methods. More specifically, his work critically explores the forms and other outcomes facilitated by an expanding palette of materials available to architecture, proliferating digital fabrication techniques, and evolving simulative design environments. Joel established the design practice GLD in 2010, with partner Cynthia Gunadi, as a vehicle to pursue architectural projects in the broader professional context, which confront the middle ground between full-scale buildings and pure research.

Steven Aukstakalnis Steve Aukstakalnis | Practical AR

Steven Aukstakalnis (Awk-sta-call-niss) is an author, research scientist, and consultant in the area of man-machine interfaces and interactive systems. He is the former Director of the Virtual Environment and Interactive Systems Program for the NSF Engineering Research Center for Computational Field Simulation. He has served on the professional research staff at the Univ. of Washington and the faculty of Mississippi State University. Steven is the author of three books published in seven languages on the topic of AR/VR and the mechanics of human perception. He has spent more than two decades working in the development and application of fully immersive and optical see-through displays, spatial audio, and tactile feedback devices in such areas as architecture, medicine and defense.

Amy deDonato Amy DeDonato | Interaction Designer, Magic Leap

Amy DeDonato is an Interaction Designer at Magic Leap, where she works on the future of spatial computing in the built environment. Before joining Magic Leap, she practiced, researched and taught architecture and urban design in New York City, London, and surrounds for five years. In 2014 she was named Yale University’s Bass Scholar in Architecture and awarded a scholarship for her research on the impact of science and technology in London city planning.

She holds a Master of Architecture degree from Yale University, a Master of Philosophy in Architecture from the University of Cambridge, and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from The Ohio State University.

Olivia Ramos Olivia Ramos | Founder and CEO, Deep Blocks

Olivia Ramos is Co-Founder and CEO of Deep Blocks, a pop-tech company out of Singularity University, using artificial intelligence to optimize real estate development. Olivia graduated from three Singularity University programs, GSP, Incubator, and the Accelerator and was a participant in the DARPA Innovation House.

She holds a Masters of Architecture from Columbia University, a second Masters of Real Estate Development from the University of MIami, and a Bachelor in Architecture from the University of Florida.

Cristian Robiou Cristian F. Robiou | Founder, Clarity Value, Inc.

Cristian Fernando Robiou is the founder and CEO of Clarity Value, Inc., a company creating a modular work flow automation engine designed to help cities manage the permitting and inspection process. He currently leads growth for Camino AI, a government technology startup led by the founders of OpenGov, and based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mr. Robiou previously acted as the co-founder and CEO of Caribe Exotic Juice Co, a wellness food and beverage brand co-founded with fellow University of Miami alums, and as founding Chief Operating Officer for Startupbootcamp – Digital Health, based in Miami, Fl. A graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of Miami, Mr. Robiou is devoted to building a long term entrepreneurial ecosystem that fosters high impact community and market engagement.

Lorenzo Valdes Lorenzo Valdes | BIM Coordinator, Turner Construction Company

Lorenzo Valdes, BIM (Building Information Modeling) Coordinator for Turner Construction Company, has brought buildings to life from virtual concepts to physical landscape. Turner’s emphasis on virtual, lean, safe, sustainable construction is industry leading and exceeds the standards, utilizing BIM and VR for more than just awe-inspiring renderings. Lorenzo’s experience from preconstruction through closeout has allowed clients and architects to start with a simple sketch, collaborate through conflicts in a virtual setting, and manage operations through 3D facilities software reducing downtime for large institutions.

A graduate of Florida International University, Lorenzo’s immediate focus on BIM has allowed him to explore a range of software, hardware and delivery methods over the past decade.




Gold Sponsors

Bilzin Sumberg logo


Bronze Sponsors

Zenciti logo City of Coral Gables logo





Smart Cities Miami 2019 flyer