SOUTH BEND -- City officials and local businesses have put millions of dollars on the line to develop South Bend's technology sector.
Time will tell if those investments pay off in jobs and economic growth, but the buzz is building around local tech projects in the meantime.
NPR told the nation about South Bend's transition in a radio segment that aired last month.
More recently, the Smart+Connected Communities Institute, a think tank based in San Jose, Calif., featured South Bend among 10 cities worldwide that are reinventing themselves through technology.
Laurence Cruz, who wrote the report "Smart Cities Exposé: 10 Cities in Transition 2012," said South Bend's inclusion doesn't mean it's one of the world's smartest cities.
But it's on the right track.
"This is not a list of the top 10 smart cities; this is a sampling of different cities at different stages in their smart initiatives," Cruz said in a phone interview. "South Bend came to our attention as an interesting city that's just getting started in that area and certainly has some promise."
Other cities in the report are: Barcelona; Boston; Busan, South Korea; Oulu, Finland; Rio de Janeiro; Rivas-Vaciamadrid, Spain; San Francisco; Singapore; and Stockholm.
For the South Bend section, Cruz interviewed Kevin Smith, CEO of Union Station Technology Center, and Nick Easley, the center's director of strategic initiatives.
Smith bought Union Station in 1979 and transformed the old rail depot at the south end of downtown into northern Indiana's largest data center. Now he's working with city officials to expand across the railroad tracks into a former Studebaker assembly plant.
Smith talks about South Bend's "intelligent sewer system" that uses sensors to detect rising waters and prevent overflows. He also discusses the value of the St. Joe Valley Metronet's broadband infrastructure and the area's low power costs.
The Smart+Connected Communities Institute is run by a collection of companies and nonprofit organizations with the goal of helping city planners, developers, academics and other leaders shape sustainable cities.
Cisco, a networking equipment company based in San Jose, is the lead partner at the institute.
Cruz said local governments in some of the highlighted cities are Cisco customers, and some aren't, but that wasn't a factor in choosing which cities to include in the report.
"We wanted to be neutral in our approach," he said. "We didn't exclude cities that were using Cisco technology, but we also didn't choose cities because they were using Cisco technology."
South Bend's city government is a Cisco client for some telephone and technology services.
Staff writer Kevin Allen: