One of the questions I was asked about the awards given by the Intelligent Community Forum is what does it take to become an intelligent community. I’ll try to summarize what I’ve learned from participating in the ICF as a keynoter, juror and (before Cisco) a leader of a Top 7 community.
Among the few hundred communities that apply in this contest, it is clear the first step is make sure the community has sufficient broadband. Almost all of the things that intelligent communities can do for and with their residents depend upon that connectivity in one way or the other.
Second, high-speed connectivity is not enough to stand out in this global competition. The next question is what a community does with the technology. Is it transforming:
The way that residents interact with their government?
How residents — from pre-kindergarteners to seniors — are educated?
How well the physical aspects of the community are managed?
How residents are kept healthy and safe?
The local economy and the income opportunities for residents?
… Just to name some of the evidence that ICF is looking for.
Intelligent Communities Forum Co-Founder Louis Zacharilla preparing to announce the 2013 winner.Read More »
As urban growth accelerates and resources are stretched thin in cities around the globe, the concept of “Smart Cities” is more important than ever before. That’s one reason I’m excited to be in Nice, France, this week to help launch the “Connected Boulevard,” an ambitious proof of concept built to leverage and anticipate the Internet of Everything (IoE) for smart and connected city services.
The Connected Boulevard is the first real-world example at the city level of how IoE is enabling infrastructure intelligence and value through connections among people, processes, data and things. This proof of concept involves 200 sensors and detecting devices in the city center of Nice, providing context-aware information on parking, traffic, street lighting, waste disposal, and environmental quality.
Click on the video below to see the Connected Boulevard in action and to hear Mayor Christian Estrosi and Director General Anne Boquet explain how the Internet of Everything is helping Nice to realize its plan to become a Smart City.
I can hardly wait. In two days the suspense will be over and the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) will have selected its 2013 Intelligent Community of the Year. With so many extraordinary and innovative communities in the running, I’m glad it’s not up to me to choose one. But I do have the thrill and privilege of seeing it all happen, live in New York City at the ICF Summit this week.
I and the other attendees will no doubt listen in awe to the inspiring leaders from all around the world as they talk about the way their organizations are changing the way people in their communities or regions work, live, play, and learn. Who will be this year’s winner? One strong candidate is Toronto Canada, one of this year’s Top7 communities. Learn more about their initiatives in the video below:
Later today, we’ll hear from Toronto’s Councillor, Michael Thompson, and have the opportunity to pick his brain during a group Q&A session to learn more about how Toronto is improving their economic and social environment by providing community network services to its constituents, with its energy-reducing smart and connected buildings to link residents and businesses, with portals and kiosks to provide real-time services to citizens, and with smart sensors and surveillance for public safety. I’d say they’re a pretty tough contender!
Not long ago this joke was buzzing around the Internet:
Question: Why was the computer late to work?
Answer: Because it had a hard drive.
David Letterman does not have to look over his shoulder but the corny little joke is loaded with possibilities for a discussion about the power of the Cloud and communities.
As the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2013 make their way toward New York this week for the annual dialogue among 250 invited global thought leaders (including Cisco’s Dr. Norman Jacknis, who will give this year’s “Revolutionary Community” keynote talk), the ingredients for the secret sauce used to re-energize communities for the 21st Century will be revealed by its “chefs. “ I am guessing that one of the revealed secrets will be that the idea of being late for work has become passé. Connectivity, when invested in properly, unleashes a new knowledge workforce and revives communities that have been looking for ways for their local economies to flourish. Certainly broadband connectivity and more affordable access to the cloud remain big drivers for community revival and at least part of the secret toward solving many problems, including commuting and productivity.
So is vision. Attendees will also hear from people like BlackBerry co-founder Mike Lazaridis , who will discuss why he believes quantum computing will be the next silicon for his community, Waterloo, Canada, the 2007 Intelligent Community of the Year. He has invested CAN$250 million in a fund to begin to make it so. He has the right environment. Waterloo, a city of only 120,000 people, produced 10% of all the publicly-traded companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2007. This was not an accident. It shares traits with Intelligent Communities everywhere.
The journey to smarter cities and communities has gained momentum in recent years, as a recent BBC article highlights. I’d like to offer a few points from my experiences over the last five years exploring this territory:
First, the critical issue is how to move beyond visions and prototypes, to scaling and adoption.
Second, the whole notion of smart cities should also be reappraised.