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:

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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!

If you’re an avid reader of our blog, you recently heard from Louis Zacharilla, Co-Founder of ICF, as he discussed the important role of cloud in intelligent communities, particularly in Taiwan, home to two of this year’s Top7.   Cloud definitely plays a significant role in successful communities, but what can quickly be seen when learning about what each nominee and past winner is doing to pioneer their vision, is that any success is a combination of a myriad of technologies, strong public and private partnerships, and taking bold steps into unchartered territory.

Such is the case with this year’s nominees and I can’t wait to hear more about how each has hit the mark for ICF’s five critical success factors, the criteria used to select the winners:

  • Broadband Connectivity
  • Knowledge Workforce
  • Innovation
  • Digital Inclusion
  • Marketing and Advocacy

Additionally, the awards are guided by one more criterion:  an annual theme.  This year, ICF will examine the relationship between innovation and employment, and balancing the positive and negative impacts of that innovation to generate economic growth, high-quality employment, and quality of life to citizens.  Cisco’s very own Dr. Norman Jacknis will be providing his perspective on this during his “Revolutionary Community” keynote talk at the summit Thursday, and we will post the full video as soon as it’s available.

To learn more about the Intelligent Community Awards program, nomination process, and timelines, visit the ICF website here.

We will keep you updated throughout the week, photographing, posting, and blogging, so if you want to stay in the loop, connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.  We’ll also continue with blogs on this topic throughout the month of June, so stay tuned for more great content from industry and subject matter experts.

Click the image below or here to learn more about how others have used mobility to make their communities more intelligent.

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Stacey Arthur

Public Funding Advisor

U.S. Public Funding Office