What is an Intelligent Community? How is it different from a Smart City? And what do those differences mean for the community’s future?
Smart Cities deploy ICT into municipal infrastructure and processes to meter, monitor and automate in ways that save money, increase efficiency and improve quality of service. It may be a network of cameras and environmental sensors that feed into an operations center for day-to-day traffic management or emergency response. It may be GPS units in every city vehicle to improve routing, provide location data and make sure that municipal workers are doing their jobs. It may be smart grid or water metering systems that detect problems early and prevent costly crises from erupting.
These are valuable services that make government run better and cheaper. They significantly improve quality of life and can even involve citizens and organizations more deeply in governing the place they call home. In a word, they make cities work better.
Intelligent Communities represent the next step. The work of Intelligent Communities focuses on making better cities, suburbs and rural regions. Intelligent Communities work to build inclusive prosperity on a foundation of information and communications technologies. They ensure their citizens and employers have the broadband infrastructure needed in the 21st Century. They work tirelessly to improve the educational opportunities of every citizen, and to grow, attract and retain innovative companies to employ them. They insist on environmentally sustainable development to protect their heritage for the next generation. They strive to involve every citizen – regardless of income, age or ethnicity – in the broadband economy for reasons both moral and eminently practical. Most important, they make their people and institutions into passionate advocates for the positive changes needed to keep their community strong in an age of technological, economic and social disruption.
Smart Cities start with problems and use technology to solve them in innovative ways.
Intelligent Communities start with vision, build on community and make technology-smart decisions about their future. Most of this work has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with the values of leadership, collaboration, trust and faith in a better future. It takes place in big cities, suburban communities and rural counties. It is the means by which ICT investment can be translated into employment growth, economic vibrancy and cultural richness. It is the way to prepare the place called home for a strong future in the 21st Century.
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