Visionary of the Year

The Visionary of the Year award is presented to an individual or an organization that has taken a leadership role in promoting broadband technology and applications as an essential utility in the Digital Age.  The recipient must have a proven track record in bringing about cooperation between the public and private sectors, and must be recognized by peers as an expert in the field.

Intelligent Community Visionaries

knowledge-square_sml.pngRio de Janeiro's Knowledge Squares Program (2016)

The Knowledge Squares program is the brainchild of Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes and city CIO Franklin Dias Coelho.  It targets the extreme level of income inequality in Brazil’s cities. Working with companies such as Cisco and Embratel, Rio officials developed the Knowledge Squares with a clear goal: to develop young citizens into a knowledge workforce that is prepared for the upcoming international events and the greater global broadband economy in a way that is not possible in the public schools.  To achieve this goal, Knowledge Squares offer classrooms, labs, digital libraries, recreation areas and a cinema, and provide young people and local communities with skills training in IT, robots, graphics, Web design and video production. For both the public and private partners, the program is a win-win: Rio has a way to educate its citizens and develop a knowledge workforce, and the companies now have a larger potential employee base for business expansion into Latin American markets. MORE >>>

Dr-Jason-Hu-Web.jpgDr. Chih-Chiang (Jason) Hu, Vice Chairman of the Want Want Group (2015)

Dr. Chih-Chiang (Jason) Hu was named the 2015 Visionary of the Year for his decades of work in government service, including what it called his “revolutionary leadership” of Taichung as Mayor and his work as his nation’s Foreign Minister. Under Dr. Hu’s leadership, Taichung City partnered with telecom companies to increase broadband accessibility to over 90% of its population, fostered alliances between the city’s 23 universities and high-tech industries to generate a workforce with extreme digital and vocational skills, and initiated transformative urban development projects, including the Calligraphy Greenway, a nature path through the city celebrating culture and commerce and the construction of a new performing arts center and opera house, which is Asia’s largest. His vision for transforming an industrial economy into one that combines culture, sustainability and growth led to Taichung being named the 2013 Intelligent Community of the Year. Dr. Hu accepted his award and delivered the keynote address during the 2015 Intelligent Community Awards Dinner. MORE >>>

Suneet-Singh-Tuli-and-his-Ashtak-Tablet.pngSuneet Singh Tuli, CEO of DataWind, Ltd. (2014)

Suneet Singh Tuli has over 23 years of experience as a serial entrepreneur, having launched two successful companies prior to DataWind. At DataWind and previous ventures, he patented technologies that were created to develop scanning, printing and imaging products that set world records in both price and performance. The products created through these ventures have received numerous awards and accolades, including recognition by the Guinness Book of Records. Mr. Tuli was cited for the development of the Aakash II/UbiSlate tablets, which the Intelligent Community Forum believes will revolutionize access to knowledge for billions of people and stabilize communities in the process. The tablet is the world’s cheapest computer, according to Forbes Magazine. One of his best-known quotes is about his mission. Mr. Tuli said, “I don’t care about creating the iPad killer. I care about the four billion people who can afford this device.” The 2014 Intelligent Community Visionary of the Year has previously been recognized by Forbes Magazine in its 2012 Impact 15 list as a “classroom revolutionary” using innovative technologies to reinvent education globally. He was also named the 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year at the World Sikh Awards.

lazaridiscloseup.gifMike Lazaridis, BlackBerry Founder and Vice Chairman (2013)

Mike Lazaridis is the creator of the technology that made secure real-time push-email communications possible on wireless devices for the first time – a breakthrough that opened the door to the mobile devices that are fast becoming the world’s first choice for access to the Broadband Economy.  Mr. Lazaridis has had a lifetime of innovative contribution to his community of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, ICF’s 2007 Intelligent Community of the Year. In Waterloo, Mr. Lazaridis has founded two research institutions of international significance: the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, an independent theoretical physics research institute and the Institute for Quantum Computing, a research center focused on fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics and their applications to information processing which was established within the University of Waterloo. He has also served as Chancellor of the University of Waterloo, which awarded him an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree. Mr. Lazaridis also holds honorary doctoral degrees from McMaster University, University of Windsor and Université Laval. In addition, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and has been named to both the Order of Ontario and Order of Canada. He was awarded Canada's most prestigious innovation prize - the Ernest C. Manning Principal Award - has been listed on the TIME 100 List of Most Influential People, and was honored as a Globe and Mail Nation-Builder of the Year.

Stehen_Conroy.jpgSenator Stephen Conroy, Australia's Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (2012)

Senator the Honorable Stephen Conroy has demonstrated extraordinary commitment and passion in attempting to enable the development of a digital age infrastructure in one of the world’s most promising and unique nations. Even before its national broadband policy, the Senator’s thinking on the subject enabled several Australian communities to achieve Intelligent Community status. Senator Conroy was appointed Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy in November 2007 and added Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Productivity in September 2010. He also serves as the Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate. Senator Conroy is dedicated to using media and communications to foster innovation and growth among all sectors of the society. He has had an active involvement in the Australian communications portfolio for over ten years. He has a broad range of portfolio responsibilities, not least the famed National Broadband Network, the largest nation-building infrastructure project in Australian history. The NBN is considered by ICF and others the enabling foundation for Australia's digital economy. Other responsibilities include overseeing Australia’s digital television switchover, regulating e-security and cyber-safety, and safe-guarding the radio frequency spectrum. Recently, Digital Productivity was added to his portfolio responsibilities.

Suvi-Linden-140.gifSuvi Linden, former Minister of Communications, Finland and member United Nations Broadband Commission for Digital Development (2011)

Minister Linden set out to understand the role of the Internet in the city of Oulu, which is the “Silicon Valley” of Finland and one of the early first-movers in the Intelligent Community movement.  Through her work and effort, Finland has worked hard to develop an information society.  However, not everyone had access initially to the Internet.  The Internet, as Ms. Linden knew, would be increasingly essential for a prosperous economy, its health and education.  It would, in short, help define the future of a civil society.  She began to think of it as an essential human right.  Under her guidance, Finland became the first country in the world to make Internet access a fundamental right.  On July 10, 2010, ISPs in each geographical area of the country were required to ensure that each citizen has access to at least a 1 Mbps speed connection. Minister Linden has served in the Finnish Parliament since 1995 and became Finland’s Minister of Communications in 2007.  She was previously Minister of Culture.  Minister Linden is also a Chair of the Ubiquitous Information Society Advisory Board in Finland. Minister Linden currently serves as Commissioner, United Nations Broadband Commission for Digital Development and Member of the United Nations Advisory Board of the Digital Health Initiative. 

ShawnGraham-140FL.gifPremier Shawn Graham, New Brunswick, Canada (2010)

In October 2006, Shawn Graham was sworn in as the Premier of New Brunswick, Canada.  His vision was to propel New Brunswick to a “have” province by 2025.  In 2010, that vision is very much within grasp. Though predominately rural, New Brunswick is working steadily to diversify the towns and villages that have traditionally relied on farming, fishing and forestry into Intelligent Communities.  In the late-1980s, the Province developed a partnership with NBTel and jointly invested in infrastructure to attract large companies to New Brunswick.  IBM, Xerox, Purelator, FedEx, UPS Air Canada, and TD Bank all brought their call centers to the Province.  Today, the local call center industry is worth $1.5 billion and employs 20,000 New Brunswickers.  In the late-1990s, the government created Connect NB, a network of 200 community access centers in rural towns and villages that provide tools and technology for adult learners to upgrade their skills and credentials, search for jobs and access government services.  Today, New Brunswick has more than 400 companies operating in the IT sector, employing 10,000 people and contributing $1 billion to the economy.  Under Premier Graham’s leadership, New Brunswick has also seen two cities place in the Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year:  Fredericton in 2009 and 2008, and Moncton in 2009. 

Andre-Santini-photo.gifMayor Andre Santini, Issy-les-Moulineaux (2009)

Mayor Santini had a vision of rebuilding Issy’s economy as far back as the 1980’s.  Mr. Santini early envisioned a time when information and communications technology would take the place of traditional industry as a generator of jobs.  In 1994, Issy launched the first version of an e-government portal to share information with citizens.  By 1995, Issy had free Internet access in its Media Library and, in 1997, the Council added online access to its cable and Internet broadcast of meetings, inviting citizens to ask questions by telephone or email.  In 2002, Issy introduced Internet voting for neighborhood council elections and, by 2005, 62% of citizens were participating in the elections, of which nearly 94% voted over the web.  In 2003, Issy became the first French city to introduce free public WiFi in locations ranging from government buildings to hospitals, hotels and convention centers.  Issy’s economic success has funded the rich array of broadband applications deployed by government.  The efficiency of these applications has, in turn, made it possible for Issy’s population to grow 35% since 1990 without an increase in the total government payroll.  With employment approaching 95%, Issy has the distinction of having 15% more jobs than residents, and a Web-savvy population in which 98% of respondents told a recent survey that the Internet had fundamentally changed their lives. 

BBE08-Rourke-Podium2.gifScot Rourke, President, OneCommunity (2008)

As president and CEO of OneCommunity, Mr. Rourke led the successful effort to develop an ultra-broadband community network serving first the city of Cleveland and then the entire Northeast Ohio region.  Under his leadership, OneCommunity attracted a wealth of resources, including donated fiber and equipment to power this next-generation communications infrastructure.  Since start-up, the OneCommunity network has expanded and will soon connect more than 1,500 schools, libraries, governments, hospitals and universities to each other and the Internet.  Subscribers receive ultra broadband at a fixed cost, while schools are receiving free services due to the Cleveland Clinic’s sponsorship of OneCommunity’s “OneClassroom” program.  The program captures world-class content from the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Museum of Art, PBS and other sources for use in the classroom.  In 2006-07, the OneCommunity network hosted an 18-month program called Voices & Choices, which engaged tens of thousands of area leaders in Web-enabled "town meetings" in order to educate people about the challenges facing the regional economy and obtain their input.  Voices & Choices has led to a regional economic development plan called Advance Northeast Ohio, which focuses on business growth and attraction, talent development, inclusion and government collaboration for greater efficiency.

Afghan-Consulate-8-06-FL.gifAmirzai Sangin, Minister of Communications, Afghanistan (2007)

Minister Sangin was cited for having successfully overseen the implementation of a "turnkey" multi-technology voice and data infrastructure at an impressive rate.  Among the notable achievements in 2005-2006 was the use of the new broadband infrastructure to support national elections.  The Ministry, working with international companies, including Cisco Systems, Microsoft and Globecomm Systems, has completed projects that include digital phone service to 11 provinces and connectivity to 34 provincial capitals via satellite and microwave networks.  Forty ministries and government offices in Kabul, the national capitol, were also connected via fiber optics and microwave.  "This is true nation-building using broadband as one of its technical keystones," said ICF Chairman Jung, who presented the award.  The award was presented by New York City's CIO Paul Cosgrave (right) to Minister Sangin.  

ICF05-NEPAD-FL.gifNew Partnership for Africa's Development 

The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) received the award for its e-Schools Africa project. The project began to take shape in July 2001, when five heads of state (Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa) agreed to pursue a mandate to create sustainable programs to integrate Africa into the global economy. One of the most promising projects was the e-Schools Africa initiative, designed to connect 600,000 schools to the Internet. The project has gained the support of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the African Development Bank. Private sector partners leading the consortium for the NEPAD E-Schools demonstration program include Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft Corporation, satellite operator INMARSAT Limited, Oracle Corporation and Cisco Systems.  His Excellency, Ambassador Simeon Adekanye of Nigeria (left) and Pam Mallela, Manager, ISPAD accepted the award on behalf of NEPAD.

BBE04-Mexico-Visionary.gifPedro Cerisola, Mexico, Secretary of Communications and Transport, Government of Mexico (2005)

Under the direction of Mr. Cerisola, Mexico has begun a national initiative called, “e-Mexico,” to link 90% of the nation’s population to the global information highway through the development of 10,000 “Digital Community Centers.” The goal of e-Mexico is to increase Internet usage nationally from 4.5 million to 60 million users. The e-Mexico initiative was launched as a directive from Mexican President Vicent Fox and phase one was begun in 2003. As of May 2003, 3,000 sites have been installed. Javier Perez, General Coordinator for the E-Mexico National System, (left) accepted the award on behalf of Secretary Cerisola and the Ministry.

Intelligent Community Founders Awards

The ICF Founders Awards are presented to individuals, applications, organizations and innovations within Intelligent Communities that are transforming life in the Broadband Economy for the common good  The Founders Awards attempt to identify best practices, sustained programs or inspiring initiatives and give them global recognition.  Honorees are selected by ICF's founders.

Intelligent Community Founders Awards 2012

Mexico’s “Vigilante Taxi Driver” Program 

The City of Tuxtla Gutiérrez (population 555,000) launched the Vigilante Taxi Driver program to involve citizens in improving public safety and quality of life in this community, located in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Prior to the development of the program, crime was rampant in Tuxtla Gutiérrez and the city was challenged to maintain and upgrade its infrastructure.

The service is provided through the Vigilante Citizen Monitoring System, which consists of an integrated platform that combines the use of cell phones for taxi drivers with multimedia and GPS, and a Web platform that receives and plots the information and makes it available to city agencies responsible for public safety, utilities and maintenance.

Nearly 3,500 taxi drivers between the ages of 19 and 80 use their mobile phones to alert the Citizen Monitoring System about accidents, potholes, downed street lights and leaking water mains, as well as crimes in progress. The system integrates 46 municipal departments and agencies at two levels of government.

Commenting on the award, Tuxtla Gutiérrez mayor Felipe de Jesus Pastrana Granda noted his immense gratitude to ICF and said, “The program has demonstrated its effectiveness and is recognized as part of our Intelligent Community initiatives. It encourages public participation and I am proud to say that it is evidence of the benefits of technology and innovation for citizens. We look forward to the events in New York."

Since the program was initiated, drivers have reported on nearly 2,500 car accidents, 146 stolen vehicles (of which 80% were recovered), and 30 illegal bars, which have since been closed. Vigilante Taxi Drivers have identified counterfeiters of license plates and official documents, assisted in dismantling kidnapping and car-theft gangs, and saved the lives of more than 130 people injured in accidents or crimes. 

ICF noted, “The Tuxtla Gutiérrez program represents a near-perfect blend of technology and citizen participation. It is the essence of ordinary technology used to achieve a high level of innovation. It relies on the mobile phone—a simple technology—to engage citizens in improving their community.”

For his part, Governor of the State of Chiapas, Juan Sabines Guerrero, added, "The Taxi Driver Vigilante program is one of the most successful public participation programs in Mexico. It shows the importance of how technology can contribute to the development of cities, and allows citizens to have the tools to be harbingers of change in their community."

Intelligent Community Founders Awards 2011 

Springfield mixed development community, Ipswich, Australia 
A planned community is an opportunity for developing a community the right way, but it is also an opportunity for making irreversible mistakes. In the early 1990s, a major planned community began development in Springfield on a total land area of 2,860 hectares, anticipating a planned population of 86,000 residents. Because it was a community that had been planned from the beginning, it was able to design special precincts for Health, Education, Business and Retail with communications technology underlying the entire development. An emphasis on first establishing a broadband and IT infrastructure to anticipate the needs of the population resulted in the development of a sophisticated data center and a diverse dark fiber optic network with connectivity back to the central business district of Brisbane.

Health City Springfield is a designated health and wellness precinct. Located in the heart of Springfield Central, alongside education, retail and business precincts, it is emerging as a regional hub, providing residents of Greater Springfield, a rapidly growing Ipswich and what is called the “Western Corridor” population with easily accessible and comprehensive health services and facilities.
The first stage is a medical “hotel,” with a primary care facility, hospital, research and educational component, along with aged care and retirement living apartments. Health-related services businesses are locating around this precinct.
When it is completed, Springfield Health City will be a one-stop health and wellness destination with everything from oral health care and general medical services. There will be an acute care hospital and aged care facility, consisting of 128 beds. To balance the needs of an aging population, independent retirement living units (up to 100 in stage one) are being developed.
According to Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, the plan for Health City was based on research by Harvard Medical International and included a broad collaboration among relevant stakeholders, including the government, regional universities, and health care professionals and associations.

ICF noted the project’s scope and intention to provide an integrated and comprehensive approach to health services in what will be a community within a community. ICF added that the project will ideally “leave no one underserved.” 

Springfield was named the world-wide winner of the master planned category at the 61st World Congress of the International Real Estate Federation.

Danville Medical Network, Danville, Virginia (USA)
The challenge of providing healthcare in rural areas has grown acute. Technology can help, and ICF has dedicated the year 2011 to understand better how this is possible. 

Defining what is possible through adequate connectivity in a smaller, rural community’s medical system, the nDanville Medical Network connects over 50% of the medical offices, clinics and labs in Danville, including its regional hospital. Its high performance fiber uses 100 megabit and Gigabit connections to provide real time access to patient information and medical records for connected medical facilities.

On average, fiber connections for these facilities provide twice the bandwidth of the previous connection but at a 30% savings. More than 90% of the medical facilities (approximately 125 locations) are to be connected by December  2011, said Jason Grey, the Broadband Network Manager of Danville Utilities, who led Danville’s charge to become a recognized intelligent community by ICF.

ICF noted, “The wonderful reality is that the nDanville initiative is enabling improved patient care in a rural setting, while cutting health care costs. Cutting costs and improving the delivery of care is the combination that matters most in the lives of people living in communities.”

ICF further noted that the nDanville Network provides a crucial link between the Danville Diagnostic and Imaging Center and the Danville Regional Hospital. This high capacity connection allows the two facilities to exchange CT and MRI scans instantly, as well as other patient information, thus helping doctors do their job more effectively.

The project has impacted education as well. At the Danville Community College medical technician students train on new interactive systems which provide monitoring and feedback to accelerate learning. Training rooms have a sophisticated video system that allows instructors to record students training and to provide detailed critiques, thus combining the technological and the human art of healing.

Intelligent Community Founders Awards 2010

Digital Schoolbag, Besançon, France 
DigitalSchoolbag.gifA university town and regional capital, the City of Besançon grew wealthy from the manufacture of clocks and watches, metallurgy, textiles and food-processing – until global competition for timepieces in the 1970s sent the economy into severe decline.  The community fought back by leveraging its universities and grands écoles, where 24,000 students are enrolled, and finding new outlets for the skills of its citizens in precision manufacturing.  Today, Besançon is the base for 8,900 vibrant businesses and three global competitiveness clusters: the microtechnology competitiveness cluster; the biomedical and biotechnological engineering cluster; and the nanotechnologies, automation, microrobotics and microplasturgy cluster.  In 1994, it became the first French city with a fiber network connecting all government and quasi-government facilities. 

In 2003, Besançon also became the first city providing computer equipment to all children of the same age class and their families.  Within the “Digital Schoolbag” project, all 3rd grade students receive a multimedia computer package.  Given to the pupils free of charge, the package comprises a computer with Pentium processor, the same educational software that is used at school (dictionaries, atlas, etc), and the option to subscribe to Internet access.  The Schoolbag also includes workshops for the parents in order to enable them to participate in their children’s learning at school.

In 2001 the Ministry of National Education introduced a new Information and Internet Certificate.  This required that pupils be tested in computer and Internet skills at the end of elementary and middle school.  The results of the evaluation have shown that the pupils in Besançon beginning their first year of secondary school have a much higher success level than the national average.

Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project 
The Pew Internet Project conducts original research that explores the impact of the Internet on children, families, communities, the workplace, schools, health care, and civic/political life.  The Project was initially conceived by the staff and officers of the Pew Charitable Trusts and is one of seven key projects of the Pew Research Center in Washington, DC.  Pew observed in the late 1990s that many of the debates regarding the impact of the Internet lacked reliable data.  In 1999 the foundation hired Lee Rainie to secure an initial three-year grant.  Rainie was named the project’s Director and has spearheaded the enormously influential series of research projects ever since.

The Project conducted its first survey about the general role of the Internet and email on the average person’s life in March 2000 (one year before ICF’s landmark white paper studying the global impact on communities).  The animating spirit of that report and subsequent research was to provide data and insights of relevance to policy makers, journalists, scholars, technology leaders, non-profit executives, and engaged citizens in communities in the United States.  It became clear after the Project’s early reports that other groups were considered stakeholders, including the medical community, parent- and child-advocates, librarians, and new media workers, including an emerging generation of media workers within government agencies. 

Over the past decade, ICF noted that the Internet & American Life project has covered topics as diverse as Internet viruses, music downloading, online privacy, cell phone usage, and wireless connectivity.  More recent subjects include cloud computing and the future of the Internet.  The Project has also followed new online activities as they reach a critical threshold of adoption.  ICF noted the impact of Pew’s studies on broadband usage in the United States and how broadband influences behavior.

Tianjin Binhai New Area, China 
For the past three decades, the Chinese economy has grown at an average of over 9% and expectations are that China will soon emerge as the world's second largest economy.  As its national economy continues to accelerate, mandating that it continue to create enormous economic output, China faces an unprecedented demand for talent in the areas of science, technology and innovation.  This enormous pressure is felt most keenly in Tianjin Binhai New Area (TBNA).  TBNA is a new logistics hub and manufacturing center that is the coastal gateway to Beijing.  TBNA, with a population of over 2 million, was named one of ICF's Smart21 Communities for 2010.  This new urban center relies heavily on an information technology “overlay” to produce economic output that is based increasingly on knowledge industries.  At present, nearly 30% of all of China’s scientific and technological talent is within this new community, according to data submitted to ICF.

TBNA has established programs such as the Employment Services Card, Work Youth Experience and Training Database to not only connect students directly to the workplace on collaborative projects, but also keep citizens briefed on opportunities in the workforce.  Further, Tianjin Binhai University Technology Transfer Center has deeply integrated students at TBNA's universities and colleges into the local economy.  This has led to numerous university-industry projects to improve enormous industry clusters, including grape cultivation, winemaking and refrigeration, wastewater treatment (in papermaking), and eco-tourism.

ICF said it honors TBNA for assembling what may be the world's most comprehensive effort to involve students in the local economy and provide a systematic ‘on ramp’ to local employment.

Intelligent Community Founders Awards 2009

Dave Carter, Head, Manchester Digital Development Agency, Manchester, UK 

DaveCarter.gifIn the 1980s, Manchester lost one million jobs in the 10-municipality metro region, equal to 25% of the employment base.  In 1984, a newly elected Council asked the university to launch research in order to better understand the crisis and how to respond to it.  They hired a young visionary named Dave Carter and tasked him with re-envisioning Manchester's economy for the next 10 years.  Mr. Carter's recommendations included developing linkages between the city government and its well-regarded university sector, focusing economic development on the city's arts and entertainment sector, and preparing Manchester to prosper from the commercialization of the Internet.  Within less than a decade, Manchester had developed a successful science park in partnership with its universities, introduced skills training and investment that significantly boosted employment in arts and entertainment, and developed the UK's third Internet Exchange as a diversity site for London.  Though still home to some of the UK's most distressed districts, Manchester today boasts a diverse and vibrant economy.  Manufacturing still employs 12% of the workforce but the employment growth in finance and professional services, creative and new media industries, and digital communications far outpaced national averages from 1998 to 2006.  Business start-ups during the same period were nearly three times the UK average.  

Mr. Carter has moved through a series of leadership positions and today heads the Manchester Digital Development Agency, part of the City Council that focuses on ICT systems, Web/new media applications, digital cities, intelligent energy, regeneration, citizen engagement and innovation. The MDDA works across the Greater Manchester metro area, which has a population of 2.5 million people.  But in true Intelligent Community fashion, Mr. Carter’s work has not stopped at either the municipal or national border.  Mr. Carter is one of the founding members of Telecities, a project of the EC's Eurocities network that promotes knowledge-sharing among European cities.  Telecities, since renamed the Eurocities Knowledge Society Forum, focuses on the development of Intelligent Communities based on platforms similar to those of ICF.  

Through Mr. Carter's initiative, Manchester was named a Top Seven Intelligent Community in 2006 and appeared on ICF's list of the Smart21 in 2009.

Andrew Spano, County Executive, Westchester County, New York, USA 

AndrewSpano.gifUnder the direction of long-time County Executive Andrew J. Spano, the county north of New York City with a population of nearly one million residents, has made its broadband and telecommunications strategy the foundation for continued innovation, growth and access.  While often in the shadow of its neighbor to the south, Westchester County generates 10% of all patents in the United States.  

When carriers refused to introduce broadband beyond the profitable business corridor, the county government worked with 43 independent local governments as well as library systems, schools and hospitals to aggregate demand in order to finance construction of a fiber network.  That network today serves 3,500 businesses and is saving government and public-service agencies large amounts of money.  The network has been instrumental in the attraction of substantial new investment (including other broadband carriers), improved educational achievement, job creation and an enhanced quality of life.  Of note to ICF is Mr. Spano's lifetime of innovation in re-engineering local government processes, which has saved tax dollars and created a local culture of use that has made the Internet a major form of communication between government and citizens at every level.  In 2009, Westchester will launch a registry to allow citizens to sign up online indicating whether they would require special assistance in the event of an emergency.

Under Mr. Spano's leadership, Westchester County was named a Top Seven Intelligent Community in 2008 and named to ICF's list of the Smart21 in 2009.

Taoyuan County, Taiwan 

TaoyuanCounty.gifIn the "Age of Obama," which is ushering in a new generation of tech savvy leaders, Taiwan's youngest magistrate (governor) Dr. Eric Li Luan Chu has led the nation's second largest prefecture for the past eight years.  With a population of two million and an annual budget of US$1.5 billion, Taoyuan County has emerged as the leading industrialized region in Taiwan.  It is not surprising that a young governor is leading this Intelligent Community, since the county's residents have an average age of 34 years.  The community's threefold strategy for becoming a model community for the 21st Century includes an ascending transformation into an electronic, mobile and ubiquitous technology-usage community, which will drive quality of life and create a sustainable culture of use.  ICF specifically noted Taoyuan's "U-Aerotropolis" project, which is a broad and comprehensively planned integration of digital infrastructure and support services for an expanding aviation business cluster.  The project implements broadband in the service of various air transport "free trade zones" within the county, which are designed to expedite and expand clearances and the export of industrial technology products.  It is envisioned that the "U-Aerotropolis" initiative will continue to drive new business formation beyond the 23,000 service industry jobs at present.   

In the past six year, 20,000 businesses have been registered in this Intelligent Community, where 23 industrial parks continue to generate innovative processes and new wealth within the context of a local "broadband economy."  ICF particularly commended Taoyuan's public administration and Governor Chu for deciding to continue to invest significantly in infrastructure and services despite the global economic slowdown.  

In 2009 Taoyuan County made its first appearance on ICF's annual list of Intelligent Communities as a Smart21 Community.

Intelligent Community Founders Awards 2008 

X-Road, Tallin, Estonia 
As Tallinn continues its "Tiger Leap" toward a truly robust mobile broadband economy, while consolidating dozens of everyday civic, economic and personal applications through the use of a single ID card, there is a need for a platform bridge.  In the information technology world, this is called "middleware," because it bridges between the Web and pre-Web systems.  Since 1999, Tallinn has invested heavily in IT for government and civic programs, producing a huge number of independent databases and systems in many different departments.

To help users in government, business and the public find what they need, the government created X-Road, a middleware platform.  X-Road not only allows different systems to talk to each other securely but also includes standard tools to speed the development of new online services.  Instead of months and years, X-Road makes it possible to develop new e-government applications in a matter of hours or days.  Instead of the usual high cost for developing a new service, X-Road puts complete applications online for between US$1,000 and $10,000.  The system has become so successful that it is now the backbone for most e-government services in Estonia.  It links 67 databases to provide 687 different services across 392 institutions and companies.

Tallin was named to the Top 7 in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Gangnam Academic Aptitude Broadcasting, Seoul, South Korea 
Korea's reverence for education has few comparisons.  Its pursuit of academic excellence and achievement continues to produce one of the world’s most exemplary knowledge workforces and "cultures of use."  This is most readily witnessed by its leadership in many areas of consumer technology. 

A significant percentage of the economic and academic GDP which drives Seoul and the small nation of South Korea comes from the academic institutions of the Gangnam-gu District of Seoul.  Nationwide the fierce competition to advance to good colleges has created a supply and demand imbalance which has placed a great burden on parents seeking a reliable private education for their children.  The cost of schooling, especially in Gangnam, has skyrocketed.  Citizens with low income and residents in small cities and farming areas have very limited access to such private education. To address this, Gangnam initiated a visionary project that uses the power of the Internet and its robust broadband infrastructure to enable students nationwide to tap into Gangnam’s wealth of academic talent.  The Gangnam Academic Aptitude Broadcasting system delivers an affordable education from the community’s best lecturers for 20,000 won (US$21).

The Gangnam-gu District of Seoul was named to the Top 7 in 2006 and 2007 and was the ICF Intelligent Community of the Year in 2008.

Dundee City Council, Scotland 
Because a wide range of new initiatives, such as a digital Discovery Card, "smart" buses, tech incubators and science parks, as well as its new Digital Observatory (which was brought into being specifically to achieve a community goal of making Dundee one of the most advanced "broadband" communities in the world), Scotland’s fourth largest community has sought and gained a fundamental economic advantage.  This second-time Top Seven Intelligent Community has moved to leadership among Europe’s communities as a result of an innovative and pioneering team of leaders within its City Council.  The Council is a collaborative and innovative body, whose Digital Observatory strategy is building collaboration among all sectors of the community to deliver a broadband wireless infrastructure to continue to enable Dundee to become a "factory" for information age products and services.  The Council's leadership has been the key factor driving the evolution of Dundee from the home of "jute, jam and journalism" to today's innovative and hip community, a national center for "jeans, games and joysticks."  Today, nearly 80% of Dundee’s businesses benefit from e-business.  The average increase in profitability from e-business is 10% above the national average.

Dundee was named to the Top 7 in 2007 and 2008.