Ever wonder how an idea is started and how it might lead to something much bigger than you ever thought it could? The birth of the Intelligent Community Forum started through a new idea generated in the 1980’s and early 1990’s through participation in two organizations, the World Trade Centers Association, focused on global trade, and the World Teleport Association, focused on global telecommunications to link opportunities for global trade, international sports and entertainment events and communications.
At a meeting recently in New York City, the Co-Founders of ICF discussed the early beginnings of ICF from its early planning and telecommunications roots to the event in 1995 that sparked the beginnings of ICF. Robert Bell, John Jung and Louis Zacharilla look back at these early days and present their personal perspectives on what motivated them to move these cutting edge ideas forward without government nor private sector sponsorship support. The Co-Founders are committed practitioners who believe it is important to ensure that the world they leave behind for their children is connected, safe, healthy, prosperous and the very best that it could be.
The activities of the World Trade Centers Association and the World Teleport Association, on a global level - in Japan, Hong Kong, USA, Brazil and Germany, among many other countries and the people that these organizations attracted, generated new and cutting edge ideas at that time in the unique intersection among telecommunications, urban planning and economic development, which culminated in the first Smart Cities conference in the world in 1995, in Toronto, called SMART95. With smart technology connecting smart buildings and the activities of smart people in many cities around the world, the conference in 1995 speculated that creating the ecosystem necessary for connecting people of all walks of life and smart cities locally and around the world would help create better cities for its citizens. For many people, this was also the first time that the benefits of broadband were extensively discussed from a community-wide and holistic perspective - speaking about ideas that broadband impacted in health, security, communications, innovation, creativity, finance, city building, transportation and education. It also brought the founders together to begin a journey for over a quarter Century that has significantly impacted over 150 cities and regions around the world to become Intelligent Communities.