It was just Yesterday, or 25 years ago, as some people call it, that John, Robert and I produced an event in Toronto called “Smart95.” Most of you attending or downloading the video from this year’s ICF Summit were not there. But there were two features of that event that have withstood the test of time because their arrival was inevitable.
ICF produced the world’s first “smart” conference in the world in 1995 in Toronto.
Above image of Toronto is used under Wikimedia Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.
The event in Toronto (a city that went on to become the Intelligent Community of the Year in 2014) was the first event in history to use the word “Smart.” You can look it up. John Jung named it and a search revealed it was not in use anywhere. It gives us bragging rights for life, I guess. Most important, it triggered a movement and a way of thinking that has spread out far and wide, from East to West.Read more
“Mommy, I can’t breathe!!” he shouted. It was more a petulant shriek than a genuine plea for help.
The mother of the 8-year old boy jostled him in that motherly way, pulled him toward her and adjusted his small mask as they continued walking along the CVS parking lot to the store. He had her attention. Mission accomplished.
2020 is the year when we started to really look at one another in our communities and found new heroes and beauty within our chaos. And broadband boosted the conversations.
Attribution: “Zoe” by Yung Jake, Courtesy of Tripoli Gallery, Long Island
One year ago, those words had a way different context when they met your ears. While someone claiming lack of breath was never, medically, a good thing, it was never the trigger phrase for a cascade of events that have put cities and citizens in a dizzying spin of traumas. What we witness (mainly from our devices) are seismic cracks in the status quo, a form of grief and, as if we need proof that nothing is born without pain, genuine awakenings.
It is in this climate that we begin this year’s Top7 Site Visits around the world.Read more
As a magic word, it puts “Shazam!” to shame.
Zoom. It is the only most visible of the many powerful broadband applications that are helping us get through COVID19. It stands for the transformation of broadband, almost overnight, from “nice to have” into “essential infrastructure,” as the pandemic spreads across nations and industries and keeps forcing changes in the way we live.Read more
Many communities are by now familiar with the annual selection and awards process of ICF. Selecting the Smart21, then the Top7 and ultimately the most Intelligent Community of the Year occurs in several phases and in many ways. There are rigorous quantitative evaluations conducted by an outside consultancy, field trips, a review by an independent panel of leading experts/academic researchers and a vote by a larger group of experts.
Although communities like to focus on the #1 spot, the biggest distinctions are not between the #1 and the others in the Top7, but between the Smart21 and the Top7. An especially important part of the selection of the Top7 from the Smart21 is an independent panel’s assessment of the projects and initiatives that justify a community’s claim to being Intelligent.Read more
Maybe it’s just me, but I keep thinking I hear the sound of “Smart City fatigue” setting in.
Since IBM coined the term and Cisco quickly followed its lead, there have been, according to the web, three generations of smart cities. There have been academic papers and workshops and massive conferences. Multinational, national and local programs have poured billions into projects. Technologies have been developed to improve how cities manage everything from energy, water, public safety and pollution to transportation, healthcare and tax collection. Consultants have prospered, IT systems sales have grown and CIOs have earned new respect. Now, after more than two decades of smart cities adoption, what do we have to show for all that investment?
Frankly, not much.Read more
In the 2016 Intelligent Communities Awards, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada was named a Smart21 Community. To build further on this success, the city created a task force to examine Hamilton’s infrastructure, identify gaps in its digital strategy across the municipality, and develop an action plan to make Hamilton a destination for investment.Read more
The Big Apple is the wrong name for New York this summer.
No one knows what will come to New York this autumn and beyond. It will not be the World Series, Tracy Letts’ new play or a fraction of our 65.2 million annual visitors. New York will not be as fine as apple pie by Columbus Day or Thanksgiving. These two holidays might not even be around by Christmas! Without its theaters, restaurants, museums and the everyday energy of vendors and street life, New York is a harsher, more hollow place, and no place for epicureans hungry for its unique slice of American culture.Read more
For the last two decades, there have been varying degrees of interest in the concept of an Open Access Network. What is Open Access? Some party, usually a local government, chooses to build a physical broadband network and then leases access to service providers who wish to connect subscribers.
The model is compelling because the municipality builds a physical network that de-risks service providers, who might otherwise not recognize a reasonable return on investment across the community. This promotes competition in services to the benefit of subscribers. Those economics led to the emergence of several successful Open Access Networks around the world. But today, when the COVID19 pandemic has made clear that broadband is an essential service, it’s quite possible Open Access Networks have seen their day.Read more
She hears it every night precisely at 7:00 PM.
But tonight, she was running late for her shift and talking on her phone as briskly as she was scurrying to confront what is left of “The Beast” inside New York Presbyterian Hospital. She and her colleagues – and those of us shouting our thanks at her from balconies, windows & the street - have managed to put this son-of-a-bitch of a virus on the run and bend it with the authority of a blacksmith pounding hot steel to a more desired shape.
“If you’re going through Hell, keep going,” Winston Churchill supposedly said.
For sure, we took that advice in New York. Some of us stayed here but kept going, grinding away in what now is recalled as an exhausting attempt to keep some shreds of the familiar life in the Great City close. But as a friend who left, returned for a few days recently but left again said, “Lou, I could not stay. It’s too heartbreaking.” Many left town to flee far away from what appeared to be Hell. The Epicenter is either the worst place to be or, for some, the only place to be. It depends on your core and your love of your town. You can leave it and still love it. I understand. I just have a hard time grasping or respecting it.Read more