(19 October 2016 – New York City & Niagara Falls, ON, Canada) - The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) today named the world’s Smart21 Communities of 2017. This select group of communities, which emerged from a group of nearly 400, will now move on and remain in contention for the prestigious designation of an Intelligent Community Top7, to be named in Taipei, Taiwan in February 2017. One of the seven will then be named Intelligent Community of the Year at the Intelligent Community Summit and Awards Dinner in New York on June 8, 2017. www.intelligentcommunity.org/summitRead more
“Internet of Cities” the theme of the New York think-tank’s annual Global Awards Program
(4 October 2016 – New York City) – The Intelligent Community Forum today released a special report, The Internet of Cities, which is the group’s thinking on the current evolution of the Intelligent Community movement and will be the theme of the 2017 Intelligent Community Awards program. http://www.intelligentcommunity.org/internet_of_cities
Rio is a city as famous for its natural beauty and Carnival spirit as for its crime-plagued slums. After the national capital moved to Brasilia, Rio lost economic clout to Sao Paulo, which became known as Brazil’s business hub while Rio gradually declined due to drugs, corruption and mismanagement. But ambition, good luck and better leadership have given the city a second chance. The city was one of 12 venues where the 2014 World Cup was played, and Rio also won the right to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Preparation for these games turned the city into a construction site, but also gave it opportunities to revitalize itself, create a better transportation system and deal with long-standing infrastructure problems, including flooding.
Information and communications technology is at the heart of the transformation. A central Operations Center was built by IBM in the aftermath of disastrous flooding in 2010. It has become the nerve center for city administration by displaying data from thousands of cameras and sensors and giving emergency managers a comprehensive view of problems and the resources available to deal with them. The city also runs a high-capacity fiber network, Rio Digital, linking 70 universities, schools and research centers as well as city facilities. But more profound has been the use of ICT to expand economic opportunity and make government better. It has built Knowledge Squares in nearly 40 low-income, crime-ridden neighborhoods. These facilities 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. The city has also built 32 Casa Rio Digital facilities in partnership with Cisco, Intel and the Sequoia Foundation, which have provided digital literacy training to 69,000 citizens.
How Information Improves Services
The Rio Datamine is an open-data system that makes available vast amounts of city information as well as powering a city-hosted RioApps contest. One RioApps winner was 26-year-old computer engineer Andre Ikeda, who used data on bus transit to create an app that put real-time scheduling information into rider’s hands. The publicity and access to information created public pressure that led to sharp improvements in service.
Luck has played its part. Rio is home to the national oil company Petrobras, and the discovery of vast offshore fields has given a significant boost to the economy. Rio is now receiving twice the foreign direct investment of Sao Paulo. By continuing to open its government and empower its citizens for the digital age, the city is striving create a future worthy of its nickname: Cidade Maravilhosa or the Marvelous City.
Smart21 2013 | 2014 | 2015
Porto Alegre is the capital city of an agrarian state. The community was a success story in heavy industry until rising costs in the Seventies drove industry to relocate to surrounding "satellite cities." To fill the employment gap, the community has focused on building a high-skilled service sector and “clean” industry clusters in IT and life sciences. It has been a “Greenfield” effort, in which government has labored to build digital infrastructure, create the skills and demand for it, and use it to develop a knowledge workforce.
A 350km fiber network called Infovia now connects 190 government buildings. It has generated direct savings on telecom costs for the city and serves as the backbone for a wireless network reaching 93 schools and 100 healthcare facilities. It has also gained its first corporate customers in an industrial park, where broadband helped attract 12 new tenants in 2 years. Porto Alegre has provided over 3,000 low-income residents with free digital skills training, with special accommodations for the elderly and disabled. Using the network, clinics in low-income areas offer remote ultrasound examinations of pregnant women. It has reduced the waiting time for an exam from 4 months to 34 days, and women are now four times less likely to miss a scheduled appointment, because it takes place close to home.
Smart21 2009 | 2010
Urban planning works. That is the lesson of Curitiba, which has engaged in proactive planning for its future for nearly 40 years. While other Brazilian cities welcomed heavy industry, Curitiba accepted only non-polluters and developed an industrial district with so much green space that it was derided as a “golf course” until it filled up with more than 3,500 companies. Beginning in the 1970s, the master plan laid out streets, public transportation, shopping, industrial and residential areas. Today, clean water reaches 100% and sanitation 93% of the population, and the city offers a range of services still rare in emerging market nations: municipal healthcare, education and daycare networks, neighborhood libraries, and sports and culture facilities near mass transport terminals.
Curitiba has established a total of 9 entrepreneurial spaces throughout the city through a partnership with SEBRAE (Brazilian Service to Support Micro and Small Enterprises). These public offices provide guidance and consultation to local citizens interested in starting new businesses, including training and qualification programs. In 2018, the entrepreneurial spaces hosted nearly 60,000 citizens, with 2,500 completing qualification courses. Curitiba looks to top these numbers in 2019 with 50,000 attendees as of August and over 2,000 qualifications completed. The spaces received a Customer Service Reference Award in 2018 for their successes.
Promoting Citizen Engagement with the Curitiba App
In March of 2018, the city launched the Curitiba App, a mobile application that provides citizens and tourists with information, services, events and news from City Hall. The app combines the utilities of several smaller existing apps as well as 600 City Hall services. Through the Curitiba App, citizens can quickly and easily access local news, weather alerts and public transit information as well as book appointments with public services. As of late 2019, the app had been downloaded by 13,000, and the city hopes to double this number in the coming years.
Green Energy and Transit
City buses travel in separate lanes from the rest of traffic and provide electronic ticketing for riders and fleet management via 3G mobile broadband. Curitiba's next goal is to translate its success in economic development into the broadband economy. An open access fiber network serves the city and much of the state, ensuring high levels of service to business. In keeping with Brazil's National Broadband Plan, the city is deploying a wireless overlay to provide free Internet access in low-income neighborhoods. The city has developed Curitiba Technoparque to turn the intellectual output of its 55 colleges and universities into innovative technologies.
Curitiba is developing multiple studies and projects to produce and implement clean energy in public buildings and public transportation. The city has installed a small hydroelectric plant in Barigui park to supply energy to the park, a project that will be replicated in other parks across the city. With the support of C40-CFF, the city is also developing projects to implement solar panels in four bus terminals and the new sustainable Caximba Neighborhood. The total expected generated power is 8 MW, with expected generation of 980,000 kWh/year (equivalent to the consumption of about 65,000 families). The Curitiba Housing Company is also currently implementing a pilot project to build social housing with solar panels.
From 2008 to 2009, Curitiba grew its high-tech companies by 7% and high-tech employment by 25%. Developments like these have given Curitiba an average per-capita income that is 86% higher than that of Brazil.
Smart21 2011 | 2012 | 2019 | 2020
In the middle of the 20th Century, Winston-Salem had a global reputation for producing a product whose use is now being banned worldwide. The product is tobacco, and its trajectory is a fair measure of the path of Winston-Salem's industrial economy, which thrived on a mix traditional to the American South of tobacco, textiles and manufacturing. All three play a role in the economy today, but none are positioned to deliver sustainable growth.
In the mid-1990s, Wake Forest University began work on a plan to connect its medical school and undergraduate campuses with a high-speed network, which ultimately resulted in a 26-mile fiber-optic ring around Winston-Salem. The university's vice president of finance and administration, Dr. John Anderson, saw the potential to use this new asset for community development. He coordinated a series of leadership meetings that, with the active support of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, created an informal working group including the top government, institutional and educational users of communications.
In 1997, they dubbed themselves WinstonNet and, a year later, staged a demonstration at a local school - attended by North Carolina's members of Congress - of video collaboration and multimedia teaching tools. In 1999, WinstonNet won a US Department of Education grant in partnership with the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools to connect the school system to the fiber ring and the fiber ring to the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), a nonprofit, statewide network of educational institutions. Once construction was completed, the school system gained access to the Internet at the blazing speed of 155 Mbps. In the same year, WinstonNet incorporated as a nonprofit organization, with members including the city, the county, the school system, Wake Forest and its subsidiaries, the Chamber of Commerce and the local community college. Each member paid an annual service fee for use of the network, which was now called WinstonNet. Wake Forest began to earn a return on its investment and the members gained some of the best broadband access in the world at a very competitive cost.
Citizens benefited, too. Institutional and public investment spurred demand for broadband and the private-sector investment needed to deliver it. Today, 88% of households in Winston-Salem subscribe to broadband via DSL, cable, fiber, wireless and satellite, as well as 100% of government offices and nearly every business. Carriers including AT&T, Sprint, Time Warner Telecom, ITC Deltacom and DukeNet provide speeds ranging from 256 Kbps for US$20 per month up to 8 Mbps for $55.
But the nonprofit WinstonNet was about much more than connectivity. Its real purpose was to enable Winston-Salem's transition from a manufacturing to knowledge-based economy. The WinstonNet Board believed that the community's future lay in services, logistics and biotechnology, which would place heavy demands on education and training to overcome not only the community's industrial legacy but fast growth in the immigrant population. North Carolina experienced a 37% increase in its immigrant population from 2000 to 2006, by which time Spanish speakers made up 7% of the total.
WinstonNet developed a three-pronged strategy to attack the problem. In 2003, the organization dedicated its first Community Computer Lab at a recreation center. Over the next year, it opened a total of 30 sites offering free computer access to children and adults, with Wake Forest University and Forsyth Technical Community College leading the project and Microsoft and Cisco Foundation providing funding. Today, there are 44 labs operating in community centers, churches, schools and libraries, managing more than 3,500 email accounts and logging over 75,000 user sessions per year.
In 2005, WinstonNet partnered with One Economy, a national nonprofit, using a grant from Cisco, to build a community Web portal. The Beehive Web portal was launched in 2006. With content in English and Spanish at a 5th grade reading level, the portal provides information on money, health, jobs, family, immigration, taxes, government services and computer training and support. The library system has taken responsibility for maintaining the portal, which according to One Economy, is now number three in the nation for the most "hits" to a community Web portal.
In 2006, WinstonNet put the last piece in place through a partnership with Forsyth County Libraries that created a sustainable computer training program. A three-year grant from state government permitted WinstonNet to hire a full-time coordinator, who has created a volunteer group of 40+ trainers, created a standard curriculum of courses and developed a certification program. Classes are taught in both English and Spanish. In its first year, the program completed 189 classes with total attendance of just under 1,000 people. WinstonNet is now developing, in partnership with a local nonprofit, a set of classes for visually impaired and physically challenged computer users as well.
While working to raise the skills level of the entire community, WinstonNet has also contributed to technology and economic development. In 2002, WinstonNet became North Carolina's first Regional High Speed Networking Hub (GigaPoP), boosting Internet connection speeds to 622 Mbps. In 2007, WinstonNet switched on a proof-of-concept WiFi network covering 1 square mile (2.5 km2) as a first step in creating what the organization calls "ubiquitous access to knowledge and information for everyone." Wireless Winston is a new public-private partnership backed by anchor tenancy agreements with the top employers in the community. Its goals are to reduce telecom costs, enhance education, improve student-teacher-parent communication and improve public health and safety.
In 2004, Targacept, a biopharmaceutical company spun out from R.J. Reynolds, joined WinstonNet in a cooperative program to demonstrate state-of-the-art "grid computing" in local schools. WinstonNet is now exploring development of a supercomputing center to be housed at the Piedmont Triad Community Research Park, where Wake Forest is constructing a high-performance data center. This research park, anchored in Winston-Salem's historic downtown business district, will provide 5.7 million square feet (529,547 m2) of "green" commercial space for life science research on land donated to the city by R.J. Reynolds. It is being developed by another public-private partnership called Idealliance and is currently home to five buildings including the Biotechnology Research Facility of Wake Forest University Health Sciences.
Other public and public-private organizations are adding momentum to the development process. The Piedmont Triad Entrepreneurial Network was formed in 2004 to offer programs and resources to fast-growing small businesses in the areas of education, mentoring, networking and capital formation. Wake Forest is developing the Angell Center for Entrepreneurship as an incubator housing 3-5 start-ups at a time for up to 12 months. Among its tenants will be winners of the Triad Entrepreneurial Initiative's annual business plan competition.
In addition to actively supporting these efforts, the city of Winston-Salem has deployed ICT to improve its services. In 2007, it opened a Citizen Contact Center providing one telephone number for access to all city services. Greater convenience for citizens resulted in a significant reduction in total call volume as more service requests were satisfied on the first call. The MyCityofWS service allows citizens to establish a profile on the City's Web site that defines their interests and location, so they can be notified by email of relevant new information. The fire department uses a wireless dispatch system with data routing and imaging, which has helped the department exceed standards for response time and effectiveness.
How does Winston-Salem measure the results of its many investments and partnerships? There have certainly been economic successes. Winston-Salem and Forsyth County now count 37,000 biotech employees as residents, and biotech companies contribute an estimated $10 billion in annual revenue to the area. Dell Computer opened a manufacturing facility in Forsyth County in 2005 that will create another 1,500 jobs and contribute at least $100 million in new investment. But Winston-Salem also measures progress in human terms. WinstonNet is now in discussions with the school district and community leaders on development of a program to place computers in the homes of low-income students. The program proposal covers funding, curriculum integration, teacher training, technical staffing, hardware and broadband connections. If WinstonNet is successful in attracting funding, as it expects, the program will start in 2008/09 with 550 students in middle schools with high percentages of low-income students. Success, then, is measured not only in today's jobs. It is also measured by the community's ability to build a more prosperous and inclusive Broadband Economy for tomorrow's citizens.
Population: 223,000 (Winston-Salem), 320,919 (Forsyth County)
Labor Force: 183,742 (Forsyth County)
Westchester County is a 500-square-mile (1295 km2) region, with a population of just under one million, located at a geographic and demographic crossroads. It lies between New York City on its southern border and the state's relatively rural "upstate" region to the north. Known for some of America's wealthiest commuter towns, Westchester is also home to a fast-growing immigrant and low-income population, today making up about 35% of the total. Its workforce of nearly half a million people generates an impressive 10% of all US patents.
Crossroads, of course, are traditionally hubs of commerce. Under the leadership of County Executive Andrew Spano, Westchester has taken major strides to keep its geographic and demographic advantages relevant in the Broadband Economy.
Broadband and Quality of Life
The county has long considered quality of life to be its strongest advantage in attracting middle and upper-income residents and competitive employers. Its Intelligent Community strategy has focused on maintaining this intangible but essential element.
Mr. Spano came to office in 1998 with the belief that the county's future would depend heavily on telecommunications. Aside from a cluster of corporate headquarters nicknamed "The Platinum Mile," the county had fallen behind most of the areas with which it competed for people and jobs. Discussions with major telecom carriers made it clear that they were far more interested in winning competitive battles in New York City than investing in Westchester. The county's response was to conceive the Westchester Telecom Network, a multi-gigabit fiber backbone that now extends over 800 miles (1287 km) into every corner of the county. Its development was made possible by collaboration. The county government worked with 43 local governments, an independent library system, major hospitals and dozens of school and water districts to pool communication budgets worth $50 million over five years. This long and intensive effort provided all the incentive needed for a cable TV company, Cablevision Lightpath, to build the network. Losing customers worth $50 million per year also sparked the interest of the region's carriers, which subsequently built and lit three OC192 (9900 Mbps) fiber rings within the county to create one of the best local telecom infrastructures in the United States. Today, residential and business customers can select from broadband options ranging from 768 kbps for $15 up to 50 mbps for $90 per month. Over 3,500 companies have connected directly to the Westchester Telecom Network, as well as more than half of all municipal agencies in the county, and all of the county's schools, libraries and hospitals.
The network has permitted Westchester to create, attract and retain innovative organizations. E-government programs built on the network's foundation include FirstFind.info, a virtual library that provides general and local information to low-level readers and adults with limited English skills. The Shared Criminal Justice Data Warehouse, winner of a 2006 county achievement award, is used by county, local, state and New York City police departments. It offers a powerful search system that produces meaningful results from even vague and incomplete data, and provides access to aerial photography and GIS mapping. A revamped county Web site has become a primary communications tools and receives 22,000 visitors per day, compared with 12,000 in 2004. The network also played a direct role in attracting major employers to the county, including Nokia, New York Life Insurance and Morgan Stanley. But small, innovative organizations have benefited as well, including animation company Blue Sky Studios (animator of the movie Ice Age) and Pace University Online Learning for Trade Unions, which creates distance learning programs in telecommunications.
Promoting Business Growth
Like all Intelligent Communities, Westchester has clearly seen that broadband is not enough to secure a prosperous future. To create an inclusive and vital local economy, it has launched successful programs to promote business growth, improve the skills of the workforce and fight digital exclusion.
The county's Industrial Development Agency and state agencies offer tax abatement and Revolving Loan Fund and Technology Investment Fund programs targeting small business. Private investors including Morgan Stanley, MMV Financial and First Round Capital are also active in the county. The Westchester Information Technology Cluster is a virtual corporation supported by county government and business groups that works to match the needs of potential buyers to its database of more than 1,500 technology specialists at over 180 small-to-midsized technology companies. The Westchester Not-For-Profit Technology Council provides a similar service to nonprofits in need of technology assistance by matching them with tech-savvy volunteers. Reaching beyond the US border, Westchester launched in 2007 a Web portal called US Channels to promote trade between county companies and the world, and has published a Chinese-language electronic magazine in DVD format.
Spreading the Wealth
Westchester has partnered with its neighbor, Fairfield County in Connecticut, to win a $5 million, 3-year US Government grant for a "Talent for Growth" program. It aims to create a talent-driven system linking education, workforce and economic development partners with regional businesses, in order to develop a pipeline of skilled workers and improve the mobility of workers and communications systems. Another partnership, with New York State counties, targets "green workers." The Green Talent Pipeline unites the county governments with private and public employers to focus on "green" workforce development, economic development and education, to leverage the region's initial successes in developing clean technologies.
To help bridge the digital divide, the county runs a Westchester Scholars Program, which awards computers, software, connectivity and training to 50 students from low-income families per year. A Westchester Access program distributes older computers from county and local government to nonprofits, many of which use them as incentives to bring low-income adults into computer and Web training programs. The county also funds a large network of computers and connectivity at 41 library locations throughout Westchester.
Since the Westchester Telecom Network began service in 2001, this crossroads community has placed significant bets on its future. The expanding web of investments in Web-based applications, business growth, talent development and inclusion seem certain to power its growth for decades to come.
Labor Force: 499,472
Smart21 2008 | 2009
Its name means “many waters” in the language of the Native Americans who first settled in this meeting place of rivers. Natural abundance created agricultural prosperity and a strategic location made Walla Walla a 19th Century shipping hub – until it was bypassed by the trans-continental railroad and its prominence was gradually eclipsed by the coastal city of Seattle. Today, Walla Walla grows wheat that is sought-after in Asian markets, produces fruit sold across the US, and has seen explosive growth of wine-making, with 160 registered vineyards. Tourists seeking fine wines and natural beauty have given birth to a thriving culinary and arts scene, providing residents and businesses with an outstanding quality of life.
Ringed by mountain ranges, however, Walla Walla is geographically isolated. It is not located on a major transport route, and has limited air service. The city is reasonably well served by incumbent broadband providers, but there are gaps in availability and service quality, and backhaul to the major Internet peering points is expensive and not always reliable. Though it is home to a high-quality university and community college, its businesses offer limited employment opportunities to graduates, and brain drain is a constant concern.
Combating Brain Drain with Strengths
The Chamber of Commerce is leading an effort to leverage Walla Walla’s existing strengths to create broadband-powered growth. In 2012, thanks to a broadband stimulus grant, the nonprofit Northwest Open Access Network (NoaNet) completed expansion of its fiber backbone into the Walla Walla Valley. The city is now working with carriers, institutions and businesses on ways to roll-out local connectivity to fill gaps and deliver significant bandwidth where needed.
The Chamber established a film office that has already drawn TV and film shoots and is working to attract a full-time production unit for TV, film or Web content as the anchor of a digital media and gaming cluster. Based on the success of winemaking, it is driving the creation of a Plough2Plate program to help small local food producers with marketing, branding and distribution. And it has begun to integrate the Hispanic business community – in a city where 25% of the population is now Latin American – into the mainstream to boost the growth of both Latino and Anglo businesses. Mixing big ambitions with practical steps, Walla Walla is ensuring that its legacy of success extends into an Internet-driven future.
Community that developed its own broadband network and is launching development programs on this foundation.
A wireless network being built by Earthlink with public backing is making possible 300 Kbps free service to low-income citizens, supported by programs offering affordable PCs, training, support and online services, while paying users receive higher levels of service.