Municipalities at the Centre of Canada's Innovation Economy
I just returned from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Annual Conference and Trade Show #FCM2017AC. For several years, Cisco Canada has partnered with the FCM advocating for the use of digital technologies and innovation to create smarter and more intelligent communities in order to improve lives of citizens and and create opportunities for businesses.
For more than ten years, Cisco has been a leader of the global smart city movement. We believe that, with the use of appropriate technologies, business models, and municipal leadership, communities can be at the heart of a Country's innovation economy and generate unprecedented opportunities.
Municipalities are where the people are, businesses thrive, students learn, and tourists go. Municipalities are the closest to where the action is. With a little nudge (motivation), digital leadership, the right infrastructure, and a creative mindset, municipalities can be the ones to stimulate economic growth through innovation and (business) transformation.
With this in mind, this week's FCM conference was a very satisfying one:
Smart City Challenge… #smartcitiesCanada
At the opening session, Prime Minster Justin Trudeau voiced his support for municipalities and announced preliminary details about the Smart City Challenge. A $300M commitment was made in the 2017 budget to support Canadian municipalities to take a leading role to imagine, propose, and execute ground-breaking smart city projects that will have a lasting sustainable impact on the economy, liveability, and competitiveness of Canadian communities.
The Canadian federal government is making the right investments where it matters most. Visit Infrastructure Canada's website for more information: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/plan/cities-villes-eng.html
FCM Innovation Network… #FCMinnovation
During the conference, FCM itself announced the launch of its FCM Innovation Network. This network brings together municipalities, industry, academia, youth and other key stakeholders to explore ways to use technology and innovation to build prosperous, inclusive and sustainable communities.
By sharing experiences from communities across the country, and bringing together stakeholders with diverse perspectives and qualifications, local governments will be able to mitigate risk and develop the smart leadership and innovative solutions that are needed to tackle the challenges that shape our communities, and our country.
Although the FCM Innovation Network is separate from the Smart City Challenge, it only seems logical that the great things funded by the Smart City Challenge will be shared and celebrated on the Innovation Network, an in turn, that the amazing best-practices on the Innovation Network will fuel ideas and creativity that will lead to incredible Challenge applications.
Visit FCM's website for more information: http://www.fcm.ca/home/programs/fcm-innovation-network-(fin).htm
More details will be released on both programs in the weeks and month to come. Their respective announcements, however, are a clear indication that the smart city movement is alive and growing increasingly relevant to Canadian municipalities, their leaders, industry, and Canadians.
At Cisco Canada, we are super excited to be part of the journey.