The prestigious Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) has recognized the greater region of Montreal as one of the 21 Intelligent Communities of the Year (Smart21). The announcement was made in North Canton, Ohio as part of the semi-finalist unveiling for the 2014 edition of the Intelligent Community of the Year Awards. The nomination of Greater Montreal was submitted by TechnoMontréal, the information and communication technologies (ICT) cluster of Greater Montreal, in partnership with Montréal International, the Ville de Montréal, the Montreal Conférence régionale des élus (CRÉ), the Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain and the Conseil des arts de Montréal.
Since 1999, the Intelligent Community of the Year Awards annually recognize the communities (cities or regions) that stand out in the development of smart cities. The evaluation criteria are composed of five recurrent themes (broadband network, innovation, knowledge workforce, digital inclusion and marketing & advocacy), as well as an annual theme, which for 2014 is “Community as Canvas,” focussing on culture. Greater Montreal has distinguished itself by the quality and quantity of its ongoing digital development projects, as well as the predominant place that culture holds in the city.
“The advancement and potential of the Greater Montreal region as an intelligent city is not well known by the public at large. The city already has around twenty independent “smart” initiatives and several major projects are in the works. Since 2011, TechnoMontréal has brought together these initiatives and coordinated structuring projects within a development vision called Montréal Digital Metropolis that aims to propel the metropolitan region into the ranks of the major “Smart Cities” of the world. As part of this unifying program, our partners have put projects in place to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. It is thanks to all the contributors who believed in the positive outcomes of a digital vision for the metropolis that this extensive work is recognized today by the highest international expert in the field,” stated Lidia Divry, Executive Director of TechnoMontréal.
In addition to its digital assets, the Greater Montreal candidacy benefited from this year’s culture-based theme. “Creativity is an integral component of Montreal culture. The city is already recognized for the proliferation and quality of its artistic productions and has distinguished itself internationally more and more over the last several years in various digital niches like the video game industry, software production, citizen applications and digital arts. In addition, various players in the sector are currently mobilizing to present a Digital Spring in 2014 that will prove to be an unforgettable event,” declared Marie-Claire Dumas, CEO of the Montreal CRÉ.
Greater Montreal is recognized as a city of knowledge that relies on its rich ecosystem of higher educational establishments and visionary companies. “This is an important distinction highlighting the expertise of our companies in the information and communication technologies field. This recognition confirms – if ever there still needed confirmation – that this city really does sit amongst the most advanced metropolitan regions in its application of new technologies. It is important to now maximize the repercussions of this announcement in order to attract new investments to this key sector of our economic base,” added Michel Leblanc, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain.
This distinction, granted by the ICF, is the first stage in a ten-month process that leads to identifying the seven most advanced cities in January 2014 (Top7) and ultimately in the nomination of the big winner in June 2014.
About the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF)
The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) is a non-profit research organization based in New York that studies the development of 21st century cities. This independent think tank is dedicated to job creation and the development of the digital economy. The ICF’s activities are focussed mainly on research, conferences, consultation, educational services, as well as an annual awards program, thus identifying and sharing best practices in the development of intelligent communities.
The Intelligent Community of the Year Awards Program
Since 1999, the Intelligent Community of the Year Awards Program has annually recognized communities (cities or regions) that have distinguished themselves in the development of intelligent communities. The goal of the program is to highlight the work and success of communities that orient their development towards a digital economy, while feeding data to the ICF’s research. The evaluation criteria are made up of five recurrent themes:
- Broadband infrastructure
- Knowledge workforce
- Digital inclusion
- Marketing and advocacy
In addition to these five criteria, an annual theme guides the choice of finalists. The theme for 2014 is “Community as Canvas,” which looks at culture in the general sense (art, heritage and mindset).
The Intelligent Community of the Year Awards Program occurs through a ten-month process. The first stage, Smart21, selects the top 21 Intelligent Communities for the year. These semi-finalists were announced on October 21. Then, a second candidate file is submitted, allowing for the seven finalists (Top7) to be chosen in January 2014. Those finalists are subjected to an audit led by an independent group, which leads to awarding the Intelligent Community of the Year Award at the annual ICF summit in June.
Past Winners of the Intelligent Community of the Year 1999-2013
2013 – Taichung City, Taiwan
2012 – Riverside, California, USA
2011 – Eindhoven, Netherlands
2010 – Suwon, South Korea
2009 – Stockholm, Sweden
2008 – Gangnam-Gu, South Korea
2007 – Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
2006 – Taipei, Taiwan
2005 – Mitaka, Japan
2004 – Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
2002 – Calgary, Canada & Seoul, South Korea
2001 – New York City, New York, USA
2000 – LaGrange, Georgia, USA
1999 – Singapore
What is a Smart City?
Since 2007, half of the world’s population lives in an urban environment. Metropolises consume 75% of the planet’s energy and produce 80% of its CO2. This trend grows daily: one million inhabitants are added per week to the world’s cities. Between now and 2050, over 70% of the global population will live in metropolises, generating 60% of GDP growth.
Global urbanization is seeing unprecedented growth today, which has an impact on city management and transforms services for citizens, notably as it relates to transportation, healthcare, education, resource management and administration.
In the face of such challenges, hundreds of the world’s large cities have jumped on the development of “smart cities.” Being a Smart City (or smart grid, intelligent city, etc.) means using technology to optimize services to citizens. Among hundreds of concrete examples, here are a select few:
- A system used in Singapore can predict the speed of traffic with close to 90% accuracy.
- An intelligent traffic management system in London reduced the volume of traffic to levels seen in the 1980s.
- Energy management systems in Dublin (Ireland) are composed of sensor networks that gather real-time data on transportation and energy.
- Barcelona (Spain) released 500 public datasets, generating the development of applications allowing citizens to directly contribute to democratic life.
- Stockholm (Sweden) installed a million metres of Optical fiber cable allowing the development of a multitude of public services like helplines and teleservices.
All of these major projects take advantage of ICT to facilitate the daily lives of citizens, support economic development, reduce environmental impact and optimize collective services.