The five winning jurisdictions will receive a year of expert, vendor-neutral mentoring and an on-site customised readiness workshop
The Smart Cities Council has expanded eligibility for its 2018 Readiness Challenge Grants to include government jurisdictions across the US, Canada and Mexico.
The world’s largest smart cities network is inviting cities, counties, states, provinces and regional authorities (including transit, ports, etc) to apply.
The 2018 Challenge follows a successful 2017 competition that saw grants awarded to the cities of Austin, Indianapolis, Miami, Orlando and Philadelphia.
Communities will get even more help in the 2018 version. For instance, any community that wants advice on how to win can participate in a free half-day workshop on 3 October, where experts will help them improve their applications. By registering here, they will receive a free pass to the coaching workshop and the full Smart Cities Week conference which runs 3-5 October in Washington, DC.
The five winning jurisdictions will receive a full year of expert, vendor-neutral mentoring, plus an on-site Readiness Workshop custom-tailored to each community’s needs and priorities.
"We bring world-class experts to each city for a day of strategising with elected officials, city staffers, civic leaders and community activists," explained Council chairman Jesse Berst.
“Then we use our proven process to deliver each city a customised Readiness Roadmap."
The Council has refined its Readiness Programme over the past five years by collecting best practices from its worldwide network of smart city practitioners.
Armed with a Readiness Roadmap, the winners will also receive products and services worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, all supplied free of charge by members of the Council.
For example, for each of the five winners, Qualcomm Incorporated will provide in-kind contributions for an Inspired by Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab site that can be customised for the workforce development needs of that city. A Thinkabit Lab experience provides hands-on engineering and Qualcomm World of Work (QWOW) career exploration activities for students from all socio-economic backgrounds.
Through these signature activities, students are exposed to concepts and careers that are essential in every aspect of building the wireless, Internet of Things and 5G ecosystems, and inspiring the next generation of STEM innovators.
"There’s nothing more valuable to the economic development of a city than tech-savvy citizens who have been trained for the jobs of the future," said Berst. "That’s why we are so pleased that Qualcomm is helping to inspire people to consider careers in science and engineering."
In addition, SYNEXXUS will supply control nodes, management software and support for a pilot network of up to 48 smart street lights. IES will create a Community Information Model (CIM) – a data rich, 3D geospatial database to store, represent, and manage virtual 3D city models.
Meanwhile, IBI Group, the award-winning technology driven design firm, will work with the Council to produce a Readiness Roadmap for the winning cities, a visual action-plan cities can share with staff and with citizens to guide their next steps. Additional in-kind offerings will be announced in the weeks to come.
As well as the companies noted above, Itron and Sensus will provide their expertise at workshops and mentoring sessions throughout the year as Premier Sponsors of the Challenge Grant.
Communities will also get help thanks to the sponsorship of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the association that represents investor-owned electric companies in the United States. EEI is collaborating with the Council on several initiatives to bring utilities and cities together as partners, including ways electric companies can help cities apply for and win a Readiness Challenge Grant.
"Smart, sustainable energy is essential to a smart, sustainable city," explained Berst. "The support of EEI and its member electric companies will greatly accelerate our progress towards better livability, workability and sustainability.”
The five 2018 Readiness Challenge Grant winners will be announced at an awards reception 23 January, 2018, the evening before the US. Conference of Mayor’s winter meeting in Washington, DC. The deadline for submitting an application is 10 November 2017.
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Five winning US cities will receive free products, services, assessments, advice and assistance as part of the White House’s commitment to accelerate progress to smart