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City of Markham launches smart city accelerator

The research pilot programme will integrate IBM data and analytics technology into interconnected IoT applications

Markham is the largest of nine communities in Canada's York Region
Markham is the largest of nine communities in Canada's York Region

The City of Markham in Canada’s York region is launching the Smart City Accelerator Research Programme with the country’s largest telecommunications company, Bell.


The programme will deploy Bell’s smart city platform, which makes use of a range of interconnected Internet of Things (IoT) applications, to improve the efficiency of municipal operations and enhance city services for residents. The platform is integrated with IBM data and analytics technology to provide operational insights.


Digital Markham strategy


Through its Digital Markham strategy, Markham wants to create a "frictionless city" through innovation and the adoption of emerging technologies that will enhance the customer experience and improve the overall quality of life for Markham residents.


It said the smart city initiative with Bell will advance Markham’s digital journey and provide the opportunity for the city to test various sensor technologies in a number of different business areas.


"Markham will serve as a living lab and an incubator for innovation," said Frank Scarpitti, Mayor of Markham. "By embracing smart city technologies, we will continue to deliver exceptional services to our residents at lower costs and improve the quality of life.


"This partnership with Bell speaks to Markham’s commitment to leveraging the latest digital tools and assets; keeping us connected in an age of great transformation while reinforcing Markham’s position as a municipal leader in the heart of Canada’s innovation corridor."


Planned initiatives for the Markham smart city programme include:

  • Asset management: remote tracking of usage and location of municipal equipment;
  • Water leak detection: sensors on water mains and hydrants to provide real-time status of water system conditions;
  • Storm/flood water monitoring: manhole and river sensors measure water levels to help manage flood risk and mitigate damage;
  • Environmental monitoring: temperature and humidity sensors from fixed locations across the city will provide weather data to guide decisions on management of city operations;
  • Energy management: sensors will monitor and support analysis of energy usage in municipal buildings to optimise energy management.

"By leveraging the Bell smart city platform to monitor and manage critical infrastructure and services, Markham’s programme will lead to more efficient operations and improved services for everyone who lives and works here,” said Bell senior vice president Gary Semplonius.

"Markham will serve as a living lab and an incubator for innovation"

Bell is also partnering with IBM Canada to implement its components into the Bell smart city platform. Supported by Bell’s advanced broadband networks, IBM technology helps to aggregate data gathered from the various IoT monitoring solutions from Bell with the city’s open data to provide a consolidated digital dashboard view of city operations.


Data analytics gathered by the system enable municipal workers from across city departments to collaborate in real-time, leading to better-informed decisions about the management of city operations and delivery of services for citizens.


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