Smart Cities Council Readiness Challenge Expands to Give More Help to More Communities

This information provided by Smart Cities Council North America.

Cities, counties, states, provinces and regional authorities from anywhere in the U.S., Canada and Mexico can now apply for free technology, services and expert mentoring

RESTON, VA  (Sept. 7, 2017) ‒ The Smart Cities Council ‒ the world's largest smart cities network ‒ has expanded eligibility for its 2018 Readiness Challenge Grants to include government jurisdictions across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Cities, counties, states, provinces and regional authorities (transit, ports, etc.) are invited to apply. Grant applications are now available online. The deadline for submitting an application is Nov. 10, 2017.

The 2018 Challenge follows a successful 2017 competition that saw grants awarded to five U.S. cities – Austin, Indianapolis, Miami, Orlando and Philadelphia. “We know the technology is important and the expertise the Council brings will help us realize those opportunities,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said.

“This has been a fascinating day full of big ideas and big thoughts,” Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett noted after his city’s Readiness Workshop in July.  “These conversations and strategies will ensure that Indianapolis continues to progress throughout the 21st century. I take heart knowing we are moving forward with passion, with conviction and determination, but we are also moving forward innovatively.”

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 Oct. 3, where experts will help them improve their applications. Simply by registering they will receive a free pass to the coaching workshop and the full Smart Cities Week conference, Oct. 3-5 in Washington, D.C.

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 strategizing 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 customized Readiness Roadmap™." The Council has refined its Readiness Program 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 customized 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. And IBI Group, the award-winning technology driven design firm, will work with the Council to produce a Readiness Roadmap™ for the winning cities -- a highly 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 Jan. 23, 2018, the evening before the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting in Washington, D.C.

About Smart Cities Council
Launched in 2012, the Smart Cities Council is the author of the internationally recognized Smart Cities Readiness Guide, which provides guiding principles and best practices for an integrated, inclusive smart city. The Readiness Guide was developed based on discussions with hundreds of cities and solution vendors, and has been applied all over the world. The Council is comprised of more than 100 partners and advisors who have generated $2.7 trillion in annual revenue and contributed to more than 11,000 smart cities projects. To learn more, visit www.smartcitiescouncil.com

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Qualcomm is a trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated, registered in the United States and other countries. Thinkabit Lab and QWOW are trademarks of Qualcomm Incorporated.