Surrey selected among World’s Smart21 Communities
October 22, 2015
The City of Surrey has been selected by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) as one of the World’s Smart21 Communities of 2016. As one of the 21 semi-finalists, Surrey is now in contention for the prestigious designation of Intelligent Community of the Year, to be named in June 2016 at the ICF Summit in Columbus, Ohio.
The Smart21 Communities of 2016 are comprised of Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg and four other communities from Canada, five communities from Taiwan, two communities from the United States, two communities from Australia, and one community each from Germany, The Netherlands, New Zealand and Sweden.
Nominated communities provided a detailed explanation of programs and initiatives that address IFM’s six intelligent community indicators, which provide the conceptual framework for understanding all of the factors that determine a community's competitiveness and point to its success in the broadband economy. In addition, the Awards are guided by this year’s theme, From Revolution to Renaissance, which focuses on how Intelligent Communities plan their future at a time when the economy, the environment and the patterns of urban and rural life are undergoing dramatic change.
The “Smart Surrey Strategy” outlines the progressive approach Council has taken to build a city that uses technology and innovation to transform life and work within the region. Key initiatives include:
Surrey launched a first-of-its-kind pilot projects to integrate IBM Watson technology into its “MySurrey App.” This technology allows City customers to input questions into the application and receive direct answers rather than a traditional list of search results.
The City’s plans are to significantly improve high-speed broadband availability and affordability in the City, including free city-wide public Wi-Fi, and exploring opportunities to install telecommunications conduit during city construction projects to increase City Centre’s broadband services.
Surrey will be the first city in the province to install a system that uses Bluetooth technology and Dynamic Messaging Signs on key corridors to improve to enables travellers to select the optimal route based on real time traffic conditions.
The Innovation Boulevard partnership achieved a number of successes in 2015 including the opening of the Health Tech Innovation Hub across the street from Surrey Memorial Hospital that brings together companies, scientists, researchers and universities to accelerate the growth of health care technologies.
Tech e@sfu is a program that pairs SFU engineering and business students to develop a new technology venture. In the first two years, 53 students enrolled in the program and five early-stage tech ventures were created during the 2015 cohort.
Party for the Planet, an annual Sustainability-focused event that attracts 15,000 attendees, is one way the City engages with its residents about actions they can take to create a vibrant future.
More information on the Intelligent Communities Forum's From Revolution to Renaissance can be found here.