Montreal named Intelligent Community of the Year

Montreal has been named the Intelligent Community of the Year after beating out six other competing cities.

The award, given out every year by the The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), was handed out at a dinner ceremony in Columbus, Ohio, last year’s winning city.

The 2016 ICF Awards Program marked Montreal’s first appearance on ICF’s Top7 Intelligent Communities list, and was “a culmination of work that has been underway since the city introduced a Smart City plan in 2011.”

“Our jury believed that Montreal played the innovation game at the highest possible level,” said ICF coounder Lou Zacharilla. “The City has found perhaps the strongest link and example of how to go from the revolution of technology to the new Renaissance that we believe cities can enter. Montreal never strayed far from the DNA that gave the world Cirque de Soleil and a powerful games industry. It has continued to invest in innovative urban statements such as the Quartier des Spectacles, where broadband and ICT, in our view, play the proper role in enabling the economic and human expression of culture.”

When MTLinTECH spoke with the ICF in May, Montreal’s Smart City program was an obvious attraction point for its consideration.

The Smart City plan was introduced in 2011, which focuses on building out the city’s wired and wireless broadband infrastructure, as well as deploying technology to make city services and systems more efficient. Meanwhile, current plans call for build-out of free WiFi across the 17 square kilometers of the central city bodes well for a city that is said to have the most students, per capita, in North America.

“Montreal is doing the things that the intelligent cities forum says cities need to do to be successful in the 21st century,” ICF cofounder Robert Bell told MTLinTech. “They’ve worked hard to get private and public sectors working together, it’s got a strong educational community and it brings together partners to create a ‘knowledge workforce’ – improving everyone in your economy to have better and better skills, because that’s where prosperity comes from.”

Montreal was selected as the top city after a year-long evaluation “that included a quantitative analysis of extensive data, site inspections by the ICF, and votes from an international jury made up of experts from around the world.” Communities in the Awards program are evaluated based on six Intelligent Community Indicators, along with a seventh criteria, ICF’s annual theme, From Revolution to Renaissance.

The ICF is an independent think-tank and presented the awards as part of its annual Summit. The ICF Summit was attended by hundreds of thought leaders from around the world, including the world’s 2016 Top7 Intelligent Communities and previous Intelligent Communities of the Year, including New York, Columbus, Calgary, Waterloo, Toronto, Eindhoven, Taipei and Taichung.

When the ICF visited Montreal, Bell said he was impressed by the amount of high-tech startups he visited with. He also said the ICF had been looking for examples of cities that are incorporating tech to change the face of the city. Montreal is “probably one of the best examples I’ve seen,” said Bell, referencing Montreal’s abundant public art that’s been used to remake parts of the city that have fallen by the wayside.


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