Smart Cities Council Policy Brief Details Infrastructure Investment

As the U.S. election season heats up and further attention is focused on key national priorities, the Smart Cities Council has released a policy brief detailing how smart infrastructure investments in cities and towns across America will create jobs and promote greater prosperity for all. The brief was a point of focus last week during a policy event at Smart Cities Week – North America’s premier smart cities conference, convening more than 1,500 participants from all levels of government and the private sector in Washington, D.C.Image result for smart cities council

The policy brief – Smart Infrastructure Unlocks Equity and Prosperity for Our Cities and Towns – outlines how smart infrastructure will create better paying jobs and usher in a new era of prosperity for all Americans. It defines smart infrastructure as infrastructure optimized with proven information and communications technologies (ICT) – sensors, software and all manner of Internet of Things devices that give infrastructure digital eyes and ears.

Unlocking Barriers to Adoption

It also outlines how elected officials and other policymakers can accelerate smart infrastructure investments by supporting a move to freshen dated policies and practices that impede progress.

For example, it recommends enabling cities, counties and towns to:
• Develop the capacity to innovate
• Aggregate demand
• Streamline procurement
• Embrace new financing models
• Benchmark results

“Our mission is to help this generation’s visionary leaders at all levels of government to see the promise of smart infrastructure investments – and take action,” said Smart Cities Council Managing Director Philip Bane. “Innovation and inclusion are key themes which all of us should be concerned about when it comes to the future of our nation – and our policy brief makes a strong case for why and how smart infrastructure enables both.”

Increasing Pressure on Aging Infrastructure

The policy brief suggests that nowhere is the need for investment more obvious than in urban centers where swelling populations are putting increasing pressure on aging infrastructure. It also emphasizes the importance of focusing on smaller cities, towns, counties and rural communities facing serious infrastructure challenges, food and water insecurities, shortage in jobs providing livable wages and inefficient processes and policies. Yet many are budget-constrained.

The policy brief, which was supported by Council Partners AT&T, Black & Veatch, Itron, Qualcomm Intelligent Solutions, Inc. and Sensus, includes specific examples of how smart infrastructure is already providing triple bottom line returns – social, financial and environmental benefits – in cities large and small in the U.S. and beyond.

The Executive Summary for Smart Infrastructure Unlocks Equity and Prosperity for Our Cities and Towns can be accessed here.

To download the full policy brief, sign up on the Smart Cities Week website for free and access the document here.

Smart Cities Council Joins White House Effort to Advance Smart Cities

The Smart Cities Council has also awarded five challenge grants to help five American cities apply smart technologies to improve urban livability, workability and sustainability. The grant is in support of the White House’s call to action to accelerate the development of smart cities, announced last week.

Last September, the Obama Administration launched the White House Smart Cities Initiative, announcing an initial investment of over $160 million in research funds devoted to growing the pipeline of proven new technologies available to help cities solve pressing challenges. The initiative includes a range of partnerships with cities and universities collaborating to launch more than 60 new smart city projects across the country.

“The smart city sector has already reached more than $1 trillion in annual sales worldwide,” said Jesse Berst, chairman of the Smart Cities Council. “But it’s not just a trend… it’s a race. In our global economy, every city is competing for jobs and talent. A smart city strategy is essential to support a 21st century workforce and to drive economic development. We welcome the chance to help the winning cities gain a competitive edge through the creation of a robust digital infrastructure.”

For each winning city, the Smart Cities Council will deliver a one-day Readiness Program workshop with participants including approximately 100 of the city’s government leaders, private sector and academic experts, and other key local stakeholders. The Council will custom design each workshop to the special needs of that city, taking into account their immediate needs, long-term goals and current use of smart technologies.

The Readiness Program provides a significant in-kind contribution of professional services; access to best practices from some of the world’s top smart city practitioners; access to the expertise of leading smart cities technology providers in a vendor-neutral setting; the opportunity to learn from peer cities; and international visibility on the Council’s website and newsletter.

Smart Cities Council member companies and advisors have joined this initiative and will provide the winning cities with the following:

• Ameresco will provide consulting to help optimize smart street lighting.
• AT&T will provide up to 25 AT&T Internet of Things Starter Kits.
• CH2M and Qualcomm will collaborate to host a one-day follow-on workshop to develop and deploy a smart cities ecosystem.
• Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) will provide free training, software, and access to its technology educational materials.
• Dow Building and Construction will provide consultation on optimizing building design as part of a smart cities ecosystem.
• IDC will assess each city’s progress through a comprehensive Smart City Maturity Benchmark.
• Sensus will provide a citywide hosted communications network free of charge for one year.
• Telit will provide each city free access to its Telit IoT platform.
• TM Forum will help cities assess progress through its Smart City Maturity and Benchmark Model.
• Transdev will provide up to three days of technical assistance to investigate new and more efficient urban mobility options.

Interested cities may register to receive an application form by emailing GrantApplication@SmartCitiesCouncil.com or by visiting http://grants.smartcitiescouncil.com.

About the 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, cross-cutting 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 120 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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