Yesterday evening, I had the opportunity to join #CdnMuni Innovators to discuss technology; innovation and connectivity at the first ever CONNECT Social Federation of Canadian Municipalities brought together by the FCM’s Innovation Network.
Local government is in the business of making connections.
Whether it is connecting commuters to workplaces; older adults to recreation centres; students to campuses or families to parks; it is a municipality’s job to bring residents together and bring out the best in people.
Connectivity is city-building.
Innovation is city-building.
At every turn, Canada’s cities and towns are thinking outside the box about making things work better. An understanding and appreciation for how technology can achieve this must be in a municipality’s corporate DNA; detailed and committed to in strategic plans.
Fortunately, technology allows city hall to connect closer with a community’s greatest resource: concerned, dedicated and smart people, businesses and stakeholder organizations. Innovative technology has the potential to be the antidote that combats chronic problems of low voter turnout, apathy and cynicism that linger over government. Technology empowers residents and businesses to have greater ownership in decision making, to pull up a seat at council chamber and brainstorm solutions that produce real results. All this, while taking greater pride in the place they call home.
In Mississauga, innovation and technology guides Council and staff’s efforts to better use technology to shape policy, make informed decisions and deliver quality public services. Mississauga is partnering with Cisco to advance the connection of services such as the Advance Traffic Management System – a new initiative to help break gridlock and improve the flow of traffic across our city.
The City of Mississauga is excited about the Smart Cities Challenge and will be preparing a submission that aligns with our goal to be a connected and engaged City.
The City is the 1st in Canada to become a Virtual Campus through a partnership with “eduroam”. Through this partnership we are providing digital access to over 80,000 post-secondary schools through our City provided public Wi-Fi. Since May 2017 we have enabled over 30,000 students from over 115 unique post-secondary institutions from around the world.
Being connected and engaged is a key objective of the City’s IT Master Plan and in 2016 the public used the City’s free public Wi-Fi “WirelessMississauga” to the equivalent of 407 years. Yes – that’s 407 years of Wi-Fi use in one year.
Mississauga was also an early adopter of LED lighting and has over 50,000 LED lights that are all connected providing smart capabilities, saving energy, money and of course good for the environment.
The City has also been very engaged with youth through our hackathons which have been in partnership with the University of Toronto Mississauga and Sheridan with this year’s event Tech and the City being a huge success. Open Data, innovation and a spirit of entrepreneurism are key to creating that connected and engaged community.
Through a partnership with Peel, Brampton and Caledon, the City is also proud of the Public Sector Network, Canada’s largest publically owned and operated fibre network! This has been a significant benefit to our goal to connect things, and having CISCO as a partner in connecting our things has been great too!
We look forward to the Smart Cities Challenge and the opportunity to tell our Smart City story and how technology has become part of City building. Stay tuned for more details.