For Immediate Release | Check Against Delivery

May 8th, 2017

Mayor Crombie Keynote Address: Building a Smart, Connected City

The following keynote address was delivered by Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie during the Accelerating Smart Communities East 2017 Conference in Toronto:

“Good morning, everyone. I want to thank the organizers from the 2017 Accelerating Smart Communities East Conference for the opportunity to speak with all of you about Mississauga’s ongoing efforts to build a smart and connected city.

“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.  In Mississauga, this idea guides Council and staff’s efforts to better use technology to shape policy, make informed decisions and deliver quality public services.

“For municipalities, information technology needs are more than just setting up smartphones and fixing laptops. At every turn, Canada’s cities and towns must think 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: its concerned, dedicated and smart people.  It 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 to have greater ownership in decision making, 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 his acclaimed book Citizenville, former San Francisco mayor, Gavin Newsom, writes extensively about the important role innovation and information contribute toward reinventing government improving civic engagement and taking the town square digital.

“Nearly 4,500 kilometers separate the City by the Bay and Canada’s sixth largest city and like San Francisco, Mississauga has a culture of identifying and using new technologies.

“These advancements are driving local government forward in the twenty-first century. Residents are invited to be full partners in government and city-building. And as is this case with innovation, Mississauga continues to embrace, adopt and create new best practices.

“In June 2015, Council voted unanimously to expand the size of Mississauga’s town square by approving a new open data program.  Open data is public information that is accessible and easy to understand. The data is unrestricted to copyrights, patents or other mechanisms of control. Mississauga open data is free because everyone has a right to it.

“Today, more than 400 publications exist in multiple formats. Data sets range from information about the environment, infrastructure, transportation, topography, business and economic development, among others.

“Shawn Slack, the City of Mississauga’s Director of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer heads a team of passionate thought leaders working each day to expand the collection with more information about services like our 311 Citizen Contact Centre, community centres, cycling lanes and parks and trails.

“Data sets can be easily accessed on the City’s open data website – Mississauga Data. Think of it as a virtual twenty-first century library but with a growing collection of bestselling ideas in need of an author to start writing – or in this case, coding!

“Solving municipal issues often means looking beyond city limits to find solutions.  Mississauga Data is a growing hub of information, featuring other data catalogues from neighbouring communities, the provincial and federal governments, and third parties.

“Open data sets are invaluable sources of information that can be used to develop new software and applications. Open data is allowing Mississauga to build on its already informative, popular and successful apps and online services.

“Mississauga Pingstreet provides real-time access to garbage and recycling calendars, current events, local government information and social media channels.

“eMaps is Mississauga’s interactive online mapping service, whereas eParks has a comprehensive listing of parks, facilities and other public spaces.

“MiWay, Mississauga’s public transit service, has a mobile site with features including real-time bus departures, service alerts and other trip planning features.

“Mississauga’s Planning and Building Department launched ePlans – an initiative that is making it easier to navigate through City Hall by electronically submitting site plans, building permits and other information.

“Streamlining services allows for cutting through the red tape so people can be free to build their dream home or expand their business.

“The Mississauga Roads App lets users see on a map road construction projects happening throughout the City. The alerts section provides details about road work. The app includes links to Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation traffic cameras of major 400-series highways. The cameras show real-time updates of traffic conditions. During the winter months, this app can be used to track the locations of snowplows and see when a street was last plowed. Residents can also access relevant Twitter feeds to keep up to date on any road related issues or events occurring.

“The app is compatible with a variety of different smartphones, free to download from Apple iTunes and Google Play.

“The City’s comprehensive open data platform was the catalyst for Mississauga to connect active minds to the information, which culminated in the City’s first-ever Code and The City Idea Jam event.

“Last year Mississauga joined communities from around the world to mark International Open Data Day by co-hosting this Idea Jam.

“The best and the brightest – students and seasoned professionals – were invited to participate in this first-ever gathering.

“During this day-long event, nearly 100 developers, designers, mappers and information analysts gathered to share, discuss, network and collaborate about making the most out of open data.

“Participants created concepts by mining through mountains of information with the goal to improve service delivery for residents, and develop new apps for the City.

“Coders conceptualized, designed and presented their solutions, and were eligible for a chance to win up to $6,000 dollars in cash and prizes. Ideas developed include apps to help people avoid parking violations or receive real time service about local businesses.

“Code and The City was a successful experience for everyone involved.

“It was made possible because Mississauga partnered with private and public-sector leaders committed to the City’s mission to build smart connections, inspire and empower people and deliver innovative public services.

“Mississauga’s renowned post-secondary institutions, Sheridan College and I-CUBE – the business accelerator at the Institute for Management & Innovation at the University of Toronto Mississauga – are to be singled out. Both schools are home to modern knowledge infrastructure and a surplus of human capital.

“The ideas students learn, the teaching received, the knowledge gained and the training acquired, can lead to important breakthroughs.

“Their work makes events like Code and The City all the more worthwhile.

Tech and the City is scheduled for October 2017 at UTM – stay tuned for more details.

“Mississauga recently partnered with UTM to launch our eduroam virtual campus.

“Put simply, through technology students and faculty members from UTM, and post-secondary visitors from around the world will benefit by having direct access to online institutional resources at the City of Mississauga locations such as libraries, community centres, arenas, transit terminals and public spaces.

“By implementing eduroam the City has created a virtual campus that helps position Mississauga as a global hub of creative and innovative activity where talent can thrive.

“Working with Mississauga’s partners in education is helping to build a smart, connected city.

“So are the City’s efforts with private-sector leaders. SOTI, Esri Canada, BOX, Cisco Systems, ONx, Amazon and Microsoft, were part of a coalition of committed businesses that helped make Code and The City possible.

“Beyond Mississauga’s ongoing open data initiatives – modern technology is needed for the effective delivery of local services, especially as employees and workplaces rely on mobile technology to help them do their jobs.

“IT infrastructure is essential for how local services connect and operate.

“Fibre optic networks, Wi-Fi and cellular networks help link services and enable the collection of data and the ability to effectively manage services in real time.

“This connection of assets and services is known as the Internet of Things. IoT is allowing Mississauga to further develop as a smart city leader – that is, a city committed to developing digital solutions for the delivery of improved government 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.

“It truly is an exciting time for city-building. Mississauga continues to be a digital innovator.

“In fact, Mississauga has been shortlisted as one of 26 finalists across Canada for The Digital Transformation Award in recognition of our forward-looking efforts to utilize technology. We are all eagerly awaiting the results!

“Technology and open data are helping to build a smart, connected city.

“Residents are empowered. Ideas are being explored. New apps are being brainstormed, developed and launched for public use.

“Problems are being solved. Public and private partnerships are being forged; working toward common goals to enrich people and improve service delivery.

“Elected officials and staff are making better informed decisions.

“Government is more transparent and accountable.  It is also working harder for people.

“With greater access to open data, people are invited and encouraged to connect the dots.

“Municipalities are positioned to be at the forefront of integrating technology to elevate the quality of life for all residents. And it starts by making the right connections, and inviting people to have a place, and have their voices heard, in the emerging digital town square.  Thank you!”