The Smart Cities Challenge is now open!

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South of the border, the talk of rolling back net neutrality has everyone in a panic. Up here in Canada, the government just launched a platform for communities to engage its residents and work together to develop new smart city solutions.

Before getting into the details of the Government of Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge, we just want to point out that without net neutrality rules in the States, Americans will potentially be subject to throttled services in an effort to make a higher profit, similar to how Canada’s mobile telecom carriers operate.

Canadians should be worried about this too because the Internet doesn’t have borders the way countries do. If your favourite streaming service is American and suddenly it costs a premium for faster broadband, then you’ll be affected. This spreads to businesses, education, healthcare, and all other industries that rely on the Internet to operate.

Articles about net neutrality have been dominating our Twitter feed, but it makes us happy to see new initiatives like the Smart Cities Challenge.

The Challenge is open to all municipalities, local and regional government, and indigenous communities across Canada. The platform is designed to empower communities to address local issues with a smart city approach - any approach requiring the collection, transfer and analysis of data through connected technology is considered to be a smart approach.

The finalists will receive support to develop their proposal and winners will receive prize money to implement their smart city project.

The Smart City Challenge aims to help communities recognize and measure their needs, empower different groups of communities to come together to innovate and create new partnerships, and the Government is ultimately looking for ideas that are scalable. A true smart city solution is applicable to other communities across Canada.  

So, if you have a great idea, you will be helping your community and the entire country.

The application deadline is April 24, 2018. The finalists will be announced in summer 2018 and the winners announced spring 2019.

The first place winner will receive up to $50 million. There are also two prizes of up to $10 million each and one prize of up to $5 million.

We’re looking forward to all the amazing smart city ideas!

Campbell Patterson