6 steps to building an intelligent community

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With the age of the Internet of Things on the horizon, it’s more important than ever for everyone within a community to be connected to each other, to other communities, to local businesses and services, and every amenity we need on a daily basis.

In Canada, rural communities have a difficult time keeping up because there is not enough incentive for Big Telecom to invest in these areas. I can’t say I’m surprised because there are even urban centres across Canada that lack affordable high-speed Internet.

But, no matter where you’re located, it’s possible to become better connected. Here are the 6 steps to building an intelligent community*:

1) Broadband

Without broadband, your community can’t support the thousands and millions of smart devices that are communicating with each other every second of the day. It has become an essential utility.  

2) Knowledge workforce

You need a tech sector that is developing new applications, new services, and new products, which creates employment opportunities and makes your community competitive on a global scale.

3) Innovation

The innovation behind these new services and products drives a strong economy and stimulates further innovation, ensuring your community is developing and growing healthily.

4) Digital equality

Regardless of socioeconomic status and geographic location, every citizen in your community needs equal access so they can participate in the growth and strengthening of the economy.

5) Sustainability

A smart connection between all citizens promotes a sustainable digital ecosystem, allowing businesses to work together and community members to thrive.

6) Advocacy

Once everyone is confidently working within the digital ecosystem, the community can collectively advocate their capabilities, skills, and reputation to the rest of the world. This makes your community a realistic option for more business investment and residential expansion.

Then, you invest in even better broadband infrastructure and the cycle continues. All communities have the potential of being intelligent, you just have to take the first step.

*This is known as the 'virtuous cycle' model by the ICF

As this digital economic disruption occurs some people are left behind so communities need to develop policies, programs and funding to give these people a helping hand into the digital economy. 

This process must occur in a sustainable manner where every person, place and thing becomes connected. As the community is becoming smarter it needs to advocate to people inside the community to increase awareness, comprehension and participation and outside the community to attract skilled workers, investment capital and new businesses. 

This is an “economic model” and as such the objective is to turn the circle increasingly faster to drive economic growth. 

Lucas DeClavasio