Espoo, Finland named 2018 Intelligent Community of the Year

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Earlier this month, the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) named Espoo, Finland the 2018 Intelligent Community of the Year!

The year-long evaluation consists of detailed qualitative analysis, site inspections, and deliberating among a panel of expert international jurors. Espoo may have taken the top spot this year, but Canada was represented among the Top 7 by Hamilton and Winnipeg.

“It is very unusual for a community to be named Intelligent Community of the Year the first time they enter our program,” says ICF co-founder Lou Zacharilla. “ICF is about process improvement over time. But Espoo’s holistic philosophy of humanizing every aspect of its technology and teaching innovation as a way of life was extremely impressive. Espoo’s citizen engagement rates are extremely high, which democracies need, and its economic output speaks for itself. The city is a hidden gem in Finland. Now they have been ‘found out!’”

Finland made history in 2010 by declaring 1 Mbps broadband a legal right. According to the OECD, Finland is second in the world for mobile broadband adoption, and it’s the leading country in Europe for ultra-broadband adoption. More than 50% of households have access to a fixed connection of 100 Mbps.

As Finland’s second largest city, Espoo plays a significant role in the development of broadband infrastructure and smart city solutions.

A great example is the LuxTurrim 5G project, which is a three year pilot testing smart light poles as transmitters for 5G. The smart light poles feature mini 5G antennas, sensors for smart city systems, and digitally controlled LED lighting.

When it comes to education, Espoo developed the School as a Service program for secondary students. They leave behind the idea of a school simply being a building. The program approaches the concept of schooling as a network of resources to support learning. This gives students access to university instructors, other classes, labs, and scientific showcases, all via the Internet.

Espoo has also been declared Europe’s most sustainable city. It is part of the Six City Strategy, consisting of the six largest cities in Finland, exploring open data, and smart city solutions to improve the global competitiveness of local businesses and further improve energy efficiency models.  

Learn more about Espoo here!

Lucas DeClavasio