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Th­es­mart City Is the New Nor­mal

- Ken Dono­hue Business · Hackathons · Tech Trends · Tech · Canada News · Internet · Startups · Investing · Big Data · Technology Industry · Business Trends · Urbanism · Economics · Programming · Small Business · Industries · Social Sciences · Google · Amazon · Facebook · Telus

The COVID-19 pan­demic has had an un­par­al­leled im­pact on Cana­dian so­ci­ety and busi­ness, but it has also high­lighted the importance of in­vest­ing in dig­i­tal in­fra­struc­ture and con­nec­tiv­ity. Build­ing smart ci­ties is an ex­am­ple of how this in­vest­ment can boost the econ­omy and leave a legacy for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

Gov­ern­ments across Canada haven’t been shy about com­mit­ting bil­lions of dol­lars to stim­u­lus fund­ing, and there’s a strong ar­gu­ment to be­made that in­vest­ing in mu­nic­i­pal in­fra­struc­ture — through in­no­va­tion, data an­a­lyt­ics, and con­nected tech­nol­ogy— will help build the foun­da­tion for long- term eco­nomic growth in­stead of just the short-term lift that of­ten re­sults from govern­ment stim­u­lus fund­ing. This strat­egy makes sense given the grow­ing con­cen­tra­tion of the Cana­dian pop­u­la­tion in ci­ties and the rise of the In­ter­net of Things (IOT) and the cor­re­spond­ing growth of the dig­i­tal econ­omy.

A smarter ap­proach to in­fra­struc­ture stim­u­lus

In times of eco­nomic cri­sis, the play­book for govern­ment is to do what it has al­ways done — stim­u­late the econ­omy by fund­ing shovel-ready projects such as roads, bridges, and other fixed in­fra­struc­ture projects.

“The dif­fer­ence this time is that so­much of our econ­omy to­day re­lies on tech­nol­ogy and dig­i­ti­za­tion, which are in­tan­gi­ble as­sets,” says Kur­tis Mcbride, Co- Founder and CEO of Mio­vi­sion. “It’s in­cum­bent on govern­ment to not only con­sider tra­di­tional stim­u­lus in­fra­struc­ture, but to also look at tech­nol­ogy in­fra­struc­ture and dig­i­tal pro­cure­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties. This will lead to longer-term eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment that will ben­e­fit Cana­di­ans, while also lead­ing to a value- add that’s ex­portable.”

Mio­vi­sion’s ded­i­ca­tion to in­no­va­tion and solv­ing some of our most press­ing ur­ban chal­lenges has made it a lead­ing au­thor­ity in help­ing ci­ties to re­al­ize their smart city goals. The com­pany uses com­puter vi­sion, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, and ad­vanced mod­el­ling to help ci­ties mod­ern­ize their ap­proach to traf­fic man­age­ment.

Mcbride adds that with the rise of the con­sumer in­ter­net, data has in­creased in value over the past few decades. He points to some of the com­pa­nies with the high­est mar­ket cap­i­tal­iza­tion, such as Google, Ama­zon, and Face­book, which are al­most en­tirely data- driven. The con­ver­gence of the dig­i­tal and phys­i­cal worlds is pow­er­ing the next wave of data con­cen­tra­tion, lead­ing to the growth of smart ci­ties and com­mu­ni­ties. We’re al­ready see­ing this in road and in­ter­sec­tion man­age­ment and fleet ve­hi­cle op­ti­miza­tion, but there are more op­por­tu­ni­ties that we can un­lock if there’s a strat­egy at the na­tional level on how best to lever­age our data as­sets. The prize is a bet­ter qual­ity of life, more ef­fi­cient com­mu­ni­ties, and re­duced en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact.

Tech­nol­ogy pow­ers the new nor­mal

The COVID-19 pan­demic has changed ( per­haps for­ever) our tra­di­tional view of the work­place and the way busi­nesses op­er­ate. “If you asked the av­er­age cus­tomer of ours a year ago if some­one could man­age city in­ter­sec­tions from their liv­ing room, they’d all laugh,” says Mcbride. “But the world has changed and what we’ve seen over the past six months is that the cit ies that em­ployed cloud­based tech­nol­ogy have been able to keep run­ning with staff work­ing in re­mote en­vi­ron­ments. The ones that hadn’t in­vested in tech­nol­ogy have strug­gled.”

So much of the global econ­omy is driven by in­tan­gi­ble dig­i­tal as­sets. To cap­i­tal­ize on the ben­e­fits of data and tech­nol­ogy, the pri­vate and public sec­tors in Canada need to be in­ten­tional and strate­gic about com­ing to­gether to de­velop a plan for de­vel­op­ing smart com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try.

To achieve this, Mcbride says that open data ar­chi­tec­ture, which cul­ti­vates in­no­va­tion, will ben­e­fit our ci­ties more than any other tech­nol­ogy. He adds that given the high value that data has in to­day’s dig­i­tal world, it can be self- sus­tain­ing, with data as­sets gen­er­at­ing rev­enue that can then be rein­vested in in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies.

“The evo­lu­tion of smart ci­ties will be as pro­found as the in­ter­net was, but no sin­gle com­pany can take us through this trans­for­ma­tion,” says Mcbride. “Open data will en­cour­age cross-ven­dor col­lab­o­ra­tion and part­ner­ships with the public and pri­vate sec­tors and academia.”

Ac­cel­er­at­ing smart ci­ties through col­lab­o­ra­tion

“Col­lab­o­ra­tion will be crit­i­cal in the post- COVID re­cov­ery, be­cause by work­ing to­gether we can achieve syn­er­gies and drive ef­fi­cien­cies that will help ci­ties solve some of their most chal­leng­ing prob­lems,” says Nadim­ja­mal, Di­rec­tor of In­sights and Smart Ci­ties at TELUS. “We part­nered with Mio­vi­sion be­cause we’re both pas­sion­ate about data- driven de­ci­sions and data as­sets that can be used on a global scale. It shares our vi­sion of smart and con­nected ci­ties.”

TELUS is com­mit­ted to grow­ing the Cana­dian tech­nol­ogy econ­omy and is al­ways seek­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­vest and part­ner with in­no­va­tive Cana­dian com­pa­nies to lever­age lead­ing tech­nolo­gies. The part­ner­ship be­tween Mio­vi­sion and TELUS is a per­fect ex­am­ple of the type of col­lab­o­ra­tion re­quired in to­day’s tech­nol­ogy- driven en­vi­ron­ment. Ei­ther com­pany oper­at­ing on its own sim­ply would not be able to achieve what they can do to­gether. Now, ci­ties across the world will be able to mea­sure, man­age, and op­ti­mize traf­fic con­ges­tion with the help of Mio­vi­sion’s ex­per­tise, com­bined with the power of TELUS’ ded­i­cated IOT network.

Ja­mal be­lieves Cana­dian com­pa­nies are in a great po­si­tion to lever­age data and tech­nol­ogy to make mean­ing­ful change and to cre­ate safer, health­ier, and­more sus­tain­able com­mu­ni­ties. “Tech­nol­ogy is com­ing to us re­gard­less. We have an op­por­tu­nity to de­velop and adopt Cana­dian tech so­lu­tions that will sup­port smart ci­ties and busi­nesses,” he says. “It’s bet­ter if the so­lu­tions come from Cana­dian com­pa­nies, where there are ro­bust stan­dards in data pri­vacy and se­cu­rity, than im­port­ing tech­nol­ogy that may not have been de­vel­oped with the same stan­dards.”

COVID-19 could be the cat­a­lyst to ac­cel­er­ate the move to the dig­i­tal econ­omy — a once-in-a- gen­er­a­tion op­por­tu­nity to re­ori­ent and change the par­a­digm.

The dif­fer­ence this time is that so­mu­chof oure­con­omy to­day re­lies on tech­nol­ogy and­dig­i­ti­za­tion, which arein­tan­gi­ble as­sets. It’s in­cum­bent on govern­ment to not on­ly­con­sider tra­di­tional stim­u­lus in­fra­struc­ture, but to al­solookat tech­nol­ogy in­fra­struc­ture and dig­i­tal pro­cure­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties.

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 ??  ?? Nadim Ja­mal Di­rec­tor of In­sights & Smart Ci­ties, TELUS
Nadim Ja­mal Di­rec­tor of In­sights & Smart Ci­ties, TELUS
 ??  ?? Kur­tis Mcbride Co-founder & CEO, Mio­vi­sion
Kur­tis Mcbride Co-founder & CEO, Mio­vi­sion

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