The city’s efforts to integrate existing information and communication technologies to improve city services were honored nationally last week, as Philadelphia was named one of five U.S. cities to win a Smart Cities Council Readiness Challenge Grant.
Philadelphia, along with Austin, Indianapolis, Miami, and Orlando, were chosen from among 130 cities that applied for the grant. The grant opportunity was sponsored by the Smart Cities Council, the world’s largest smart cities network, founded in 2012.
“Philadelphia, both in the public and private sectors, is dedicated to evolving into a smart city and we are honored that the Smart Cities Council Readiness Challenge Grant recognizes our goals,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “We have been building a coalition of city, community, business and educational institutions. They are all enthused and ready to help with smart city projects focused on the built environment, telecommunications and basic public services like water.
“We know the technology behind us is important for our citizens and businesses alike, and the expertise that the Smart Cities Council brings will help us realize those opportunities,” he said.
As one of the five winning cities, Philadelphia will receive a tailored Readiness Workshop during 2017 to develop a roadmap for applying smart technologies to further innovation, inclusion and investment within their cities. The city will also receive ongoing feedback and guidance from the Council, as well as supporting products and services from Council member companies and advisers.
“Smart cities are cities where everyone works together toward a common vision, and we were especially impressed with the collaborative environment that Philadelphia is building,” said Smart Cities Council Chairman Jesse Berst. “We and our partners look forward to helping the city build upon this great head start to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the city’s residents.”
“This grant from the Smart Cities Council is a recognition of the potential we have to leverage technology to improve the lives of residents and visitors,” said Philadelphia’s Chief Administrative Officer, Christine Derenick-Lopez. “These efforts are just getting off the ground, and we fully intend to make use of the expertise and guidance that this grant will bring.”
Among Philadelphia’s nascent Smart Cities efforts was a Request for Ideas issued last year for proposals on how to make use of existing assets — such as streetlight poles and cell towers — toward what is known as the Internet of Things, bringing broadband and WiFi connectivity to physical devices. More than 100 ideas were submitted and are now under review.