Published: February 17th, 2016
Source: IOT Ottawa
The Ottawa region is known for government and its leading role in Canada’s high technology sector. It can legitimately boast a highly educated public and private sector workforce, and a climate of innovation and growing entrepreneurship. This is a result of both new professional blood and the lingering momentum provided by legacy enterprises in the telecom and other sectors. As such, Ottawa’s self-declared aspiration to be Canada’s Beacon for “Smart Communities” is in reach with decisive action and cultivation.
One of the pillars of a smart community is its capacity for innovation. Innovation requires knowledge and human capital as well as supportive and efficient cyber-physical and physical environments to thrive.
IoT Gives Rise to Smart City
The Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm melds together physical objects, software based virtual objects, user interfaces and cloud-based analytics – all interconnected by an Internet based infrastructure. IoT is benefiting, but also disrupting many sectors such as manufacturing, transportation and health. It is also giving rise to the Smart City which results in operational cost savings, reduced resource consumption and enhanced quality of life to its citizens. Among other aspects, a Smart City includessmart infrastructure – energy, water, sewer
- smart transportation – individual and shared vehicles, bus, rail
- smart buildings and homes
- smart healthcare and elder care and mobility
- environmental sensing, protection and carbon footprint reduction
- tourism experience enhancement
- city open data
and many other depicted in the example from Libelium.
Driver and Proving Ground for IoT
A Smart City clearly contributes to the physical and cyber-physical needs of a Smart Community, and this on its own is reason enough to consider transforming Ottawa into a Smart City. However, benefits of transformation go well beyond this. Since IoT, the core ingredient of Smart Cities, is bursting with innovation and economic growth opportunities, Smart City transformation provides fertile ground for innovative local companies to take root and grow. Not only would such transformation foster new companies to serve local need, it would also provide economic growth through export of products and services to other Smart Cities and to other economic sectors.
The benefits of Smnd Innovative
To remain competitive Ottawa must develop a strong IoT component in its innovation arsenal. Unlike some Canadian regions, Ottawa lacks a manufacturing or resource base to leverage as a driver or proving ground for IoT. A Smart City transformation initiative by the city would provide that for Ottawa and significantly enhance the local IoT innovation platform.
art City transformation are not lost on other jurisdictions globally. They are resolutely on this path to get a competitive edge in the new digital economy. European Commission’s Digital Agenda for Europe has IoT as a pillar for innovation and Smart Cities are both its key beneficiaries and further platforms for economic growth. EUREKA supporting Europe’s cross-border innovation has a special long-term strategically significant inter-cluster initiative focused on Smart Cities. Amsterdam and Yachay are just a couple of the many cities around the world with Smart City initiatives. Also, signatories to the UN Global Compact Cities Programme, especially those seeking the “Innovating City” level designation will no doubt incorporate Smart City aspects involving IoT
Ottawa already has active IoT players such as QNX, Macadamian, Purple Forge, Wind River (Intel), among many others with in-house innovation capacity and track record. Other organizations requiring to re-vector their innovation toward IoT can leverage Ottawa’s high calibre innovation management and facilitation consultancies such as Spring2 Innovation and others. In addition, a number of entrepreneurship hubs, commercialization centers and venues are starting to put focus on IoT – among them StudIoT under the uOttawa Entrepreneurship Hub, CENGN and the upcoming Startup Weekend uOttawa for students. Leadership by the City of Ottawa in Smart City transformation would magnify and accelerate the local tech community efforts and also attract external investment and talent into the region.
To become a beacon for Smart Communities, Ottawa must also be a Smart City.