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Cargo Drones, Blockchain Culture Tokens, and Recent Smart City Initiatives: New Report

By 19 October 2020 No Comments

Ottawa, October 19, 2020— Cargo drones delivering medical supplies to remote Canadian Indigenous communities; the world’s first AI-based concrete strength prediction engine to speed construction at the London City Airport; blockchain technology for referendums, government services, and incentivizing positive citizen behaviour to in Seoul, Korea—these are some of the smart city initiatives examined in ICTC’s new report Smart Developments at Home and Abroad: Smart Cities Monitoring Report 2019–20.

As municipalities around the world seek to better serve their communities and prepare for a more connected and data-centric future, this report looks at six Canadian and international initiatives that were conceived or rolled out between March 2019 and March 2020.

Aligning with ICTC’s key smart city priority areas of smart energy and environment, smart infrastructure, smart mobility, smart government, smart health and wellbeing, and smart regulation, the initiatives discussed in this report are discussed in the context of benefits to municipalities and citizens, labour market implications, and ethical considerations.

Other initiatives covered by the Smart Developments at Home and Abroad: Smart Cities Monitoring Report 2019–20 include the following:

  • A blockchain-powered “Kultur-Token” Currency initiative in Vienna, Austria, that rewards environmentally friendly city travel by foot and bicycle with tickets to theatres and museums
  • A smartphone app to increase the convenience and efficiency of the public transit system in Calgary, Alberta, allowing commuters to buy, display, and validate transit passes entirely on their smartphones
  • Ethical considerations and public oversight over the growing use of closed-circuit television (CCTV) and emerging facial recognition technology to address issues of crime and public safety in Toronto, Ontario

(Although this report does not investigate the initial changes to urban centres as a result of COVID-19, it does address potential labour market implications.)

“Smart cities continue to change the economics of urban infrastructure and civic participation while creating new jobs and fostering a more sustainable environment. Unlocking the full potential of urban innovations in the future will depend primarily on heightened partnerships between cities, businesses, and civil society,” said Namir Anani, ICTC President & CEO.

The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) is a not-for-profit, national centre of expertise for strengthening Canada’s digital advantage in a global economy. Through trusted research, practical policy advice, and creative capacity-building programs, ICTC fosters globally competitive Canadian industries enabled by innovative and diverse digital talent. In partnership with an expansive network of industry leaders, academic partners, and policy makers from across Canada, ICTC has empowered a robust and inclusive digital economy for over 25 years.

For Interviews with an ICTC subject expert and other media inquiries, please contact Paul Stastny at [email protected] or 403.351.0138 Ext. 823.

This study was funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.

A copy of the study can be accessed here.

A French-language version of the press released is here.