Mississauga Entering Challenge with Massive Cash Prize

Mississauga is entering a prestigious challenge that could give the city a little extra clout and a very, very substantial cash prize.

The City of Mississauga recently announced that it will be participating in the Government of Canada's Smart Cities Challenge.

As far as smart cities go, you might have recently heard the term being used by various municipal governments looking to do things differently. The basis of Smart City initiatives is to use technology and open data to provide better services to residents in large cities such as Mississauga in order to look for ways to enhance people's existing living standards.

Smart Cities collect data about residents' activities and resource-use through networks of sensors, cameras and other tracking technologies. The data is analyzed in real or near real-time and the results are used to coordinate and deliver public services more efficiently and cost-effectively.

Officially announced at the end of November, the Smart Cities Challenge encourages communities to adopt a smart cities approach to "improve the lives of their residents through innovation, data and connected technology."

The Challenge, which Mississauga is participating in, is a cross-Canadian initiative open to various communities of all sizes—including municipalities, regional governments and Indigenous communities.

Successful applicants will receive prizing based on population size and the prizing includes:

  • Prize of up to $50 million open to all communities, regardless of population;
  • Two prizes of up to $10 million open to all communities with populations under 500,000 people; and
  • One prize of up to $5 million open to all communities with populations under 30,000 people.

"We are very excited to see the official launch of this Challenge. Smart Cities use technology to develop more liveable, workable and sustainable communities. Mississauga is a Smart City," said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. "I've no doubt that this challenge will bring out the best and the brightest ideas that we can offer. We welcome the opportunity to share our innovative solutions to create an engaged and connected city."

Communities that submit proposals will post them online for all to see and an independent jury will be appointed to select finalists and winners.

"As part of the submission process, we will be preparing a Smart City Master Plan," said Shawn Slack, Director of IT and Chief Information Officer. "This will not only inform the submission for the Smart Cities Challenge but will also provide a framework for the City. The plan will create Smart City strategies and actions for a three to five year period."

The City's IT Master Plan, endorsed by Council in 2015, will reportedly help the city hit the ground running.

Some of the successes from the IT Master Plan include:

  • The City of Mississauga was the first in Canada to become a Virtual Campus in May 2017.
  • More than 100 Open Data sets are now available on the City's new and modern Open Data Portal.
  • Code and the City and Tech and the City were two major Open Data hackathon events held in partnership with the University of Toronto Mississauga, Sheridan and several private sector sponsors.
  • The City of Mississauga has expanded its free public Wi-Fi "wireless Mississauga" which is available at all City buildings, many public spaces and some parks.
  • The City has had the foresight to build a publicly owned fibre optic network known as the PSN in partnership with the Region of Peel, Caledon and Brampton resulting in the largest publicly owned and operated fibre network in Canada. With over 800 kilometres of high speed fibre connecting 291 City sites and critical City infrastructure, the City-owned fibre network is essential to connecting smart city technologies.

Smart Cities Challenge submissions are due April 24, 2018.

The Jury will select finalists by summer 2018. Each finalist will receive a $250,000 grant to develop their final proposal which must be submitted in winter 2019.

Winners will be announced spring 2019.

Photo courtesy of @gualdjouma

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