Over the last 50 years, Canada’s development has been shaped by two prevalent trends: the increasing number of Canadians moving to big cities, and the integration of connected technologies into our everyday lives.
This week, Altitude Accelerator had the opportunity to join world-class technology leaders at ITAC’s Smart Cities Technologies Summit, co-hosted by the City of Brampton. The summit brought together government, citizens, academics and industry for a collaborative discussion exploring innovative applications to best serve citizens’ needs.
Tech Shapes Cities
Mayor Patrick Brown kicked off the event with an overview of smart city innovations in Brampton. Following that, key topics such as human mobility, data privacy, civic innovation and digital transformation networks were highlighted and examined on stage. The laser focus of the summit allowed for nuances and specific demands of smart city projects to be addressed. With that in mind, here are some key takeaways that every stakeholder can learn from the Smart Cities Technologies Summit.
Better Data Security is Paramount
Smart city technologies depend on data. As cities increase their collection and use of data, governments will need to establish policy frameworks that strike the right balance to meet the needs of both privacy and security. Implementing practices such as Privacy by Design (an essential component of privacy protection developed by Dr. Ann Cavoukian) can help mitigate the chances of a data breach – which can be costly and significant. Ultimately, cooperation between all stakeholders and building customer trust through education and awareness will help achieve more data privacy and security.
Smart Cities Need to Be Citizen-Centric
Before any city modernization can happen, you need to connect with the community. In a panel titled Digital Transformation Networks, the panelists discussed the challenge of not being able to connect to communities to break down barriers associated with artificial intelligence, internet of things and 5G technologies. We know all too well how tech can truly benefit people in meaningful ways, but it can only be done if people are open and willing to embrace it.
Civic Innovation Must Have Unified Vision
As we continue to move to a more connected future, aligning numerous divisions and thousands of staff to the same vision is the key to creating a more responsive government – one that can act quickly and meaningfully on behalf of the people it serves. When discussing how to modernize city services, panelists agreed that some key areas of focus were housing, mobility, customer and employee experiences, as well as innovative strategy.
Future of Smart Communities
As one of the fastest growing regions in the province, with a growth rate 2.5 times faster than the national average, it’s exciting to envision how the City of Brampton will address environmental, social, and health concerns through smart cities initiatives. These initiatives call for fresh ideas that need direction through coaching, guidance and mentorship. Altitude Accelerator accordingly provides an entry point for entrepreneurs, small firms, researchers and investors within the Region of Peel, and is excited to foresee what the future of Brampton has in store.