Quebec City has successfully completed the second round of the prestigious international contest organized by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) and has been named one of the Top 7 Intelligent Communities. The announcement was made in Honolulu, Hawaii by Louis Zacharilla, Director of Development for ICF. Last October, Quebec City was ranked among the Smart 21 Communities for the second year in a row. Nearly 400 applications from cities and regions around the world were evaluated.
The other Top 7 Intelligent Communities are Austin, Texas; Oulu, Finland; Riverside, California; Taichung City, Taiwan; Saint John, New Brunswick; and Stratford, Ontario.
"I am very proud that we have received this honour," said Régis Labeaume, Mayor of Quebec City. "The fact that Quebec City has been recognized in the Top 7 is an extraordinary achievement. This decision confirms that Quebec City has a priceless asset: its innovative creative community! In addition, over the next few years, our efforts will be increasingly focused on our highly promising creative capacity, as announced when our economic development strategy was presented back in December."
Each year, the ICF selects a theme to guide the choice of cities/regions comprising the Smart 21 Communities and the Top 7 Communities prior to awarding the title of Intelligent Community of the Year. For the 2012 contest, the ICF selected the theme of "Intelligent Communities: Platforms for Innovation" in order to discover the cities and regions that have successfully created a unique and profitable innovation environment for their communities.
The candidate cities and regions must demonstrate the positive impacts of innovation on various aspects of the information technology and communications (ITC) sector, including infrastructure, investment, education level, business growth and improved quality of life for local residents.
"The Quebec City metropolitan region is booming and has become a genuine rising star in Canada and around the world. Research, innovation, audaciousness and a spirit of collaboration are now the hallmarks of our regional economy. Quebec City's presence among the global elite of intelligent cities is a fine illustration of its newfound standing," said Carl Viel, President and CEO of Quebec international.
Next step: Intelligent Community of the Year
The ICF's organizing committee has hired an independent research firm to conduct an in-depth analysis of the seven finalists from January to June 2012, based on a dozen criteria.
At the same time, the ICF's founders will be visiting the Top 7 communities. Reports will then be written and submitted to an international panel, which will determine its own preliminary ranking. This preliminary ranking, combined with the results obtained by the independent research firm, will be used to determine the final ranking. The Intelligent Community of the Year will be announced in March or April 2012. The winning city/region will be officially presented with its award at the ICF's annual Building the Broadband Economy Summit, which is slated for June in New York City.
A wealth of high-tech projects
In recent years, the City of Quebec and various regional stakeholders have developed a variety of state-of-the-art technological solutions. For example, the City of Quebec recently took part in its very first "Hackathon", during which it made public its IT data for one day for use by creators and programmers, who were invited to create prototype applications or websites. In addition, Quebec City has become one of the most Wi-Fi-friendly places in the country, with free Internet access points now covering 60% of the metropolitan area. This network, administered by Zap Quebec, brings benefits to thousands of people every day.
A one-of-a-kind telehealth consortium project aimed at improving the quality of homecare monitoring through the integration of new high-tech solutions in healthcare professionals' workplaces is another prime example of initiatives in this area. So too is the Quebec City Transportation Network (RTC), which recently introduced a free mobile application (RTC Mobile) that enables users to view transportation routes, consult schedules, conduct searches using geolocation and save their favourite stops and routes.
Thanks to these initiatives and many other current and future projects, Quebec City has joined the ranks of the Top 7 Intelligent Communities.
About Quebec International
Quebec International contributes to regional economic development and promotes Quebec City's international standing. As the region's pre-eminent regional economic development agency, Quebec International fosters business growth, supports key economic clusters and attracts talent and investment. For further information, please visit www.quebecinternational.ca.
About Quebec City
Quebec City is the innovative and highly creative capital of the province of Quebec. Its robust economy is based on knowledge, high technology and international-calibre research. Drawing on an extensive pool of specialized and well-educated workers, Quebec City is investing in a number of transformative projects designed to make it one of the most business-friendly places in the world. www.ville.quebec.qc.ca.