- Smart Cities Council announced today the five winners of its 2018 Readiness Challenge grants: Birmingham, AL; Cary, NC; Louisville/Jefferson County, KY; Las Vegas and the Commonwealth of Virginia. The winners were selected from a pool of nine finalists.
- The winners will receive a full year of "expert, vendor-neutral mentoring" and on-site workshops to help the cities and counties implement smart city programs, as well as products and services "worth hundreds of thousands" from Smart Cities Council's leading tech partners.
- In January, the Council also expanded its standard program to award Puerto Rico a humanitarian grant that will assist the island in its efforts to rebuild following Hurricane Maria.
Smart Cities Council Chairman Jesse Berst explained in a statement that all five winners had three things in common: "a focus on uncovering synergies and cost-efficiencies between departments," a "coordinated collaboration between internal departments, external stakeholders and nearby regions" and "a determination to include underserved and vulnerable populations." While many cities encompass these three factors, the grant winners also proved that efforts for smart city adoption were underway — and could be enhanced through help from the Council.
The grant offering from Smart Cities Council will assist each winner in a number of various smart city efforts. Birmingham will use the grant to accelerate its tech and data initiatives; Cary will use it to advance its "One Cary" program; Las Vegas will leverage assistance to make its infrastructure smarter, pushing toward a goal to become fully connected by 2025; Louisville/Jefferson County will seek assistance in crafting a "collaborative approach" to use smart technologies; and Virginia will use the grant to expand broadband throughout the state and develop a cybersecurity and privacy plan.
As Smart Cities Dive reported in January, the grant awarded to Puerto Rico is also crucial in restoring its cities' conditions and integrating high-tech systems across the island. "This grant is an invaluable opportunity for Puerto Rico to develop a roadmap for implementing smart technologies and solutions as we rebuild," said Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló in a statement. The Smart Cities Council will host a workshop this month to begin helping Puerto Rico develop its smart city roadmap.