Jeanne's Bliss Blog

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Take a Bow Windsor

Take a bow, Windsor, we're among world's smartest
City one of seven forum finalists

By Dave Hall, Windsor Star January 21, 2011 •Story•Photos ( 1 )•Video ( 1 )
Todd Sands and Kristina Verner are photographed at the University of Windsor on Thursday, January 20, 2011. The two are part of a team that hopes to get Windsor recognized as one of the most intelligent cities in the world.Photograph by: Tyler Brownbridge, The Windsor StarWINDSOR, Ont. -- The economic impact of being named one of the most intelligent regions in the world can't be overstated, says the head of the University of Windsor's Centre for Smart Community Innovation.

After being named to a short list of 21 in October, the Windsor-Essex region reached the final stage of the 2011 process this week when it joined six other cities on a list compiled by the Intelligent Community Forum, a U.S.-based think-tank.

"Making the top seven opens the door for economic growth because it provides us with a site visit by a group from the ICF," said Todd Sands.

"This group will prepare a report outlining our advantages and strengths and why we made the list.

"This report will receive global exposure among companies which watch this process unfold.

"These advantages and strengths are more than just marketing slogans, they have already been benchmarked and reviewed by an expert panel."

The ICF recognizes intelligent communities for being leaders in adapting to the demands of the broadband and knowledge-based economies in ways that help create sustainable growth.

In a brief biographical sketch on its website, the ICF credits Windsor with "crafting a new, more robust economy" in the wake of a meltdown in the automotive industry.

The ICF also mentions the university's new engineering school, fast-track MBA-level education at the Odette School of Business, completion of the WEDnet co-operative fibre network, which connects government agencies with educational and institutional facilities across the region and the launch of the Softech Alliance Network, a collaboration of individuals and businesses involved in information and communications technology.

"This is our time to shine on the world stage," said Kristina Verner, research and development officer for the CSCI who spearheaded the application.

On June 3, the ICF will name one of the seven finalists as the 2011 intelligent community at its summit in New York.

Sands said the site visit will take place within the next two months and could last 10 days.

"These are not quick overnight snapshots," said Sands. "The committee will be placing this community under a microscope so it can outline what it is we've done to deserve this recognition."

Sands said the visit is also designed to understand how the Windsor region has transformed its economy and what kinds of investment opportunities might exist in sectors in which the region excels.

In addition to broadband access, high-speed connectivity across the region, innovation and knowledge-based businesses, the ICF added health care as a theme for this year.

In the Windsor area, that's meant using high-speed connectivity so that medical students in Windsor and London can work virtually side by side, asthma suffers and their family doctors can tap into the Essex County asthma care template to better manage their care and that health care professionals caring for residents at Leamington's Sun Parlour Home can access real-time documentation right at a patient's bedside rather than having to chase down charts.

Annually between 400 and 450 communities across the globe participate in the ICF process.

dhall@windsorstar.comor 519-255-5539

© Copyright (c) The Windsor Star

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