Archive for the ‘Presentations’ Category

Talking about Smart Cities: Challenges and Opportunities at the RSI | Rethink Sustainability Initiatives 2018 Leadership Summit – March 28, 2018 in Toronto

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Smart and Intelligent Cities were initiated seriously in the mid 1990’s in Singapore, Silicon Valley and Toronto. Today the global business of digitally driven urban transformation is approaching $1 trillion per year with estimates exceeding $3 trillion by 2023. Some colleagues and I created Smart Toronto ’94.

rsi-rethink-logoI’m excited to be reflecting on what has developed and evolved so far in the Smart City realm, and what challenges and opportunities lie ahead, as I join the distinguished group of thinkers and leaders in sustainability, business and science speaking at the RSI | Rethink Sustainability Initiatives 2018 Leadership Summit coming to Toronto on March 28, 2018. AI Sustainable Futures Summit and Innovation Zone is a one-day action-focused exchange where forward-thinking leaders, entrepreneurs and experts from business, finance, science, cities and civil society come together to discover opportunities for advancing our future sustainability — with special focus on artificial intelligence (AI), digital technologies and other transformative innovations.

In my talk, I will reflect on how there are now at least twenty definitions of “Smart Cities” created by reasonably credible associations, publications, academics and even countries, like India with their “100 Smart Cities” initiative. In addition, we have Sustainable, Resilient, Investable, Interconnected, Convenient, Future and Best Cities. No wonder people are confused!

In the “early” years, most Smart City activities and strategies had a definite technical orientation and today there is an increasing focus of the impact on our citizens and their “happiness” (Dubai’s focus), convenience and quality of life. We need to rethink the name and description of this overarching concept to include qualities associated with Smart, Intelligent, Resilient, Sustainable, Interconnected Investable, Convenient and Comfortable. It really is “My Future City” and it will include features important to specific cities while building on their present advantages and relevant future opportunities.

In addition to gaining insights from leading edge participants in new trends and innovations, AI Sustainable Futures Summit and Innovation Zone will be the place to forge new partnerships with fellow trailblazers for getting to the next level of future readiness. I hope to see you there!

Register here for RSI | Rethink Sustainability Initiatives 2018 Leadership Summit – March 28, 2018 in Toronto.


World Future Cities Summit (WFCS) guest speaker William Mougayar scrutinizes blockchain and government services

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

We were delighted to welcome industry expert, researcher, writer and theorist William Mougayar to last June’s World Future Cities Summit (WFCS) in Toronto. He has expanded his thought provoking WFCS talk into the following article for The Huffington Post:

huffington-postThe Blockchain is Perfect for Government Services, but Where is Canada?

William Mougayar
Toronto-based investor, blogger. Author of The Business Blockchain. Advisor to some of the world’s leading blockchain organizations.

Government services are one of the most obvious and immediate application areas for the blockchain. Several governments around the world are already working on a variety of initiatives, but in Canada, we have yet to see visible signs of activity.

Let me illustrate via some examples, what cities, municipalities and governments around the world are currently doing with the blockchain in the first half of 2016.

In Delaware, the state where a majority of new companies in North America will likely incorporate, Governor Jack Markell announced two recent blockchain initiatives, under the banner “Delaware is open for blockchain business”. The first was about moving state archival records to an open distributed ledger. The second allows any private company that incorporates in that state to keep track of all the equity issued and the different shareholder rights on the blockchain.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Two Smart City Summits with a wealth of wisdom and opportunities to offer

Friday, May 20th, 2016

It’s “Déjà Vu All Over Again”

These immortal words of the late great Yogi Berra of the New York Yankees seem appropriate today with the production of two Toronto based Smart City Summits scheduled two weeks apart on May 26th and June 9-10th, 2016. It was twenty two years ago in 1994 when we first pulled together a large group to plan Toronto’s Smart City transformation. I teamed up with several other esteemed colleagues to co-found the original Smart Toronto organization and Summit. Roots from Smart Toronto’94 were replanted in 2004 to start the Waterfront Toronto Intelligent Community program and they blossomed to the point where in 2014 Toronto with Waterfront Toronto was named global Intelligent Community of the Year. Now, some exciting and different but related future opportunities will be discussed, debated and prioritized but with different goals during the two Toronto Summits.

This post is written from the perspective of my dual role in the leadership of both Summits: Co-Chair of the Smart Cities Working Group of the Smart Cities Summit: Towards a Connected Toronto Region, (May 26th), produced by the Toronto Region Board of Trade (TRBOT), and Chair of the i-CANADA Alliance, producer of the World Future Cities Summit (June 9-10). Both Summits will be very interesting events and there is a connection between the two events.

The TRBOT Summit will feature approximately 200 participants, mainly from the Toronto Region, who will study, debate and recommend a series of high level goals and priorities for moving the City of Toronto to the “next level” in urban transformation. This next level will include smart, intelligent, sustainable, resilient, creative, cultural and inclusive dimensions within a broad framework of economic, environmental and social objectives. The agenda is described at:

The World Future Cities Summit (WFCS) has a national and international focus in three areas:

  1. Community transformation; goals, new opportunities and best practices
  2. International sales development with senior officials in attendance from India’s 100 Smart Cities program, the world’s largest market for smart city products and services, and
  3. Organization of the Rising Communities Caucus of i-CANADA. This Caucus will provide an ongoing focus on the aspirations, opportunities and lessons learned in the digital transformation of Canada’s smaller cities and towns.

WFCS is further described in detail at


Toronto Region Board of Trade (TRBOT) Smart Cities Summit

This will feature an interesting blend of national and international panelists and speakers, including the following sample:

  • Mark Kleinman, Director of Economic and Business Policy for the Mayor of London, UK
  • Volker Buscher, Arup, Director of Digital Business
  • Harout Chitilian, City of Montreal, Vice Chair of the Montreal Executive Committee
  • Chris Dwelley, City of Boston, Citywide Performance Manager
  • Stuart Cowen, Chief Scientist, US Smart Cities Council
  • Dr. Sara Diamond, President and CEO, OCAD University
  • Dr. Patricia McCarney, President and CEO, World Council on City Data
  • Stephen Buckley, General Manager, Transportation Services, City of Toronto
  • Rob Meikle, CIO, City of Toronto
  • Kristina Verner, Director, Intelligent Communities, Waterfront Toronto

These speakers will provide background as input for nine breakout groups organized within three themes. Each of the nine groups will produce a number of recommended priorities for Toronto’s future planning according to the focus of their group. The three themes and the focus of each group is as follows:

  • Environment:
    • Infrastructure Energy, Water and Transportation
    • Resiliency
    • Urban Planning and Design
  • Social:
    • Health and Well Being
    • Safety and Security
    • Culture and Entertainment
  • Economy:
    • Employment and Talent
    • Research and Innovation
    • Investments

At the end of the day, this TRBOT Summit will likely have identified a few priorities for the City of Toronto as it moves forward with its ongoing planning and urban transformation over the next few years. This same planning and related framework will inform future TRBOT initiatives as TRBOT fulfills its regional role working with other communities in the Toronto Region. What is impressive about this initiative is the world’s leading Smart Cities have all included broad community collaboration in their roadmap to winning global awards as leaders. This Summit provides a great example and effective framework for appropriate collaboration.

Learn more here.


World Future Cities Summit (WFCS)

Details of the agenda are at and some examples of speakers include:

  • Pratap Padode, Founder and Director, Smart Cities Council, India
  • Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, President and CEO, MaRS Discovery District
  • Seven Adler, IBM Global Leader, Information Strategy, New York
  • Eric Deschenes, Vice President, North American Energy Division, Schneider Electric
  • Professor Eric Miller, Director, International Transportation Institute, University of Toronto
  • Janet De Silva, President and CEO Toronto Region Board of Trade
  • Dan Mathieson, Mayor, Stratford, Ontario
  • David Sandel, Founder, Gigabit City Summit, Kansas City
  • Fawn Annan, President and Group Publisher, IT World Canada
  • Rick Bonnett, Mayor of Halton Hills
  • Mark Romoff, President and CEO, Canadian Council of Public Private Partnerships
  • Dr. Michael Shepherd, Professor, Faculty of Computer Science at Dalhousie University and previously Dean of Computer Science for 7 years
  • Dr. Sara Diamond, President and CEO, OCAD University
  • Dr. Patricia McCarney, President and CEO, World Council on City Data
  • Marianne Treschow, Royal Swedish Academy for Engineering Sciences

Janet De Silva, President and CEO, Toronto Region Board of Trade will provide an important link between the two Summits, as will I informally. She will present to a panel at WFCS the high level summary of priority recommendations from the TRBOT Summit and there will be an opportunity for dialog and feedback at WFCS.

Included in WFCS is an evening of musical entertainment on June 9th produced by Luminato at “the Hearn” in Toronto’s Portlands. The idea is to convey the importance of entertainment in our future cities and the Hearn as a living example of potential revitalization of a very large heritage structure.

Hope to see you at one or both of these fine events!

APEC 2012 CEO Summit: World Leaders Discuss “Living Cities”

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

APEC 2012 CEO Summit

No one disputes the reality of rapidly increasing urbanization. More than 50% of the world’s population now lives in cities and that number will grow to 70% by 2050. With this intense pace of urbanization, it isn’t surprising that 70% of the world’s carbon emissions is already generated in cities. Along with the pressing problems generated by rapid city building, however, a host of new technologies have been brought to the table to provide unprecedented innovations and improvements to the quality of our everyday life. Take, for instance, the performance of computer semiconductor technology that has been doubling every 18 months and will continue to improve at the same rate in the foreseeable future. These technology improvements have brought us smart phones and iTablets with more power than million dollar mainframe computers in the 1960s.

The terms “Smart City,” “Intelligent Community” and “Ubiquitous City” are just a few of the many phrases created by consultants, academics and technology providers to describe communities that are effectively blending new technologies with new processes to manage their urban growth and environmental challenges and establish new levels of prosperity and quality of life for their citizens.

The phrase “Living Cities” has been coined by the National Business Center of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and Ernst & Young to embrace all of the other terms and represent the next phase of thinking about future opportunities in city evolution. This topic will also be discussed at the Asia Pacific Economic Council’s 2012 CEO Summit in Vladivostok, Russia, from September 7th to 8th.

I have the honor of chairing an impressive panel of leaders who will discuss the topic of Living Cities under the title of Making Cities Fit and Competitive for Business, their People and the Planet. The panel is comprised of Sergey Sobyanin, Mayor of Moscow; Oleg Govorun, Minister of Regional Development of The Russian Federation; José Miguel Castro, CEO of the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima, Peru and Leung Chun-ying, Chief Executive, Hong Kong. They will discuss their governments’ priority initiatives as they prepare to meet new demands and opportunities in the coming decade and beyond. I look forward to engaging in a lively, informative discussion about the meaning of Living Cities today with these cutting edge leaders and will write about our panel in a follow-up article in this newspaper.

To set the stage for our panel discussion, I am particularly interested in the fact that the panelists represent such a diversity of experiences, each with geographically specific challenges and opportunities. At the same time, these challenges and their solutions may not be completely unique to each city; in different ways, new computer and communications technologies can be used to benefit all Living Cities by creating cities that feature a new calibre of performance in city management and the delivery of city services, as well as new economic, social and environmental opportunities for their citizens, companies and institutions.

The “Smart City/Intelligent Community Movement” has a twenty-five year history with many successes. In the early 90s a number of technology companies created Smart Valley in Silicon Valley to increase their collaboration with the broader community and provide economic and social benefits for their citizens. “Intelligent Island” was an early 90s Singapore initiative that has been superseded by four subsequent multiyear plans, the latest being IN2015, one of the world’s most impressive Intelligent Community strategies covering all aspects of life in Singapore. By 2015, Singapore will have the world’s most advanced city wide communications infrastructure providing the foundation for implementing IN2015. The entire city will become the world’s leading living laboratory for a city of the future in terms of leveraging technology and new processes for a host of economic and social benefits.

These are just a couple of examples of cities at the leading edge of the Living Cities movement. Today, 400 communities apply each year to compete in the New York based Intelligent Community Forum’s annual competition for Intelligent Community of the Year. Previous winners include Stockholm, Singapore, Taiwan, Waterloo and Calgary in Canada and Eindhoven.

Why all the interest in Smart Cities and Intelligent Communities? It is because over the past 25 years, the cities winning the awards have achieved faster rates of growth in their economy, employment, innovation indices and social prosperity than their neighbors or competitors who have not embraced these new opportunities.

The high speed broadband revolution is an important new contributor to success. The new communications infrastructures can have the same impact as the railways and interstate highways when they were introduced in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. You lost your status and growth if they bypassed your city and you had new opportunities when your city embraced them. Similarly, today, opportunities and growth hinge on a city’s receptiveness toward innovation. For example, Chattanooga, Tennessee was a TOP 7 finalist in the 2011 ICF competition for Intelligent Community of the Year; it was the first city in the US to install a complete fiber communications service offering citizens and businesses a service of one gigabit or one billion bits per second at low cost to all. Within two years, the city had attracted $4 billion of new investment from three large multinational companies including Volkswagen. Chattanooga’s communications infrastructure played a large part in the city’s turnaround.

Managing the continual growth of our cities and revitalizing them with new strategies, processes and technologies is no doubt a challenge. But the strategies and rewards of capitalizing on Smart Cities and Intelligent Communities have been proven over the past twenty-five years. What will the next twenty-five years hold? I look forward to hearing the thoughts of four of the world’s leaders who are wrestling daily to take advantage of the new Living Cities opportunities and reporting on their comments and observations following the APEC 2012 CEO Summit.

This address was also used as the basis of an article published in Russian here.

Digital Nova Scotia boosts the Intelligent Community movement, emphasizing shaping policy and sharing stories

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Digital Nova Scotia

On March 22nd, 2012, I’ll be in Halifax to attend and speak at the Digital Nova Scotia Summit and Annual Dinner. Guest speaker for the occasion is Premier Darrell Dexter. I’m looking forward to speaking to the assembled group business decision makers on the rewards enjoyed by communities that have already achieved “i”-status on the global scene, focusing in particular on the i-Canada initiative.

Learn more about the Digital Nova Scotia Summit here.

On the road touting i-COA, the Intelligent Community Open Architecture concept

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

The past six weeks have been a whirlwind, focused on u-, e-, m-, and i-communities and their economic and social revitalization around the world. Our Intelligent Community and urban revitalization activities at Waterfront Toronto ( have kept me busier than usual as we worked to finalize the contract for the advanced ultra broadband infrastructure. But everyone also plans their pre-summer wrap up meetings in May and June and that introduced plenty of travel into my schedule.

First was the New York based Intelligent Community Forum (ICF)’s annual conference with its announcement of the Intelligent Community of the Year – Stockholm – and other awards, which you can see at I was honored to participate again this year as a member of the international jury that reviewed the information for the Final Seven and then ranked their submissions to determine the winner.

Next up was a trip to Seoul, South Korea to participate in Cisco’s Connected Urban Development (CUD) meeting and to visit the Inchon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ), a very large and impressive initiative. During my visit we agreed to work on developing a collaborative relationship between Waterfront Toronto and IFEZ. The CUD is Cisco’s investment in the Clinton Global Initiative to study how ICT can help to reduce the carbon footprint of cities. It too is an impressive initiative involving projects in seven cities: San Francisco, Seoul, Amsterdam, Madrid, Lisbon, Hamburg and Birmingham.

At the end of June, I was in Ottawa assisting Professor Tony Bailetti of Carleton University in his “Lead to Win” initiative to help small start-up companies refine their business plans as part of a larger job creation initiative in Ottawa. Professor Bailetti has developed some well respected concepts for Open Innovation and Waterfront Toronto is looking forward to adopting many of the concepts and to introducing Lead to Win in Toronto.

The theme of this year’s ICF conference was “Building the Broadband Economy” and I was pleased to speak and unveil i-COA®, the Five Layer Intelligent Community Open Architecture® model. The purpose of this architecture is to provide a framework for community leaders who wish to create the world’s leading Intelligent Communities. Anyone can use the model and we hope it will be treated like an open source product with others adding to it to share with the world. It is registered by Hutchison Management International to maintain editorial integrity as it evolves but is available at no cost for anyone to use. I encourage everyone’s feedback – check the Contact Us page to discuss it with me.

Jane Jacobs would have loved i-COA, as she argued in her ground breaking 1961 book The Death and Life of the Great American Cities that cities are living organisms and architects from Ebenezer Howard with his 19th century Garden Cities to Le Corbusier have all made the mistake of only addressing part of the equation for a great city. They have tended to focus on the architecture and other physical attributes like street layouts, but Jacobs argued that they missed the elements that create the heart and soul of the really great and livable neighborhoods and cities. This is one of the challenges faced by Dubai – lots of architecture but missing the soul. We developed i-COA to help explain the difference between an iconic architectural initiative and a true community building initiative after my visit to Dubai last November.

Figure 1 below shows the five layers of i-COA®. Layer 3, the Collaboration Ecosystem, is what I call the Jacob’s Layer … updated with some of Richard Florida’s Creative Class. Jacobs and Florida both argue for the importance of the soul of the great community.

i-COA - the Intelligent Community Open Architecture

Figure 2 adds the Accelerators. They have a big impact on the rate and nature of economic and social development of the community. Coincidentally, the communities that have won the Intelligent Community of the Year over the past 15 years have all implemented most of the elements of i-COA. More will be said of the characteristics and details of the various layers in i-COA in the coming weeks.

i-COA - the Intelligent Community Open Architecture

* ”i-COA” and “The Intelligent Community Open Architecture” are registered trademarks of Hutchison Management International.

Pondering visionary Jane Jacobs and Intelligent Communities

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

Jane Jacobs had it right when she wrote her ground breaking 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. She lamented the many failed attempts at city planning by a host of planners from Ebenezer Howard and his English Garden Cities in the late 19th century through Le Corbusier’s Radiant Cities in the 1920’s.  Concepts from both of these planners and their many disciples continued through much of the 20th century.

Jacobs’ primary concern was that cities are really living organisms and cannot be modeled or planned in just one or two dimensions, particularly from just an architectural or physical layout perspective.  I was struck by the correctness of her ideas when I compared many world cities to Dubai while visiting there to give a speech last November. My Dubai observations and feedback from friends and relatives who live there is that iconic architecture is interesting but it alone does not create a livable, “comfortable” city with practical neighborhoods. Much more is required.

The issue is how to plan for the complete community, particularly with our new opportunities for “e-everything” including new forms of virtual collaboration and benefits from e-health and other social applications made possible by new ultra broadband infrastructures.

Later this week I am speaking in New York at the annual conference of the Intelligent Community Forum, where the Intelligent Community of the Year will also be announced from a list of the Final 7 that was selected in March.  Previous winners include Gangnam, South Korea, Taipei, Glasgow, Singapore and Waterloo, home of the Blackberry® in Canada.  At the ICF conference I will present  “i-COA®”, the Intelligent Community Open Architecture five layer model that I hope will provide a framework for all to use and develop as they move forward with their city planning.  Like the OSI Seven Layer Model for Telecommunications i-COA should evolve into a useful planning framework that would be approved by Jane Jacobs and others concerned with the need for an integrated approach to creating the 21st century intelligent cities of the future. I will describe i-COA in more detail in my next blog update.