Innovate Cities – a not-for-profit network of innovators working towards more inclusive, livable, and sustainable cities – has recently launched in Canada. Innovate Cities focuses on five key issues: building resilience, integrating capabilities, accelerating commercialization, and protecting data privacy.
Innovate Cities’ infrastructure has four core offerings:
- CityShield – protects personal privacy by enabling data collectors – such as property owners, app developers, etc. – to share strongly de-identified data within the network. Innovate Cities has established the role of an independent Chief Privacy Officer who will work to ensure compliance with privacy standards and act as an avenue for complaints from innovators, businesses, and the public;
- CityStack – smart city technologies that can be implemented to make any building ‘smart,’ including: post-pandemic return to work, monitoring and appropriate cleaning of spaces in office buildings, and regulating energy usage for a cleaner and better environment;
- CitySphere – an innovator community that will promote collaboration as an essential piece of innovation. It hopes to aid in forming partnerships to help to accelerate the commercialization of technologies; and,
- CityScape – an innovation marketplace in partnership with the Toronto Region Board of Trade, which will allow innovators to connect with potential clients from the real estate sector who can implement smart city technologies to improve the urban experience of people who use their properties.
“With more than 80% of the Canadian population calling cities home, our urban communities are under significant strain. We need to adapt to create more resilient, healthier and happier places to live,” said Hugh O’Reilly, Executive Director and Board Member of Innovate Cities. “Access to data is the key to unlocking this potential, but it cannot be done without a governance model and corresponding infrastructure that protects individual privacy and earns trust. With a new model, smart city technology can be regulated much like any other service to ensure that it is working for citizens rather than against them.”