The Smart Cities Council awarded the Readiness Challenge Grant to Austin, Indianapolis, Miami, Orlando, and Philadelphia on Wednesday.

The cities will get a workshop to plan how to use smart technologies to further local innovation, inclusion, and investment. They also will receive products from companies including Ameresco, AT&T, CH2M, CompTIA, Dow Building and Construction, IDC, Qualcomm, Sensus, Telit, TM Forum, and Transdev.

“Breaking down the departmental silos is a key challenge in developing a smarter city. Each of the winning cities has demonstrated the ability to work across departments to solve problems,” said Jesse Berst, chairman of the Smart Cities Council. “Our coalition of world-class experts looks forward to working with each of these enterprising cities to help them make smart use of technology to become more livable, workable, sustainable, and resilient.”

The city of Austin plans to use the workshop to brainstorm and create ways to solve problems for underserved populations, such as finding affordable housing, and ensuring mobility and economic opportunity.

“This will help Austin use new technologies to meet old challenges of mobility and affordability,” said Mayor Steve Adler. “Winning the Smart Cities Council Challenge Grant puts us that much closer to creating a comprehensive and inclusive strategy to use technology in a way that benefits communities that are usually left behind.”

Indianapolis will use its grant to further its use of smart utilities and transportation. Marion County in Indiana has approved the development of the first electric bus rapid transit system in the country and is also building a comprehensive Internet of Things hub that will contribute to the city’s digital infrastructure.

“Indianapolis’ culture of innovation and rapidly expanding tech industry provide strategic advantages to our smart city planning, specifically in the areas of water, energy, and transportation,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “I am proud to see Indianapolis recognized as a national example of the potential for these technologies to improve local neighborhoods.”

The city of Miami plans to use technology to combat the effects of climate change on its coastal neighborhoods. The local government is planning a Sea-Level Rise Pilot Program that will use geographic information system data, along with 3-D modeling, waterfront sensors, and light detection and ranging to provide real-time alerts to inform decision-making for city planning.

“This work alongside the Smart Cities Council will help us foster openness and the community collaboration needed to achieve smarter solutions,” said Mike Sarasti, chief innovation officer of Miami. “It’s an invaluable partnership as we strive to meet the city’s most pressing challenges.”

Orlando is working to improve the experience of tourists by creating a smart transportation system and integrating sensors and advanced communications systems into its public safety programs.

“The City of Orlando is excited about this opportunity to work together with the Smart Cities Council and our Central Florida community to build out a unique program that will further improve the lives of our residents and visitors,” said Mayor Buddy Dyer. “Through access to international industry experts, new data and communication technologies, the challenge will continue to ensure Orlando is a more intelligent, interconnected, and efficient city.”

The city of Philadelphia will collaborate with surrounding areas to build an integrated smart cities ecosystem.

“We have been building a coalition of city, community, business, and educational institutions,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “They are all enthused and ready to help with smart city projects focused on the built environment, telecommunications, and basic public services like water.”


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