Tech Talk column with Keith Macintyre

Tech Talk: Penticton — The Smart City Champion of Canada

Keith MacIntyre writes a tech column exclusively for the Penticton Western News

What could Penticton do with a $50-million prize?

I am making a bold statement that Penticton will enter and win the Smart Cities Challenge recently announced by the federal government (https://impact.canada.ca/en/challenges/smart-cities).

The top prize is $50 million, two $10-million prizes and $5 million to the winning communities in Canada to implement their proposals. The vision of the competition is to “inspire communities across the country to define their future with the help of their residents through the use of a smart cities approach.”

To quote Minister Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities: “I am challenging leaders to be bold and think outside the box. I want you to approach the challenge through a lens of transparency, experimentation, inclusiveness, empowerment and knowledge-sharing. And above all, I want you to think about what will have the biggest impact on the people who call your communities home.”

A smart city approach is more than just technology and data. It is using an open, collaborative approach to achieve real outcomes to improve the lives of their residents through innovation, data and connected technology. I know that we have an incredible community full of leaders in Penticton that will come together and define what our most important community challenge is. Some examples of a challenge statement:

• “Live an active and healthy life”

• “Be empowered and included in society”

• “Move around my community”

• “Earn a good living”

• “Feel safe and secure”

There are dozens of ways that we can address these issues with technology, data and forward thinking. I’ve already started the dialog and the community is engaged and excited. I know I can rally the tech community and we can work with other community leaders to win this challenge.

What is the most important issue to you? What are the unsolvable problems? How do we solve them?

We are a community that is the perfect size to make real change that will help not only our community but communities around the country and the world. As a leader in the tech community I have the opportunity to meet and talk to talented tech professionals that are here, and many that are in the process of moving here. We understand what technology can do, and I want to bridge the gap between us and the community leaders that know what the challenges are in our great city.

I’ve been working with an emerging technology that could solve dozens of challenges from bike thefts to irrigation management to senior care to asset tracking and so much more. This can be an opportunity to put Penticton on the map as a leader with this emerging technology. There is an opportunity to create new companies, new jobs and show the world how truly innovative we are in Penticton.

I know that Kelowna is working on a proposal for this challenge too and I would like to see our cities collaborate together to share ideas. I would like to see Kelowna and Penticton as finalists and winners in this competition and show the rest of the country the innovations that are happening here. And in the spirit of competition, I challenge Andrew Jakubeit and Colin Basran to craft a friendly wager between our communities should one of us win and not the other.

Join me for Christmas #TechBrew at Cowork Penticton’s new location on Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. Please RSVP, space is limited. https://www.meetup.com/South-Okanagan-Technology-Professionals/events/245195090/

Keith MacIntyre writes a tech column exclusively for the Penticton Western News and is the owner of Big Bear Software Inc.

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