The Greater Washington Board of Trade (GWBOT) announced its Smart Region Movement to identify, explore, deploy and expand Smart City concepts, technologies and partnerships across the region.
Smart Cities, loosely defined as using data and technology to improve solutions across communities, have become a worldwide priority. But, to be a truly smart region, “we must widen our focus and fully integrate economic growth, innovation, technology and livability under a regional umbrella,” said Jack McDougle, President & CEO, Greater Washington Board of Trade. “Doing so will make this region even more desirable and valuable.”
There are smart city projects already in place or underway across the region, for example the Smarter DC Initiative, Montgomery County’s Smart Community Alert Network and Virginia Smart Communities. Through partnerships and collaboration, the GWBOT aims to converge and scale capabilities like these into a broader region-wide effort to ensure Greater Washington remains both globally competitive and at the forefront of innovation.
“This is a critical time for our region and the ever-changing dynamics of the global economy compel us to be even more bold, creative and driven,” said Kim Horn, President, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc. and current Chair of the Board of Trade, “and this Smart Region Movement is a good place to start.”
While technology is important, a smart region is built through “a conversation about human beings,” said Sol Salinas, global leader of Accenture Smart Cities. “Technology is merely a means to an end. It’s really a ‘sentient’ city, which describes the outcome of a smart city. A ‘smart’ Smart City behaves holistically in a way that addresses the collective human needs of the entire community. In short, it is truly connected.”
An Advisory Team of nearly 100 different organizations to guide this effort. Founding partners included Accenture, AECOM, Kaiser Permanente, Pepco Holdings and Verizon. (For more information and a complete list of advisors, see the GWBOT’s publication Igniting a Smart Region Movement.)