Intelligent Community Forum Top7 Celebration Focuses on Collaboration of Communities

April 12, 2018

General, Press Release

The word “collaboration” echoed through the Discovery Centre in Hamilton recently as city officials and members of the private and education sectors celebrated the City’s inclusion as a member of the 2018 Top7 Intelligent Community Forum.

Hamilton was named to the ICF Top7 in February and is in the running to win the global award as Intelligent Community of the Year for 2018 at the ICF Global Summit in London, England on June 7th.

Rob McCann, the President of the Hamilton Technology Centre and founder of Clearcable was not surprised.

“In 2016 the Department of Planning and Economic Development said we are going to make it to the Top 7 by 2020,” said McCann, who is also chair of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce’s Digital Infrastructure Working Group.  “Here we are ahead of schedule.  Who knew all the great things happening with our community partners in the public sector, the private sector, and education sector in our community to make things better?”

“I can tell you that’s not unusual for success to be sometimes overlooked, every one of the intelligent communities that I have had the opportunity to meet has had something going on that they just didn’t know about.  Until they all got together as a community and shared that information and understood what they were doing.  This is about community building. This is a community of communities and that’s what’s happening here in this city. That’s worth celebrating!”

ICF judge Robert Bell agreed with McCann.  The co-founder of the ICF was in Hamilton for 2½ days last week to grade Hamilton against the six key indicators: broadband deployment and use, knowledge workforce development, innovation, digital inclusion, sustainability, and advocacy.  The Top7 designation, selected from more than three hundred worldwide submissions, rewards the best models of economic, social and cultural development in the digital age.

Bell, who heads the ICF research, analysis and content, visited the Hamilton Central Library, McMaster Innovation Park, Hamilton Technology Centre, and College in Motion – Mohawk College’s mobile classroom.

“The connection of those projects and the collaboration makes the difference,” said Bell. “It’s quite remarkable, I see a lot of connectedness.”

Winnipeg joins Hamilton as the only other Canadian city to qualify for the Top7.  The other cities selected include: ​Chiayi City, Taiwan; Tainan City, Taiwan; Taoyuan, Taiwan; Espoo, Finland; and Ipswich, Queensland, Australia.  The 2017 award winner was Melbourne, Australia.

“Lots of people have been coming up to me and saying, ‘what do you think Rob?’” said McCann. “What are the odds? Are we going to win this?  And I say, you know truthfully we have already won. One because we have been able to identify as a community.  And realize all the interesting things that we have going on.”

The second question McCann gets asked is why is the Top7 designation is so important to the City of Hamilton?

“I will tell you when Clearcable looked for international expansion, the first placed we looked at were cities and communities that had already been designated as intelligent community by the ICF,” said McCann, who launched a Clearcable office in Brainport, Eindhoven in The Netherlands in September of 2017.  “The reason investors and companies do that is because they know that those cities and regions have made the effort to meet the six intelligent indicators.  We know they have made the investment and that has been independently verified by the independent ICF global body.

“And by getting to Top7, the City of Hamilton joins a group of like-minded citizens all around the world, who are doing exactly the same thing; solving their social problems. As much as we talk about an intelligent community, we are not talking about technology, we’re talking about using technology to drive better outcomes for citizens.  That is truly what has happened in Hamilton.”

McCann founded Clearcable in 2004 in Hamilton on the principles of integrity, reliability and innovation.  The company is a specialized telecommunication technical consulting firm focused on the needs of broadband service providers and municipalities. Clearcable has invested heavily in helping clients adopt new technology quickly through research and development, building technical acumen, and employing a robust team. McCann has been a board member of the ICF Canada since 2015 and recently launched an initiative to revitalize the Hamilton Technology Centre.