Urenio Watch Watch: Digital Cities / Cyber Cities

2006 Wireless Communities Award Winners

w2i_medal_logo_2006.jpgWinners of the second annual Wireless Communities Best Practices Awards were announced by the Wireless Internet Institute (W2i). The awards pay tribute to local governments and supporting organizations implementing broadband-wireless solutions for cities, counties and regions.

Five best-practices awards for Technology Innovation, Community Momentum Building, Digital Inclusion, E-Government Applications, and Neighborhood Portals honor the exemplary efforts of local governments and supporting organizations around the world who are realizing the promise of broadband-wireless solutions for their communities.

The 2006 Wireless Communities Best Practices Award Winners are:

  • Kista Science City, Stockholm, Sweden (Technology Innovation)
  • OneCommunity, Cleveland, Ohio, USA (Community Momentum Building)
  • Basque Government, Spain (Digital Inclusion)
  • Taipei City, Taiwan (E-Government Applications)
  • National e-Mexico System, Mexico (Neighborhood Portals)

The 2006 runners-up are:

  • City of Granbury, Texas, USA
  • Rhode Island Wireless Innovation Networks (RI-WINs), USA
  • Town of Knysna, South Africa
  • Paris Local Transport Authority (RATP), France
  • PhilaVoice Portal, Philadelphia, USA

The candidates struck many common themes in a pre-award roundtable moderated by awards jury Chair Dr. Costis Toregas.

All finalists spoke of their accomplishments as being the mere beginning rather than the end of an ongoing process of connectivity toward a higher goal, and they promised to continue their involvement with broadband deployments,

Dr. Toregas said.

“It was clear that sharing experiences was high on everyone’ s list, as the knowledge to be gained outweighs the resources available to learn individually. The presenters affirmed their commitment to share their experiences, and ‘˜continue the learning,’ as one presenter mentioned.

“Finally, the celebration of excellence was seen as simply an affirmation of a true Innovation Revolution which is upon us. The spoils will go to the public-private partnership teams that understand the collaboration imperative as well as the importance that applications themselves play, beyond the accomplishment of connectivity using the ever-evolving technologies.’

About the winners

Kista Science City, Stockholm, Sweden

logo-kista.gifKista Science City has been created and developed through close cooperation between business, academia and government. Its position in the fields of telecommunication systems and wireless systems in particular is unique. Few sites in the world can display the same breadth throughout commerce and industry along the entire length of the wireless systems value chain, from research projects to production companies and operators.

This area is known as Wireless Valley, Mobile Valley or the Nordic Silicon Valley. It is probably the biggest ICT cluster in Europe. Many of the world’ s leading ICT companies, such as Ericsson, Nokia, TietoEnator, HP, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Intel, and Oracle, have come together there to benefit from each other and from the fact that Kista Science City is one of the world’ s leading high-tech clusters. Kista Science City currently encompasses 350 ICT companies and 65,000 employees, and there are almost 4,000 university-level students here. The goal is that it in ten years almost 120,000 people will work here and there will be no less than 12,000 university students.

Kista Science City’ s focus today is on the development of mobile services, wireless systems and broadband systems. Kista also has a head start in these fields thanks to today’ s strong R&D base at both companies and research institutions. There is also a strong tradition of innovation here which includes the development of today’ s mobile telephone systems. Tomorrow’ s communication systems are being developed today in Kista at established companies like Ericsson and Intel, but also at new arrivals like Proximion, CernoluX and Silex.

OneCommunity, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

logo_onecommunity.jpgOneCommunity’s information technology platform serves Cleveland and Northeast Ohio by connecting the public and nonprofit institutions to a next-generation fiber optic network, enabling those institutions to offer enhanced, innovative solutions and transforming the region’s image and economic future by attracting outside investment and creating business and job opportunities.

OneCommunity serves educational, governmental, research, arts and cultural, health care and civic organizations across ten counties in Northeast Ohio.

Basque Government, Spain

basque.jpgThanks to the Basque Government’s policy that wanted to expose the Basque Society to the digital era, almost all its over 2.1 million residents will have access to basic broadband connectivity by the end of this year. By then, the second and the final phase of the two-year long project, called Konekta Zaitez@Banda Zabala (or KZ@Banda Zabala), will have extended broadband infrastructure throughout the Basque region covering 7254 square kilometres.

When completed, KZ@Banda Zabala will be the first broadband project in rural Europe to offer broadband connectivity to match services now generally available only in larger cities. “There are several similar projects brewing throughout Europe, but most of them are pilot deployments, due to the absence of a network for providing commercial availability of the same way as they do in the cities,” says Naiara Goia, from ITELAZPI, S.A., the government-owned telecom company that has been entrusted with responsibility implementing the project.

Indeed KZ@@Banda Zabala, born in 2004, is easily one of Europe’s most interesting digital inclusion projects. It is a part of the Basque Country in the Information Society Plan, (PESI in its Spanish acronym), an initiative started in 1999 with the objective of fostering a cultural change in the Basque Society through the use of ICT technologies. The goal of the plan is to fundamentally improve the quality of life and take advantage of the benefits that the information society brings for the economic development. As part of this, KZ@Banda Zabala is to guarantee that all rural areas of the country get access to broadband services, especially those that might be excluded due to the lack of commercial interest.

Taipei City, Taiwan

logo-taipei.jpgSince 1999, the Mayor of Taipei City, Dr. Ying-jeou Ma, has committed to turning Taipei into a “CyberCity’ to ensure its continued competitiveness.

With the close collaboration of the private sector, Taipei has already constructed two major science and technology parks located in Neihu and Nangang and will complete a third one in the Beitou-Shilin area in the near future. These three parks form the “Taipei Technology Corridor.’ The annual revenue from the 2,203 companies located in the Neihu and Nangang parks, which employ over 85,400 knowledge workers, reached US$52.8 billion in 2005.

The Taipei City Government is also making as many public services and processes available through the Internet as possible. This endeavor includes a one-stop Internet portal for city services, a digital certificate ID card, an SME information and service system, an Intelligent Transportation System, and even a direct e-mail box to the mayor.

A total of 34 projects were successfully implemented in Phase I of the CyberCity Program and 20 projects are being implemented in Phase II. Core strategies of Phase II include establishing a wireless broadband infrastructure, improving public services, developing the Chinese digital content industry, building an e-living environment, universalizing IT education, and bridging the digital divide, thus ensuring the development of a truly “Intelligent CyberCity.’

National e-Mexico System, Mexico

logo_e_mexico.gifThe National e-Mexico System is an integrating project which brings together the interests of several levels of government, of various public entities and divisions, of the telecommunications network operators, of the chambers and associations linked to information and communications technology (ITC), as well as other organizations, with the purpose of expanding the coverage of basic services in education, health, economy, government, science, technology and industry, as well as other services for the community.

The National e-Mexico System has three main objectives:

  • To promote connectivity and the production of digital content (data, sounds and images) by internet, at reasonable prices, among those individuals and families of lesser incomes, who live in rural and city communities of more than 400 inhabitants, within the country, and to foster their incorporation into the economic and social development of Mexico, thus reducing the digital divide that, unfortunately, prevails today in Mexico.
  • To train the families of such communities in the use of these new information and knowledge-sharing technologies, emphasizing self-sufficiency in consulting and creating content by means of the internet to support their particular needs for education, culture, health and economic development.
  • To make available to every citizen general information regarding services provided by federal, state and city governments, in order to allow transparency and equity to exist in these services, and to reduce the time taken up in paperwork, as well as to make these processes more efficient.