Tech Savvy City: Montreal, Canada?

Montreal is the largest city in eastern Canada, located north of New York, in Quebec. This city is located at the junction of two rivers making it a hub for shipping and tourism. Major companies including L’Oréal Canada, Shriners Hospitals for Children, and Cirque du Soleil call this city home because of its thriving economy. The city of Montreal has a rich history and an even brighter future because the emphasis they’re putting on innovative and sustainable technology is parallel to the advancements in technology.

Montreal’s Smart and Digital City Action Plan aims to provide public Wi-Fi, develop an ultra-high-speed multi-service network, attract innovation in their smart city economic cluster, as well as ensuring many other creative commitments. All of these initiatives are designed to create better technology and to improve the city’s services and systems. One major improvement Montreal utilized was making a more collaborative environment for businesses, institutions, and citizens to work in. This is achieved through programs such as a “citizen laboratory” which encourages citizen involvement and studies the effects of local politics on their cyberspace.

Montreal is working alongside private companies to employ the best principals for its infrastructure. All the private companies Montreal is supporting are working to better the city and work on advancement in public arts, urban farming, and technology. Even tech giants such as Microsoft and Google are investing in this city to further their research of artificial intelligence, or AI. One example of a company that Montreal is supporting is a company named Waze. Waze is a Montreal based startup using AI to benefit the city’s basic infrastructure. This company aims to install 2,200 traffic signals which will collect real-time data on street and traffic conditions. This technology aims to help route emergency vehicles around traffic and even spot potholes needing repair, city trees needing maintenance or trimming, and repairs needed in bridges.

These factors contributed to the recognition of Montreal for the 2017 Intelligent Community of the Year from the Intelligent Community Forum. This community is comprised of over 145 cities, towns, and regions internationally and helps cities become more advanced and sustainable. This award measures cities based on broadband, knowledge workforce, innovation, digital equality, sustainability, and advocacy.  There are a few steps a city needs to take to even begin to be nominated for this award. Cities must be nominated and make the Smart21 Communities of the Year in order to be considered. Then, the international committee reviews further questionnaires and interviews to narrow down the Top 7. After the committee reaches the Top 7, further interviews are administered and finally the winner is chosen.

By investing in the future of technology, Montreal is seeing more success every day. Their Smart and Digital City Action plan recognizes the importance of bettering the lives of the residents in the community. This Action plan allocates specific goals for the start-up companies to strive for to ensure they are constantly creating new ways for the community to operate and thrive. This growth has been recognized internationally and will lead Montreal to more investments from the world’s biggest tech companies. We can’t wait to see what’s next for Montreal and which communities adopt this level of commitment.


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