Each year, the Smart Cities Council donates coaching, workshops, products, services and more free benefits to five communities in North America. These donations will help Move your smart city efforts into the fast lane by applying for a Readiness Challenge Grant. Each of the five winning cities receives a year’s worth of free mentoring, valuable products and services, a custom-designed, on-site Readiness Workshop, membership in the Smart Cities Leadership Circle and worldwide publicity.

On December 2017, the team composed by the City of Birmingham, UAB SSCRC and Alabama Power worked together on a proposal for the Readiness Challenge Grant. In March 8th, 2018, the Smart Cities Council announced the 2018 winners of its Readiness Challenge and Birmingham, AL was one of the 5 winners.

The winning jurisdictions in the second-annual Readiness Challenge shared three traits:

  • They focused on breaking down silos to help departments provide better, more efficient service by working together.
  • They emphasized coordinated collaboration, not just internally, but also with the community and nearby regions.
  • They were also determined to use smart cities strategies to lift up underserved and vulnerable populations.

The five Readiness Challenge winners will receive a full year of expert, vendor-neutral mentoring plus an on-site Readiness Workshop custom-tailored to each community’s needs and priorities. They will also receive free products and services worth hundreds of thousands from leading organizations and Smart Cities Council partners.

Birmingham believes effective and efficient smart city initiatives are a conduit for amplifying growth and achieving equity. The city will use its Readiness Workshop to accelerate the use of technology and data to improve public safety and overall quality of life in Birmingham. Adding to the many projects already underway, including an Open Data portal, smart street lighting, community Wi-Fi and bus rapid transit, the workshop will seek solutions in the following areas:

  • Energy: Balancing investments for reliability, resiliency, sustainability and low costs
  • Transportation: Expanding alternative transit modes, improving connectivity, and forming a regional coalition for smart applications
  • Public Safety: Reducing crime, including better leveraging data in the field

Council partners will have several opportunities to participate and engage with key city stakeholders. Opportunities include presenting case studies to demonstrate viable solutions to address the city’s goals, as well as serving as subject matter experts in working groups that are intended to help the City build an action-oriented roadmap for success.

For more information on the challenge, visit the 2018 Challenge Winner's page.