Smart Cities Awards

Smart Cities catalyze the digital transformation of urban ecosystems to produce systemic environmental, financial, and social outcomes. Smart Cities are, by definition, focused on using emerging technologies and innovation to make cities more livable, and offer new services and economic opportunities. The cities and communities in North America have made significant strides in Smart Cities by leveraging technology and aligning services with the needs and expectations of residents. To recognize outstanding Smart Cities projects, IDC launched its Smart City North America Awards (SCNAA). Now in its sixth year, the 2023 awards recognize the progress North American municipalities have made and also provide a forum for sharing best practices to help accelerate Smart City development in the region.

Winners will be honored at Smart Cities Connect being held May 16 – 18 at the Denver Convention Center. Smart Cities Connect Conference and Expo offers the most comprehensive conference, exposition and accelerator of smart city innovation in North America. To learn more about the event visit

2023 Winners

  • Administration (e.g. Back Office, Digital Legislating)
    Government for the People Through Digital Engagement – Corona, CA

    The City of Corona partnered with Qualtrics, ZenCity and Salesforce to redefine community engagement. Using powerful AI based analytics and digital toolsets the City has been able to better reach the silent majority passively and actively to complete the communication loop with citizens. Using data we have be able to create customer journeys, so that the City can reach out to citizens based on their interests, demographic information, and residential location concerning upcoming events, classes, or activities. The technology has allowed us to determine better what Citizen interests are and help tailor activities, services, and funding to help citizens feel a sense of community in what the City provides.

  • Civic Engagement(e.g Participatory budgeting, City Portals, 311 apps)
    Smart Water Conservation Application – Scottsdale, AZ

    Scottsdale Water Conservation Office’s Smart Water Conservation Application, an automated program that identifies landscaping to enhance water conservation efforts. By highlighting areas on a map, the tool can classify landscape materials. Utilizing the application has allowed staff to quickly assess a site and its composition – allowing for individualized water budgets that can ultimately save money and conserve water. With the launch of the Application, Scottsdale builds on 40-plus years of innovative water stewardship. We’ve collaborated with ASU and AWS to harness the power of technology to create a more accurate/timely water budget to identify and capture opportunities to reduce water use. Before the Application, the Office manually merged water/land use information. The time-consuming process lacked standardization and was inconsistent. The Application automates classification/calculation by leveraging AI, ML, and data analytics to consolidate data sets and GIS layers. It can identify landscaping, calculating ground cover footage, tree canopy, and water surface area. Now staff quickly generate water budgets for large landscapes in the office and provide guidance by phone, reducing the need for onsite inspections. This process increases accuracy of classification, shortens response time, and reduces the administrative processes, allowing for a proactive approach to water conservation outreach.

  • Data-Driven Policing (e.g. Real-time Crime Centers, Officer Wearables, Video Analytics)
    San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office – San Mateo County, CA

    Law enforcement agencies have started adapting and integrating digital technologies to enhance public safety initiatives. Many agencies are looking towards applying analytics to large amounts of data, better integrating technology into their decision-making processes, and optimizing processes to improve efficiency and public trust. San Mateo County, located in Northern California, is home to over 700,000 residents and around 20,000 businesses. The mission of the county Sheriff’s Office is to protect lives and property while providing the highest level of professional law enforcement and correctional services in the nation. The Sheriff’s Office faced several challenges in achieving their goal of analytics-powered law enforcement. The Sheriff’s Office used C3 AI Law Enforcement to integrate traditionally disparate data, correlate and consolidate more than 100,000 identities, and significantly reduce the manual effort and time needed for case investigations and reporting, from hours to minutes. Following the successful initial configuration, C3 AI and the Sheriff’s Office are growing their partnership to expand the data sources, increase agency-wide collaboration, and further automate existing manual reporting.

  • Next-Generation Emergency Services (e.g. Next Gen 911, Early Warning Systems) TIE

    • City of Syracuse Department of Public Works – Syracuse, NY

      The City of Syracuse relies on the Samsara Connected Operations platform to streamline its snow operations, helping the department to maximize productivity and improve communication with the public. * Real-time visibility into the location and status of snowplows enables the Department of Public Works (DPW) team to track service coverage and optimize routes using advanced cloud-based technology, increasing operational efficiency. *Auto-uploaded still images and on-demand video retrieval provide remote visibility into road conditions and on-road incidents, improving route planning and helping the DPW investigate citizen concerns faster and more accurately. *Seamless API integration with Esri makes it possible for the DPW to share a publicly accessible map of service coverage with residents, increasing transparency and leading to a 30% decrease in citizen calls about snow plow service.

    • Enabling Enhanced Interoperability for First Responders – Irving, TX

      This initiative falls under our Safety pillar of our Smart Cities Initiatives of Enhanced Emergency Response. This pillars goal is to Enhance emergency responses to minimize the threat to life and property. Our three pillars are Services, Safety, and Sustainability. The goal of our Smart Cities pillars called “Irving Connects” focuses on using data and technology to improve government efficiency, bolster economic development, and enhance overall quality of life in Irving. This initiative addresses future opportunities as data becomes more readily available and technology continues to advance. Irving Connects allows the city to focus on using data and technology to address pressing challenges associated with the three focus areas identified by the city.

  • Digital Equity and Accessibility (e.g. Public WiFi, Accessibility Services)
    Phoenix Sky Harbor Accessibility Innovations for Visually and Hearing Impaired – Phoenix, AZ

    PHX has added a new service to support customers who are blind or have low vision as they travel. Aira provides guidance through a mobile app to assist passengers with a variety of needs, including moving through crowds, avoiding obstacles, finding gates, using self- service kiosks, and navigating Transportation Security Administration checkpoints. To provide this assistance, the Aira mobile app connects users with professionally-trained visual interpreters, who use live-streamed video to translate visual information into descriptive audio at the touch of a button, providing better efficiency, engagement and independence. America’s Friendliest Airport® also expanded its hearing loop technology during Terminal 3 renovations and the newly added Eighth Concourse in Terminal 4, which opened in June 2022, to improve accessibility for hearing-aid users to airport announcements and the overhead paging system. This new technology can be deployed and free to use in the concourse’s newest eight gates. Hearing loop technology connects hearing aids directly to the public address system, allowing those who use hearing aids to hear announcements more easily about flight delays, gate changes and more. Hearing loops at PHX help Sky Harbor achieve its goal of providing world class service to every customer, every day.

  • Economic Development, Tourism, Arts, Libraries, Culture, Open Spaces (e.g Connected Museums, Event management, Digital Currencies, Augmented reality tourism)
    City Street of the Future Defines Blueprint for U.S. Smart Cities – Peachtree Corners, GA

    At the heart of what is being called the “Silicon Orchard,” Peachtree Corners is one of the first smart cities in the United States to be powered by city-owned connected infrastructure and 5G and is acting as the prime example of what smart cities can look like across the country. As a smart city, Peachtree Corners has led the way in developing an autonomous, electrified and interconnected 5G infrastructure, starting with the ‘city street of the future.’ The Curiosity Lab ecosystem acts as the blueprint for future smart cities and includes a three-mile autonomous vehicle test and demo lane where vehicles can communicate with infrastructure and pedestrians through the latest in cellular vehicle to everything (C-V2X) technology and an array of sensors, lidar, cameras and more via 5G communication. As a proving ground, Curiosity Lab acts as the “walk” in the “crawl, walk, run” of technology development and allows companies to deploy technologies that are ready to be tested in the real-world for further development before wide-spread deployment in dense urban environments. With local, national and international partnerships, Peachtree Corners and its Curiosity Lab has become a well-known innovation hub in the Southeast U.S. and across the globe.

  • Education (e.g. Smart Campus, Smart Classrooms, Virtual Offerings, Online and Remote Services)
    A Blueprint for Building a Community of Student Advocacy Services to Address Mental Health on Campus – San Antonio, TX – Alamo Colleges District

    With the post-pandemic return to campus, students and faculty are reporting a record number of mental health incidents. Reports of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicide have reached crisis levels. Alamo Colleges have created campus support communities to address the academic and societal pressures that have contributed to mental health issues and provide the critical services that truly reduce stress, improve mental health and empower success. The technology that goes into building these communities helps expand the reach and accessibility of these programs and allows them to be proactive- rather than just reactive- so they can reach out to students and faculty that may be in jeopardy faster and more effectively with wellness checks, phone trees, alerts, nudges, and assistance before they’re in crisis.

  • Public Health and Social Services (e.g. Addiction Monitoring and Prevention, Predictive Disease Management, Humanitarian Services) TIE

    • The Orchard Knob Collaborative: A Multistakeholder Approach to Equitable Smart City Neighborhoods – Chattanooga, TN

      True connectivity depends on its meaningful use, and ultimately, its impact on quality of life. The Orchard Knob Collaborative’s Smart Community model works to demonstrate that, for residents, Smart City infrastructure and related investments should have a direct, meaningful impact on the social determinants of health. This project unites multifaceted and pervasive connectivity -— through expanded broadband access; walkable public WiFi; digital literacy training; and a digital resource hub — with energy-efficient built-environment improvements and Smart Home, IoT and telehealth technologies. The result is a future-ready, Smart Community strategy for investment, services and collaborative impact, in direct response to demonstrated needs. The Orchard Knob Collaborative, a multi-stakeholder partnership includes Parkridge Hospital, the Orchard Knob Neighborhood Association, EPB and non-profits like Habitat for Humanity, green|spaces and The Enterprise Center. With a vision for a vibrant and thriving Orchard Knob community that is healthy, safe, and economically viable, we are determined to improve the health and well being of the approximately 1,000 neighborhood residents by addressing the social determinants of health — and supporting the replication of this model well beyond its current boundaries.

    • ETHAN (Emergency Telehealth and Transport) – Houston, TX

      Since 2014, the City of Houston Fire Department with an ever-increasing population of 2.3 million and greater than 300,000 calls for service, has successfully delivered ETHAN (Emergency Telehealth and Navigation) to its residents and visitors. ETHAN Emergency Medicine Physicians using MS Teams have conducted more than 30,000 virtual visits, which provides the same exam room experience independent of location within approximately 6 minutes. Prehospital management of EMS patients is essential, as studies indicate 35% of Emergency Department visits could be treated in alternative settings versus the highest cost destination and mode of transportation. Over that time, generally 15% of all ETHAN patients were dispositioned or managed away from the emergency department and 9 of every 10 patients avoided using the ambulance for transportation. ETHAN has proven to be safe and successful mobile integrated healthcare EMS program, with Management, Direction and Medical Oversite provided by Dr. Gonzalez (Program Director / EMS Associate Director) utilizing a data-driven analytics MS Power BI Operational Dashboard. To build on this success, ETHAN has developed a scalable Web-based portal (internally called SYNASPE), which connects to all 42 hospitals and healthcare facilities via the HIE to provide actionable data into a single patient record.

  • Smart Buildings (e.g. Capacity Planning, Return-to-Work Programs, Sustainability, Security Systems)
    The LoRa Network – Cary, NC

    The Town of Cary is working to provide a Long-Range (LoRa) Network. This network would span the entirety of the downtown area with the overall goal of a range throughout the entirety of Cary. The LoRa Network is a radio communication frequency that uses a ‘chirp’ of low data information to send this data to a server. With this data, Cary can then utilize these analytics in a multitude of areas. The capabilities of LoRa can be applied to various municipality interests and citizen needs. With the assistance of the Town of Cary partners, Semtech & SAS, we as a town are creating innovative solutions that increase our efficiency and reliability. Of similar importance, real-time data analytics are essential to the connection of infrastructure and services in a city. SAS’ IoT Analytics Platform offers solutions to specific challenges while benefiting the communities that the network is deployed in. These analytics have boundless capabilities that range from data collection to simplification of development solutions implement the LoRa network is to improve the overall quality of life for our citizens and the use cases for this application is endless.

  • Smart Water (e.g. Water conservation and management, Smart Metering, Waste Reduction Efforts)
    Prioritizing Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR) Projects by Children’s Actual Exposure – Malden, MA

    The City of Malden used statistical modeling and mathematical optimization algorithms to optimize federal funding towards the lead water line replacement to minimize childhood lead exposure across the city. The City has dedicated over $5 mil in ARPA money specifically to accelerate lead service line replacement using this novel, data-driven approach across the entire city of around 66,000 residents. As a consequence of early industrial development Malden became the community with the highest percentage of water service lines made of lead steadily replaced over the years. However, lead pipe remediation budgets are always limited and therefore ought to maximize public health impact. This presents a pressing public policy challenge because childhood exposure to lead is associated with catastrophic health outcomes. By repurposing existing school and engineering GIS datasets, the City of Malden, MA used statistical modeling and mathematical optimization algorithms to optimize federal funding towards the lead water line replacement projects most likely to maximize reduction of childhood exposure across the city. Using the tool and accompanying website, decision makers and residents can answer on which street segments replacement would provide the biggest return on investment reducing public health impact on vulnerable children.

  • Sustainable Infrastructure (e.g. Smart Lighting, Waste Collection, Environmental Monitoring, Resiliency) TIE

    • Air Quality and You (AQ&U) – Salt Lake City/Salt Lake County, UT

      Health Department (SLCHD) began sharing a new, online map ( that presents real-time air quality measurements from hundreds of sensors in the County. The map, called AirView®, is available through a public-private partnership with TELLUS Networked Sensor Solutions. AirView displays measurements from two air quality sensor networks, AirU and Purple Air, and those from Utah State DAQ monitoring stations. It integrates these measurements, corrects them based on local conditions, screens for outliers, and presents a health-oriented, color-coded map that covers all populated areas of the County. So far, AirView has helped the County understand the impacts of a large apartment fire and environmental inequities in underserved areas. “AirView is a tool for people who live, work, and visit Salt Lake County to make them aware of current air quality at their location so they can make informed choices about their health and activities,” Corbin Anderson, SLCHD, Air Quality Bureau Manager. “Our team at the University of Utah spent years developing strategies to ensure that the measurements and visualizations are accurate, and we are delighted that this information is now available to our community,” Dr. Kerry Kelly, University of Utah associate professor.

    • Transit Powered by the Sun: SEPTA’s Elk Hill Solar Farm – Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority

      SEPTA, the 6th largest transit authority in the US, partnered with Lightsource bp to implement Elk Hill, a 42 MW solar farm in Franklin County, just outside of Philadelphia, PA. The renewable electricity generated, represents 20% of SEPTA’s annual electricity demand for all trains and trolleys that currently operate on electricity. This highly successful project locked in energy pricing in 2019 and provides SEPTA with long-term, affordable energy to supports our operations and reduces costs by over $1M annually. Solar is a green, clean, and sustainable source of energy – one of the cleanest types of energy that we can harness. The solar farm also supports Pennsylvania’s clean energy goals, helping to lower carbon emissions while diversifying the state’s energy portfolio and increasing energy security with locally generated electricity. By working solar into the existing grid SEPTA will reduce our impact on climate change. The annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions amounts to approximately 50,000 metric tons of CO2 annually.

  • Transportation (e.g. Connected & Autonomous Vehicles, Public Transit, Ride-Hailing/Ride-Sharing, Electric Vehicles, Universal Mobility)
    The Digital Twin of New York City – New York, NY – Columbia University

    An interdisciplinary team from Columbia University (consisting of 4 professors, 2 undergraduate, 2 masters, 5 graduate students, and 2 postdocs) is funded by NSF and FWHA to develop a digital twin of the city to manage urban traffic. The system is trained using data collected from a city-scale, wireless testbed in West Harlem, COSMOS. The overarching goal is to improve road safety, enhance operational efficiency, reduce congestion, and lower emissions. With the developed DT deployed from the intersection level to the city scale, adaptive management strategies in real time are performed, which helps mitigate traffic congestion, optimize traffic flow, and reduce emission levels. People moving around would experience a smoother journey, experience fewer red traffic light stops and less delay, as well as lower emissions. Pedestrians would feel safer to cross streets with situational-awareness. The disabled would feel easier to cross intersections with extended green lights. Overall, the neighborhood communities would benefit with safer, quicker, and greener travel. City agencies are engaged as potential users. A co-educational platform aims to transfer knowledge to the next-generation engineers and practitioners, so that engineers are equipped with the foundational knowledge and tools to develop urban DTs and better manage cities.

  • Transportation Infrastructure (e.g. Parking, Transit Hubs; Traffic Management and Equipment for Connected and/or Autonomous Vehicles, EV Charging Infrastructure)
    Raleigh Traffic goSmart – Raleigh,

    Consistently through citizen surveys, Raleigh residents identify traffic as a top concern. The Raleigh City Council and City leadership recognized the importance as reflected in the City’s Strategic Plan. The plan with 6 Key Focus Areas, numerous objectives, and more initiatives includes many opportunities for Smart City solutions. There are notable instances that support this work including a focus area on Transportation and Transit, this effort supports two initiatives: Initiative 3.1: Develop a Vision Zero implementation plan that utilizes partnerships and includes necessary legal, policy, equity, and resource considerations. Initiative 4.4 – Coordinate, support, and make investments in technology solutions, partnerships, and data collection to improve mobility and support automation, artificial intelligence, service coordination, and other transportation innovations. Additionally, the plan contains an Economic Development and Innovation Key Focus Area that works to “maintain and grow a diverse economy through partnerships and innovation to support large and small businesses and entrepreneurs, while leveraging technology and providing equitable employment opportunities for all community members.” The City brings innovation and technology into the problems and opportunities facing City services and inhabitants. Leveraging energetic staff, creative thinking, and trusted partners, the teams generate ideas and prototypes to accelerate initiatives adopted by Mayor and Council.

  • Urban Planning and Land Use (e.g. Permitting, Licensing, Inspection & Zoning; Digital Twins, Community Resiliency)
    Smart Data Management Platform – Colorado Springs, CO

    City-wide data management program that democratizes the combination, visualization and use of inter-departmental data silos to inform city planning and decision making. The City has created the Data Management Program (DMP) to develop and grow the city’s data initiative. The DMP has developed several programs to uptrain and share data. Through the development of the Power BI Program, 70 city analysts have been given formal training. Also DMP transparency has been increasing through the use of Open data and publishing several key data sets that are updated monthly for public consumption. The DMP has also undertaken several PoCs with departments to assist them with data related problems and seek a solution that benefits both the department and the DMP. This has led to the development of departmental Data Counsel which concentrates on data Governance and standardization. After having several departments join the DMP we have now created the overarching Citywide Data Counsel designated to create data policies, standards and procedures for Citywide data use. This project was originally funded by the general budget but has also been awarded a grant from ARPA funding and some money from Capital Improvement funds.


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