Smart and intelligent city initiatives

We are a smart city looking to be an intelligent one.

Smart cities use technology to improve the way cities work. Intelligent cities use technology to create better cities, improving the lives of people within them.

Our vision is to find ways to imrpove the lives of residents through access to online services, technological innovation and collaborative problem-solving, creating local solutions to local problems. 

Our community is full of smart, talented people who are already working on ways to make Kelowna a better city and we want to find ways to work with and support them.

Collaborate with us

If you are working on creative solutions to some of our shared challenges in the community (particularly those listed in Council’s priorities), there may be an opportunity for us to work together!

Contact the intelligent cities team

Current intelligent city initiatives

These are just a few of the things that we are currently working on:

  • Intelligent Cities Strategy – involving internal & external stakeholders – in the final stages of development, our Intelligent Cities Strategy will guide how we will become an intelligent city, including a short-term action plan. Supports multiple Council priorities.
  • Chat bots – City online service – development of chat bots (website plug-in using artificial intelligence) that can help quickly and efficiently connect residents, businesses and visitors to the information that they are looking for. Supports the Corporate result that services, processes and business activities are transformed.
  • Online service improvements – City services, involving internal & external stakeholders – review and redevelopment of our online services (e.g. e-Subscribe, the City's email notifications) using service design thinking, which involves learning about a service from the perspective of two types of users: those who use the service and those that provide it. Based on deep understanding of these two user groups, we find ways to improve the service through co-creation, iterative development and ongoing feedback. Check out this short interactive story about service design, in honour of #ServiceDesignDay (June 1). Supports the Corporate result that services, processes and business activities are transformed.
Our story as a Smart City
Smart city history

In 2018, we became an Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) Smart21 Communities finalist, recognized for our efforts to “humanize data for [our] people, businesses and institutions – from driving economic growth to reducing inequality, increasing sustainability to improving urban planning.” And in 2019, ICF ranked Kelowna 19th in innovation.

Also in 2018, we also submitted an application for Infrastructure Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge that focused on housing and homelessness. While we didn’t make it to the next round, the Journey Home Taskforce was created and is currently working on initiatives that look to improve outcomes for some of our most vulnerable in the community.

Why do we want to be an intelligent city?

While being a smart city has allowed various City departments to improve efficiencies, reduce costs and improve departmental outcomes, we are facing increasingly complex issues. Complex issues often require collaborative solutions… we can’t do it alone!

Partnerships between public, private, not-for-profits and academic institutions have the potential to develop local solutions to local issues by sharing knowledge, expertise, resources and costs.

Backed by the community

The idea of improved collaboration was supported by the community during our outreach with residents in 2018 through the Imagine Kelowna public engagement. Residents expressed a vision for Kelowna, recognizing that inclusivity and diversity make us a stronger and more innovative and that local problems often require local solutions. The wellbeing of Kelowna depends on the shared responsibility of individuals, businesses, government and community organizations coming together to solve some of the complex issues facing our community.

How will we get there?

To guide our way to becoming an intelligent city, we have developed an Intelligent Cities Strategy in consultation with internal (City staff) and external (community) stakeholders.

The vision of the strategy is to find ways to improve the lives of residents through access to online services, technological innovation and collaborative problem-solving, creating local solutions to local problems.

Our strategy follows four principles: collaborative, innovative, connected and responsible.

Below is a high-level view of the draft themes and strategies we will undertake to become an intelligent city.

Create a digital & intelligent City
  • Automate and digitize business and service delivery
  • Ensure data-driven decision-making and cross-departmental collaboration guide our work to create a better city
Foster a community network that leverages technology to solve complex city problems
  • Work to create digital equity and connectivity for all
  • Engage and empower our community and our stakeholders to collaborate on shared problems
Provide guidance and tools to help others meet their priorities
  • Develop the process and mechanisms possible for City departments and the community at large to experiment