Kelowna’s Intelligent City Strategy focuses on people

January 20, 2020

On Monday morning, Kelowna City Council reviewed the City’s first Intelligent City Strategy.

While smart cities use technology, data and sensors to improve the way cities work, intelligent cities use technology to create better cities, improving the lives of those who spend time in them.

“As a Smart City, we have been able to improve efficiencies, reduce costs and improve departmental outcomes – something we should be very proud of,” said Andreas Boehm, the City of Kelowna’s Intelligent Cities Manager. “That said, the City and community are facing increasingly complex issues that often require creative solutions born out of collaborative problem-solving and community partnerships. This is why we are planning the move from smart to intelligent.”

The Intelligent City strategy embraces Infrastructure Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge goals of achieving outcomes for residents, empowering local innovation and forging new partnerships by working closely with stakeholders in the City and the community.

The City of Kelowna’s Intelligent City vision 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.

Drawing from existing strategic direction (Council and Corporate priorities, Imagine Kelowna), and feedback gathered during consultation with internal and external stakeholders, four principles were developed to guide the strategy: 

  • Collaborative – we will look for ways to work with others, both across City departments and in the community, to meet collective challenges
  • Innovative – we believe that by embracing risk and being innovative, we can transform our city
  • Connected – we will work to provide high-quality digital access and services to staff and the community anywhere, anytime
  • Responsible – we will make sure that we only collect the information we need and protect the privacy of those we collect from

A sample of the Intelligent City initiatives already underway, include: 

  • User-Centered Design – to ensure that programs and services are developed or improved with a central focus on the needs of those who use the service or participate in the program. Various staff have been trained on design thinking and are incorporating it into projects such as the replacement of our Service Request System, improving City e-notifications and enhancing the Sports Leagues experience.
  • Active community participation – to harness the knowledge and expertise of community members and groups to help the City with complex projects and issues. One example is the Mill Creek Restoration Project, where the City is working with members of the Okanagan Sustainability Leadership Council to look at ways to reduce flood risk along Mill Creek. 
  • Chatbot pilot – to improve customer service and adapt to changing technologies. We are looking at solutions that will help users connect with important information and services more quickly, easily and conveniently, while supporting staff so that they have more time to work on other priorities.
  • CCTV camera registry partnership with the Kelowna RCMP – to help the RCMP access footage from businesses and residents, when there is an incident, in a fast and efficient manner. The pilot will be in downtown Kelowna; if successful, the program could expand to include other neighbourhoods that are seeing an increase in property related crime.

For more information about the Intelligent City Strategy, initiatives underway and how to get involved, check out the interactive Intelligent City Strategy executive summary or visit kelowna.ca/intelligentcity.