Youth: The Future of our Smart Communities

One year ago, Cisco Canada and Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) signed a collaboration agreement focusing on the betterment of Canadian communities through the application of innovation and advanced technologies. Over the past year, we’ve had numerous exciting engagements with FCM and its members; highlighted by the creation of a Municipal Video and Collaboration Network that currently is in pilot-mode with FCM Executive Directors.

This week Cisco Canada will be participating at FCM’s Annual Meeting and Tradeshow in Vancouver. Nearly 2,000 municipal leaders have come together today and this weekend to discuss the key issues and challenges their communities face.

In addition to our participation onsite and live demonstrations of our Remote Expert for Government Services solution in our booth, we are also proud to host two very exciting panel discussions on Youth and Delivering Smart Services.

Today we are hosting the Youth Panel and Reception, both of which are free of charge for students and young professionals under 35 years old. We are also proud to subsidize the registration of 50 students to the conference, as we believe in the importance of dialogue and collaboration between municipal leaders and our future generations.

Eventually, it all starts here, and this is all that matters.

Why? Because as we (municipal and business leaders) look to build smart and connected communities, we need to keep an open mind to those that will live, work, learn and play in them. Instead of young professionals listening to seasoned municipal leaders, this youth panel will see municipal leaders listen to students and young leaders. They will get to share their different, fresh ideas as to what our world should look like.

When we look at innovating policy and setting the direction for our future communities, we often find ourselves stuck in established processes, trying to accommodate preconceived expectations while following outdated rules. But what if we let our next generation tell us what should be important, and what their expectations really are? 

There is no denying that our youth have very different point of views as it relates to collaboration and interaction, work-life balance, privacy, security, using technology for transactions and media consumption, and the environment. They multi-task, tweet, text, are ‘on’ 24/7 yet also have an increased priority for the most important things in their lives, shop online and are also not in denial about global warming.

If we could forget all that we know and rethink our cities of the future, why would we not invite those that live and work in them to participate in shaping our future?

About Rick Huijbregts

Rick Huijbregts is Vice President of Industry Transformation where he is responsible for Cisco Canada’s IoE strategy and industry business development. The members of his team are industry subject matter experts and each engage in the transformation of their respective industries (healthcare, oil and gas, financial services, education, real estate, and industrial sector). Huijbregts is also General Manager for Cisco Canada’s Smart + Connected Communities practice, including Smart + Connected Real Estate. Huijbregts holds construction and architecture degrees from Tilburg Polytechnic University and Delft University in the Netherlands, and a doctorate from Harvard University. Huijbregts is currently a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education where he teaches classes on Smart Buildings and Smart Cities. He also serves on several boards of Canadian academic institutions and not-for-profits. Rick Huijbregts est vice-président de la transformation sectorielle dont les responsabilités comptent la stratégie de l’internet multidimensionnel et le développement commercial du secteur industriel de Cisco Canada. Les membres de son équipe sont tous des experts dans différents domaines et œuvrent à la transformation de leurs secteurs d’activité respectifs (santé, énergie, services financiers, enseignement, immobilier et industrie). Huijbregts est également directeur général du segment des communautés intelligentes et connectées, dont le volet immotique des immeubles intelligents et connectés de Cisco Canada. M. Huijbregts est titulaire de diplômes en construction et architecture de l’université Tilburg Polytechnic et de l’université Delft aux Pays-Bas ainsi que d’un doctorat de l’université Harvard. Il est actuellement professeur de Harvard à la faculté d’études supérieures pour les cadres en aménagement urbain où il donne des cours sur la gestion intelligente des immeubles et des villes. Il siège également à plusieurs conseils d’administration d’universités et d’organismes à but non lucratif.
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