From May 29th to June 3rd I will be attending the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Annual Conference and Trade Show in Niagara Falls, Ontario. This event will see over 3,000 municipal leaders, including mayors and councillors, get together to discuss current affairs in Canada and the ever-changing role of cities and communities within the country.
I began working with FCM approximately three years ago, both as a means of increasing Cisco’s profile within the public sector and also to expand the efforts of our Smart+Connected Communities team. One of our goals was to educate and make municipalities aware of smart solutions and the important role they will play in the future, especially in the areas of sustainability and economic growth.
I am thrilled to see that the team’s hard work has been paying off, and as a testament to our dedication, this year’s conference will sport an overall theme (the first time FCM has attempted this): “Smart Solutions, Smart Communities.”
The theme will be woven into many of the workshops and discussions and will, of course, be the focus of Cisco’s break-out session, taking place on May 30th, which we are co-hosting with IBM. In addition, the theme will be front and centre at our booth on the show floor, which we will be sharing with our partners and customers, including IBM, Jibestream, Element Blue and ET Group. There will be plenty of interactive demos on hand to demonstrate the advantages and effectiveness of several smart solutions.
But one of the most exciting aspects of the show for me is the involvement of younger members of the community. FCM is aware of the challenges in getting young people interested and involved in politics and have actively encouraged their participation at conferences. This year, Cisco is once again hosting the Youth Panel and Reception, on the evening of May 30th.
In addition, prior to the conference, Cisco and FCM will be holding an interactive TweetChat on Thursday, May 22 at 1:00 pm EDT (look for the hashtag #FCMchat). We’ll be discussing how municipalities can attract and retain young professionals and the roles they can play now and moving forward. Both the TweetChat and the Panel are a fantastic way to engage with youth, supporting and educating them on the public sector and the role technology can play.
Cisco is very adamant about looking to today’s youth to kick-start innovation in Canada, and one of the reasons we work closely with schools and universities throughout the country. The FCM conference gives us yet another avenue to encourage young and innovative talent, and get them started on the smart communities journey which will be so vital to their future.