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Youth: The Future of our Smart Communities

- May 31, 2013 9:37 am

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we often find ourselves stuck in established processes, trying to accommodate preconceived expectations while following outdated rules.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.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/uqF2gryy4Gs]

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?

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