How early investment in data science bolstered Saint John’s Smart Cities bid

The Smart Cities Challenge

When the project team working on the Smart and Connected Data Project started on their journey in 2016 the thought that it could help the city bid on a multi-million dollar grant to solve an “unsolvable” problem never occurred to anyone.

In 2017, Industry Canada launched the Smart Cities Challenge and the first round of submissions were made in April 2018.  Saint John’s submission, which can be seen here, is focused on population growth.  If Saint John is successful, $10 million will be available to tackle this challenge.

The evaluation team from Industry Canada will focus on many aspects of the city’s bid but will focus in one area, in particular, the ability for the community to collect, manage, measure, and report data related to their project.  For many communities, they will have to start from scratch to build this capacity.  For Saint John, we have a two-year head start and were able to leverage the forward thinking of those community leaders to demonstrate our leadership and readiness to tackle our “unsolvable” problem.

Saint John is a connected community, we are

Technologically connected

The active business leadership of regional and national leaders has built up a specialization in data analytics innovations. Supporting this is our digital infrastructure, which includes some of the fastest Internet speeds in North America.

Globally connected

Saint John has over 200 years of tradition as an international port of call.  Our businesses are experts at looking outward for new markets and developing data-driven products and services for clients around the world. 

Personally connected

We have a collaborative business culture unlike anywhere else in Canada.  Here business leaders come together to share best practises, partner on larger initiatives and provide advice to each other anchored in the belief that individual success leads to community success. 

Saint John as a Data Science Hub

Saint John is home to a number of companies who are leading thinkers in the data science space.  Additionally, we have numerous companies embarking on strategic and leading-edge projects.  This initiative will allow firms to reduce reacting to events but, rather, forecasting and adapting ahead of time.  Saint John was also the host of the first Big Data Congress the first, and still biggest, Data Science conference in Canada.

With the increasing importance of data science globally, a progressive group of leading thinkers in Saint John set out to plan the next big thing.  The result of this effort is the project for which this site was created, the Smart and Connected Data Project.  Envisioned in 2016, the team has turned the idea into the processes, governance systems, infrastructure, and relationships to enable anyone in Saint John to have access to a world-class Hadoop based big data platform.  This access will be available for free and access to the talent and funding to see their solution through is also available.


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