“The overall goal is to create a more convenient life”

The Smart City and Intelligent Community movements started twenty years ago, and have now turned into multi-billion pound global industries, says EY’s Bill Hutchison, co-founder and chair of i-CANADA and executive director of the Center for Smart City Innovation.

When Bill Hutchison moved to Singapore from Toronto in 1996, he found himself at the beginning of what has proved to be a huge global transformation of the way communities live and work in our cities.

“Singapore had started a business plan to create ‘Smart Island’, and Silicon Valley had its ‘Smart Valley’,” he recalls. These were early days for smart intelligent communities, but Hutchison had already created Smart Toronto in 1994 through his work with Ernst & Young, and so he was already ahead of the game.

“I was very much involved in the creation of a Russian smart city as an EY partner,” he recalls. “The Russian government wanted to create the city Skolkovo on the edge of Moscow, primarily for young people to live and work, but it would also become a model for the rest of Russia. As I had experience of the Toronto project, I was able to get things moving in Russia and I am still a member of The International Advisory Council based in Moscow.”

The project was shelved when Vladimir Putin came to power, and the smart city focus shifted to Kazakhstan. The Kazakhstan government wants its capital city to become one of the world’s top cities by 2017, and Hutchison is finding himself spending longer amounts of time there.

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