Last year, Austin, Indianapolis, Miami, Orlando, and Philadelphia won a Smart Cities Council grant to accelerate technology initiatives. Austin's working with regional stakeholders on open data, public/private partnerships, and digital engagement strategies. Philadelphia’s working on public outreach for the Roadmap process.

Now the world's largest smart cities network is looking for five more Readiness Challenge Grant communities. Each recipient gets a year’s worth of free mentoring; a custom-designed, onsite Readiness Workshop; membership in the Smart Cities Leadership Circle; and free products and services worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from companies including Qualcomm, Battelle, SYNEXXUS, CompTIA, and IES.

“Each year, the council and our member companies donate products and services to help five communities adopt smart technologies become more livable, workable, and sustainable,” says Smart Cities Council Chairman Jesse Berst. “And it’s not just the winners who come out ahead. Past entrants confirm there’s plenty to gain by filling out the application. This process alone has helped many communities move their smart city efforts into the fast lane.”

The program is available for all communities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico including cities, counties, states, provinces and regional authorities. Application deadline is Dec. 15, 2017. Semi-finalists will be announced at an awards reception during the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ winter meeting in January, and the five winners will be announced in February.