Relevancy and empathy during the COVID-19 crisis - a letter from the Smart Cities Council

This information provided by Smart Cities Council Global.
Tue, 2020-04-21 18:03 -- Philip Bane

Regarding Smart Cities Council efforts during COVID-19 crisis.

To all our partners that seek to make cities livable, workable and sustainable –

We have delayed publishing this letter as we have been busy working with cities and our partners during this global crisis. Our teams in ASEAN, Australia, India and North America have been working with cities and other liked-minded organizations to do what they can to relieve suffering.

Our actions are guided by empathy, relevance and agility.

  • First, we are seeking to be Relevant and empathetic with current communications.
  • Second, we are Innovating with online collaborative engagement, offering cities free access to Smart Cities Activator, both as regards our 2020 Global Readiness Challenge and COVID-19 mitigation, economic revitalization and IoT projects.
  • Finally, we are also taking Prudent Action regarding ‘face to face’ engagement.

As a partner, we ask you to help us help cities by -  


  • Providing the Council with relevant COVID-19 information for publishing in our global 3 Things for cities helping cities email.
  • Continuing to provide relevant collateral (case studies and articles) about IoT and digital solutions for the public sector. We are launching Smart Cities Council ASEAN website and thus your content will be distributed to an even larger audience.

Within the next thirty (30) days

  • Providing the Council with suggestions and relevant content about your solutions that would help cities revitalize Main Street. We will incorporate these into our BounceLab program.
  • Providing suggestions for our programming at our virtually produced Smart Cities Week Australia New Zealand.

Within the next ninety (90) days -

  • Considering to co-produce a collaborative planning webinar using Smart Cities Activator similar to what AVEVA has agreed to do regarding IoT device and asset management.
  • Sponsoring a financial or in-kind award for cities participating in the 2020 Global Readiness Challenge. Submission dates for the Challenge have been extended and it is still proceeding as planned.

Relevant and empathetic

Currently relevant content about the crisis is being drowned out by a lot of noise. We have adjusted our editorial strategy so that what we publish is relevant and empathetic. We even choose at times to be silent. We are publishing every week, when we have appropriate content, an email called 3 Things for cities helping cities.

We list three (3) news items that will help a city during this crisis. We then follow up with relevant information from our partners. We distribute these emails to our subscribers in North American, Australia, New Zealand, ASEAN, India and Europe (>60,000 subscribers.) We have actually seen an uptick in opens and click-throughs. We redistribute each item in our email to our >10,000 followers on LinkedIN and >8,000 followers on Twitter. Again, we have seen an uptick in interest.

Innovating with online collaborative engagement

With Smart Cities Activator, we are in the unique position of being able to offer our members and cities the ability to engage online to collaboratively plan projects and review solutions. Using Google translate, these plans can be published in over 150 languages.

  • Smart Cities Activator Roadmaps –
    • COVID-19 - we developed a 2020 COVID-19 Mitigation Roadmap, which ten cities downloaded. We have decided not to publish a second version because as important as an interactive plan can be …it is frankly, too late to help communities plan. At the same time, we do believe that the current crisis will motivate the public sector to consider subscribing to actionable project plans that can be localized through remote collaboration.
    • Economic development -  we are developing economic revitalization roadmaps that cities can use to ‘bounce-back’ from the economic repercussions of social distancing. Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand Executive Director Adam Beck is leading this effort with a program called ‘BounceLab.’
    • Collaborative planning – we are working with AVEVA and Carlos Rivero, the Chief Data Officer of the Commonwealth of Virginia and Michael J. Barnett, the Smart City Coordinator for the City of Wichita to produce a month-long webinar where cities and utilities can learn about how to start an IoT device and asset management project. The first session is scheduled for June 2, 2020.

Prudent Action regarding ‘face to face’ engagement

  • Readiness Workshops – we have postponed Readiness Workshops scheduled for San Diego (18 cities, airport and harbor) and Baltimore – two of last year’s Readiness Challenge winners.
  • Smart Cities Week
    • San Diego was canceled.
    • Washington DC (Sept 29 to October 1) is still scheduled; but it could be postponed or canceled.
    • Australia New Zealand has been converted to a virtual conference, starting in May and extending through November 2020.

You can be assured that no workshop or conference will be produced in the future that does not follow expert guidance and reflect best practices.

Honoring obligations

The Council is committed to honoring its obligations to cities and its partners safely and effectively.

 May all beings be well, cared for, and at peace




Philip Bane


April 21, 2020