Smart Cities for All Digital Inclusion Maturity Model launch

Atlanta: On Tuesday the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ict) and World Enabled announced that their Smart Cities for All (SC4A) global initiative will develop a new tool to assess and benchmark digital inclusion and ICT accessibility in smart cities. The Smart Cities for All Digital Inclusion Maturity Model will become the first maturity model targeted specifically at digital accessibility and inclusion in Smart City programs worldwide.

The new SC4A Maturity Model is being developed to help cities clearly evaluate their progress towards achieving ICT accessibility and digital inclusion across a broad range of functions that are important to all cities, e.g. communications, procurement, training, and standards. It will define key performance indicators and metrics that support advancing accessibility and digital inclusion. The maturity model will define 5 levels of digital inclusion and accessibility progress, or maturity, dealing with smart city technology, data, culture, and strategy.

James Thurston, Vice President of G3ict stated, “Today, on World Cities Day 2017, I am excited that we have begun to develop this new tool designed specifically for Smart Cities. It will allow cities to do accessibility and inclusion assessments that promote adaptive, iterative, and data-driven progress towards using technology to empower all citizens.” He added “The United Nations has designated that the theme of World Cities Day is ‘Innovative Governance and Open Cities’. We believe that our Smart Cities for All Digital Inclusion Maturity Model tool will help cities worldwide be both – more innovative and more open.”

Danielle DuMuerer Commissioner and Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Chicago stated, “Cities like Chicago are looking to innovate and provide better digital services. The tools developed by Smart Cities for All are unique and can help cities make measurable progress on digital inclusion and digital accessibility. Having a tool like the SC4A maturity model that quantifies progress will be invaluable.” The SC4A global initiative has completed workshops and focus groups in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Quito, and most recently Rio de Janeiro.

“We see here in Brazil, especially in cities such as Rio, a need for this kind of tool. We are delighted that Smart Cities for All is taking the initiative to get one developed and make it available” said Geraldo Nogueira, Undersecretary in the Mayor’s Office for Persons with Disabilities, City of Rio de Janeiro. He went on to say, “It is urgent to set in place a process for digital inclusion in cities throughout Brazil, otherwise we will suffer a setback in the social inclusion of people with disabilities.”

With support from the Microsoft corporation, G3ict and World Enabled have completed an extensive review of existing maturity models used for both for measuring digital accessibility programs and practices and to assess specific practices in Smart Cities programs (e.g., data management, resilience). The SC4A Digital Inclusion Maturity model will align with the IDC Smart City Maturity Model, a tool already being used globally. In addition, the Level Access corporation is supporting the development of the SC4A Digital Inclusion Maturity Model by contributing valuable insights and experience with their own Digital Accessibility Maturity Model (DAMM).

“At Microsoft, we’re working every day to create accessible technologies that advance inclusion for everyone,” said Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Chief Accessibility Officer at Microsoft. “Supporting the development of this maturity model aligns with our work, and we’re excited about it’s potential to help cities meet their inclusion goals.”

“The Smart Cities initiative is a crucial step toward cities that truly embrace every citizen,” added Tim Springer, CEO of Level Access. “We see access to technology as a key part of ensuring that people with disabilities can fully participate in their communities and lead more independent lives.”

In the weeks ahead, the Smart Cities for All team will work with Athena ICT Ltd., a specialized consulting company focused on digital accessibility, to complete the SC4A Digital Inclusion Maturity Model that will be ready for use with cities in early 2018. The development of the model will include 3 strategies:

An online survey open to anyone with an interest in digital inclusion in smart cities will launch in November.
A series of expert interviews arranged through the extensive global partner ecosystem of the Smart Cities for All global initiative.
Smart City roundtable discussions will convene groups of experts and leaders. The first of these will be in London on November 8th. Additional discussions are scheduled for the week of November 13th at the Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC) in Barcelona.

Dr. Victor Pineda, President of World Enabled, who is also spearheading the Smart Cities for All Initiative stated, “Our Smart Cities for All global initiative adds tremendous value to the important work cities, industry and civil society groups are doing. Our project compliments these efforts by adding an equity, inclusion, and innovation dimension to the way we design cities of the future.” He added that the SC4A Digital Inclusion Maturity Model will be used to “forge strong partnerships with key stakeholders and ensure cities leave anyone behind”.

For more information about the maturity model see today’s blog by James Thurston:

Smart Cities want to be more inclusive. Let’s help them!

For more information on how to collaborate in the development of the Smart Cities for All Digital Inclusion Maturity Model, contact: [email protected].