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Hilliard Named Top 7 Intelligent Community for Second Year

The City of Hilliard has been named one of the world’s top seven intelligent communities in the world for the second year in a row.

Hilliard was one of seven communities – and one of only two in the United States – to receive this honor for 2024 from the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). The program recognizes communities that demonstrate best practices in broadband connectivity, workforce development, digital inclusion, innovation, community engagement, and sustainability.

“The Top7 always include cities and regions that are new to the Awards program and ones that have been honored in the past,” said ICF co-founder John Jung. “The Intelligent Community journey is not completed in a day or a year but builds from strategies and small triumphs to much greater accomplishment by people and organizations across the community. Intelligent Communities balance continuity and innovation, digital connectivity and the person-to-person kind, the economy of today and the emerging economy of tomorrow. We are proud to honor all the Top7 for what they have accomplished and will achieve in the future.”

Hilliard received this same recognition in 2023. Other cities earning this designation for 2024 were Assaí, Brazil; Coral Gables, Florida; Curitiba, Brazil; Durham Region in Ontario, Canada; Fredericton in New Brunswick, Canada; and Yunlin County, Taiwan. One of these seven finalists will be named the Intelligent Community of the Year at the ICF Summit in November in Barcelona, Spain.

According to ICF, Hilliard rose to the top of candidates because “in just a few years, its municipal dark-fiber network has attracted many service providers, while connecting companies, schools and city buildings, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars. Its partnership with Amazon Web Services brings technology and business education into schools, while the city and its partners have launched more than a dozen apprenticeship programs in technology, healthcare and IT.”

ICF also highlighted the exciting progress being made locally through the Hilliard City Lab initiative.

“The Hilliard City Lab is guiding high-tech companies to prototype new technologies, including an automated drone network to support first responders, which NASA, the US Air Force and other government agencies expect to become a national template,” an ICF statement says. “In May, the City opened an A.I. Sandbox, allowing Hilliard businesses to test artificial intelligence concepts and products without exhausting their budgets.”

City Manager Michelle Crandall said the recognition shows the international tech community sees significant value in Hilliard’s continued efforts to work with local partners and the business community to develop a skilled workforce, promote economic development, and lay a foundation for long-term prosperity, social transformation, and sustainability for our community.

“The award recognizes that we are employing best practices that will attract and train a workforce that prepares Hilliard for future economic growth,” Crandall added. “We are building and using the kind of broadband infrastructure and digital tools that make us attractive to high-tech companies. And we are providing amenities that promote a high quality of life for current and future residents who will call our community home.”

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