We’ve written in the past about some of the ways the City of Winter Haven is using innovation and technology to bring smart city ideas to our community. A “smart city” uses information and communication technologies to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public, and improve both the quality of government services and citizen welfare.

Last year, as part of its plan to advance these efforts, the City appointed Hiep Nguyen as the Smart City Officer. City Manager Mike Herr says this about Nguyen, “His leadership and vision, combined with the previous infrastructure investments, positions the city to fully support and move forward on this smart city endeavor.”

The City’s most recent action was approving a resolution to form a Smart City Advisory Committee (SCAC), which will explore smart city opportunities, strategies, and partnerships. The SCAC will engage city departments and external partners for collaboration and communications to recommend innovative smart city development for the City of Winter Haven, including:

  • Advancing innovation projects that deliver community benefit, including projects that optimize resources and improve service delivery
  • Adopting best practices for enhancing connectivity, security, and the stewardship of assets and data
  • Developing strategies and policy initiatives that support smart city innovation
  • Establishing strategic partnerships to build a smart city ecosystem

The SCAC will be an inclusive cross-section of our community. Thirteen voting members will include representatives from the following: education partners, business, non-profit partners, and neighborhood/community member(s). A City Commissioner, the Smart City Officer, and other support staff will participate as non-voting members.

Winter Haven Economic Development Council President Bruce Lyon continues to support the City’s smart city efforts, saying “We applaud the City Commission and City Manager for leading this initiative. Their leadership and support of the increasing need to understand and embrace advances in technology and innovation will be important to sustaining Winter Haven’s resilient economic growth and high quality of life.”

For more details about the SCAC, go here. The application can be found on the City Commission’s Boards & Committees page. Completed applications for the SCAC are due on July 5.

Formation of the SCAC will build on the progress the City has already made to improve lives and bring government and citizens together through its smart city initiatives. We’ll leave you with these words from Hiep Nguyen, “Technology shortens the distance between people, ideas, innovation, and progress. Strong relationships focused on common goals and aspirations is what makes a smart community truly smart.”