Waterloo, Canada - The Intelligent Communities Forum (ICF) has announced that Waterloo has been selected from formal submissions from around the world by communities large and small to the ICF list of the 'Smart 21' communities.

The announcement of these 21 finalists puts Waterloo in the list for selection of the Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year, which are models for the development of prosperous local economies based on broadband and information technology.

"This recognition by the Intelligent Communities Forum speaks to Waterloo's position as truly being a global leader in leveraging technology to make our community a better place to live and work," says Mayor Herb Epp. "Throughout this region, there are countless examples of businesses and other organizations like our universities, hospitals and schools that have not only recognized the value of technology, but that have seized the opportunities that come with being a connected community."

Waterloo met the criteria established by ICF and its research team, and is considered to be a community that is among the leaders in leveraging broadband infrastructure and technology for economic development and social benefit. ICF is a special interest group within the World Teleport Association that focuses on the uses of broadband technology for economic development by communities large and small in both the developed and developing world.

Each year, ICF selects communities from around the world to appear on its list of the Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year. These seven communities are selected based on indicators that include the significant deployment of broadband communications, the extent to which the community enables a knowledge workforce, the promotion of digital democracy, the ability to foster innovation, and effective economic development marketing that leverages the community's broadband, labor and other assets to attract new employees.

"Waterloo is a community that encourages and embraces technology and entrepreneurship on every level," says Jim Balsillie, Chairman and Co-CEO at Research In Motion and honourary chair of the committee that submitted Waterloo's nomination. "RIM is in good company with a number of other Waterloo-based organizations that have had significant global impact. That doesn't happen by accident; it happens because there is multifaceted support for new ideas and new technologies within academic, corporate and municipal government communities."

Waterloo's nomination credits several organizations that include the universities, hospitals, libraries and schools as well as companies such as RIM, Open Text, Sybase, iAnywhere and Manulife that export their products, technology and services around the world. It also notes the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, The Centre for International Governance Innovation, The Institute for Quantum Computing, The Research and Technology Park, and the presence of Communitech and Canada's Technology Triangle as being further reflections of leadership as an Intelligent Community.

"We're very proud that Waterloo has been selected as one of the 'Smart 21' finalists," says Waterloo Councillor Mark Whaley, a member of the submission committee. "We entered into the process because we believed that throughout this community, there are clear examples of how technology and broadband have enhanced the quality of life. As we worked through the nomination form and started talking to companies, organizations and individuals, we saw that the level of commitment to delivering new and improved applications to our citizens, and to the world, is not only deep, but is evident throughout the region."

The Top Seven Intelligent Communities finalists will be announced in January, 2006, with the winner being announced in June, 2006. Last year's Intelligent Community award went to Mitaka, Japan. Other communities listed in the 'Smart 21' include:

Adel, Georgia, USA
Nunavut, Canada
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Ottawa-Gatineau, Ontario Canada
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Gangnam District, Seoul, Korea
Evora, Portugal
Spanish Fork, Utah, USA
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
Ichikawa, Japan
Taipei, Taiwan
London, United Kingdom
Tianjin, China
Manchester, United Kingdom
Vasteras, Sweden
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Monmouth, Illinois, USA

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