In September 2015, the Obama administration launched the White House Smart Cities Initiative. Cities and universities are partnering on 60 projects that leverage new technologies to solve pressing challenges.

This year, the Smart Cities Council will award challenge grants to five cities to apply smart technologies to improve urban livability, workability, and sustainability.

Each winner receives a custom one-day Readiness Program workshop involving the city’s government leaders, private sector and academic experts, and other key local stakeholders in addressing immediate needs, long-term goals, and current use of smart technologies.
The program provides significant in-kind contribution of professional services, access to best practices from the world’s top smart city practitioners, access to top technology providers in a vendor-neutral setting, the opportunity to learn from peer cities, and international visibility on the council’s website and newsletter.

  • Ameresco will provide consulting to help optimize smart street lighting.
  • AT&T will provide up to 25 AT&T Internet of Things Starter Kits.
  • CH2M and Qualcomm will collaborate to host a one-day follow-on workshop to develop and deploy a smart cities ecosystem.
  • Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) will provide free training, software, and access to its technology educational materials.
  • Dow Building and Construction will provide consultation on optimizing building design as part of a smart cities ecosystem.
  • IDC will assess each city’s progress through a comprehensive Smart City Maturity Benchmark.
  • Sensus will provide a citywide hosted communications network free of charge for one year.
  • Telit will provide each city free access to its Telit IoT platform.
  • TM Forum will help cities assess progress through its Smart City Maturity and Benchmark Model.
  • Transdev will provide up to three days of technical assistance to investigate new and more efficient urban mobility options.

How to apply
Call for entries opens Oct. 31 with application accessible on this page; applications due by Dec. 31, 2016. Winners announced by Jan. 31, 2017.

For more information, contact Chief Scientist Dr. Stuart Cowan at

"In our global economy, every city is competing for jobs and talent," says Smart Cities Council Chairman Jesse Berst. "A smart city strategy is essential to support a 21st-century workforce and to drive economic development."