Mayor Jeff Genung is at the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) conference in Las Vegas this week to connect with high-tech industry leaders, explore opportunities and research ideas as Cochrane prepares a bid for the federal Smart Cities Challenge.Infrastructure Canada is awarding up to $50 million to four Canadian communities with the best ideas for using smart technology and practices to improve livability and local opportunities.“I am committed to working to ensure Cochrane businesses have access to cutting-edge, high-tech infrastructure, opportunities to grow, create good jobs and seek new opportunities that will benefit everyone in our town,” says Mayor Genung. “As mayor, it’s my responsibility to make sure Cochrane has every opportunity to remain competitive in the global and rapidly changing economy.”This year’s conference includes a key session as the Town moves forward with the submission process. It’s called “Smart Cities – Thriving into the Future” and includes the latest global smart cities innovations.Mayor Genung is also using the conference as an opportunity to promote the business advantages of Cochrane as an ideal location for industry start-ups and established organizations. The community is already home to over a dozen world-class high-tech firms and is committed to attracting more. Local companies Garmin and 4iiii Innovations are also attending the conference; meetings are planned to advance discussions on the Smart Cities Challenge submission.Also attending the conference is Dave Devana, Cochrane’s chief administrative officer.The Smart Cities Challenge is a program of Infrastructure Canada that will award grants between $5 million and $50 million to Canadian communities with the best ideas for using smart technology and practices to improve livability and local opportunities. The challenge encourages communities to be innovative by working with the private sector, not-for-profit organizations and the research community to identify local priorities, set goals and work together to develop bold ideas to address them. The deadline for Smart Cities Challenge submissions is April 24, 2018.The Town will announce opportunities for public engagement on the Smart Cities Challenge bid soon. Residents and local businesses will be asked for feedback and ideas to be included.Expenses for the trip will be reported on the Town’s website, as are all expense reports of elected officials.About the Consumer Technology Association ConferenceCTA is the place where high-tech converges and connects. The conference is held annually, and provides a platform where global companies introduce ground-breaking technologies, industry visionaries share their outlook for the future of technology, exhibitors launch products and attendees experience the latest innovations and make professional connections.About Smart Cities ChallengeCommunities selected as finalists this summer by the Smart Cities Challenge jury receive a grant of $250,000 to support the development of their detailed proposal and business case. Winners will be chosen from the finalists and announced in spring 2019. More details: impact.canada.ca/en/challenges/smart-citiesWhat is a “smart city?”For the purposes of this challenge, “smart cities” are innovative communities that use technology and data to create safe public spaces and improve how citizens move around, live and play, work and learn, participate in society, and interact with nature. Examples include better city planning and the use of technology to create greener buildings, ways to reduce environmental impact, improve city services, smart roads and energy systems, and advanced digital connections for homes and businesses.The Smart Cities Challenge encourages municipalities to collaborate with business, academia and civic organizations to design innovative solutions to the most pressing local challenges using data and connected technologies.