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A Globally Recognized Intelligent Community

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The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) is again recognizing the City of Westerville as a Global Smart21 Community.

Next, Westerville and other Smart21 communities begin a more in-depth application process to be named to the list of 2020 Top7 Intelligent Communities.

The City of Westerville was named a 2019 Top 7 Intelligent Community by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). The City is the first community in the United States to achieve this recognition on its first attempt. Westerville was one of only three cities from the United States to be named to the prestigious list.

What Makes Westerville a Top 7 Intelligent Community

  • WeConnect Fiber Network and Data Center: Westerville is home to the first and only municipally owned data center. It's a full-service, 16,000 sq. ft. facility supporting a network of more than 40 miles of flexible, scalable fiber offering 100 Gb-plus connectivity to businesses, schools and municipal service providers. WeConnect is purpose-built, carrier-neutral and compatible with any and all cloud providers. Learn more about this high-speed fiber powerhouse
  • A Smart Grid:  Westerville is also home to the only municipally owned and operated suburban electric provider in the Columbus Region, providing excellent service to residents and businesses since 1898. The Westerville Electric Division has never settled for the status quo and is a driving force for innovation in the City. With programs like businessWISE, which provides incentives to help Westerville businesses fund green-energy programs and Rush Hour Rewards, offering rebates to customers who adopt smart Nest thermostats and help reduce peak usage and more, the City is known for bringing smart technology directly to businesses and residents.
  • The Point at Otterbein University: Westerville's leadership embraces innovation at all levels. That's why the City made a substantial financial commitment to the establishment of The Point at Otterbein University, an innovation center partnership with Westerville’s local university. The Point, through this partnership, offers a unique collaborative environment where academics and innovation come together to support entrepreneurs and existing businesses. It is home to an impressive list of tenants like JP Morgan Chase, Nestle and Honda, as well as startups Nikola Labs and edgeThingZ, all conducting world-class research in food science, financial technology and advanced manufacturing.

And that's not all. Read more from the Intelligent Communities Forum.




Watch the Announcement of the 2019 Top 7 Intelligent Communities:


More About ICF's Top 7 Intelligent Community of the Year:

Other recognized communities: 

  • Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada
  • Chicago
  • Hudson, Ohio
  • Sarnia-Lambton County, Ontario, Canada
  • Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
  • Taoyuan, Taiwan

ICF members will now schedule a visit to all seven cities for an in-person evaluation of infrastructure, programs and partnerships that represent intelligent communities. Westerville expects its ICF visit this spring. The organization will then name a member of the Top 7 as the Intelligent Community of the Year at a global summit in New York City in June.

As part of the announcement, Westerville was recognized for its history of embracing innovation. From its role in the Underground Railroad to becoming the home of WeConnect (the nation’s first municipally owned data center), The Point at Otterbein University and more. Learn what makes Westerville a Top 7 Intelligent Community. 

Westerville Chief Information Officer, Todd Jackson, attended the announcement in Quebec. “This is the first time a city in the U.S. has earned both the Smart21 and Top 7 designations with their first application,” said Jackson. “Overall, very few communities globally achieve both on their first attempt. We're excited to be in the Top 7 class and look forward to hosting the ICF delegation when they come to see Westerville for themselves.”

The City was named to ICF’s list of Smart21 Communities of 2019 in October. From there, staff worked closely with key community stakeholders like JP Morgan Chase, Central Ohio Primary Care (COPC), Lake Shore Cryotronics, Otterbein University, Westerville City Schools and the Westerville Public Library in the process to be named to the Top 7 list.

Top 7 candidates are evaluated against the “ICF Method,” which is “the first conceptual framework for understanding all of the factors that determine a community's competitiveness in the digital economy,” according to the organization’s website. Factors evaluated are broadband, knowledge workforce, innovation, digital equality, sustainability and advocacy. 

For more information on the Top 7 or the ICF, visit