The volunteer organization i-Canada is holding its advisory board meeting at Caesars Windsor on Thursday and Friday. The purpose is to encourage at least 50 Canadian communities to vie for the annual and international Intelligent Community of the Year Award.

'It's a global village and we all have to compete effectively.'— Bill Hutchison, i-Canada chair

Chair of i-Canada Bill Hutchison said the past 12 winning communities have experienced economic growth, increased employment and and improved social innovation immediately after the win.

"We're here to share ideas and move forward," Hutchison said. "The bright people in the world are going to those regions and communities ... where they have all these things going on."

Experts at the conference will outline strategies, including broadband technology, to give communities a sustainable future in the ever-more-connected world.

The 'i-Canada movement'

Essex County chief administrator Brian Gregg is a believer in the i-Canada movement.

"The idea is to spread the intelligent community notion across Canada one community at a time and then from there linking all the communities so that we really truly become an i-nation," Gregg said. "Building it one intelligent community at a time and then beginning to link those intelligent communities to become that intelligent nation."

Gregg said that will make Canada more competitive as the new global economy and emerging markets.

"It's like the old days. If the railroad didn't pass your town, your town died. It's a global village and we all have to compete effectively," Hutchison said.

Hutchison said Windsor is doing very well in the conversion and transformation to a new, modern, tech-savvy community.

Another group — the Intelligent Community Forum — named Windsor-Essex one of the top seven intelligent communities in the world earlier this year.