Trikala -one of The Smart21 Communities of 2010
The birthplace of Aesculapius, the father of Western medicine, Trikala is the center of an agricultural region in central Greece. In 2004, Greece's Ministry of Economics named it the nation's first digital city. It was a bold statement in a nation where, even in 2009, broadband penetration averages below 16%. But in 2007, Trikala lit a fiber network linking 40 buildings and formed, with neighboring communities, a cooperative called e-Trikala to operate it. By 2009, e-Trikala had installed 15 wireless nodes to create a network covering most of the city. E-Trikala focuses on introducing ICT to businesses and citizens, and it has emphasized e-government services that affect people's lives. Edialogos is an online exchange for ideas and opinions on issues posed by city government. A telehealth platform uses broadband and mobile systems to monitor and support the elderly, disabled and chronically ill. Wireless and GPS combine to provide location information on buses and e-ticketing. With no institutions of higher learning, Trikala cannot leverage universities to create new companies. But it has connected with universities throughout Greece to encourage graduate research into the digital city program. The city has also reached agreement with Technopolis SA to found an incubator in Trikala. With its unemployment rate barely affected by recession, Trikala is preparing to advance from a city of knowledge citizens to one of knowledge workers.