Philly’s Smart City Plan

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The city of Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology recently released a strategic plan, highlighting IT accomplishments and outlining a plan for the future, reported Government Technology. The plan, which used a focus-group approach methodology, proposes six themes, some already accomplished, and others the city will undertake soon. 

The themes of the plan include the support and development of the local technology ecosystem; striving for digital access and equity, the improvement of government efficiency and effectiveness; the enhancement of online public service delivery, the promotion of community-driven technology, and the strengthening and advancement of internal operations and infrastructure. 

Philadelphia CIO Mark Wheeler said the six focus groups who helped develop the plan included academia, technology companies, nonprofits, civic tech leaders, and city government contingents. 

Wheeler said of the report, “It covers a whole spectrum of technology, the evolution of technology in government and how we’re trying to support both our infrastructure and meaningful interactions around technology.” Wheeler added that the objective of the report is to provide transparency plus engage the public, civic tech, and technology communities in the city. 

Andrew Buss, deputy CIO for innovation management, said work on the report began in Spring 2018. To hone in on strategies, Buss said they looked for commonalities across groups. “[I]f all five or six focus groups all came up with a similar idea that was probably something that we pulled out and thought about putting into the plan,” said Buss. The ideals came from what participants thought worked well in the city, what officials should focus their efforts on, and an aspirational goal for the future of the city, per Government Technology. 

Wheeler added that the plan dovetails nicely with the Smart City plan released in February. “That’s a very powerful initiative because it has a lot of interest in it,” he said. “We have a lot of the technology community, research providers, and our colleagues around city government who really like this idea of putting smart technology, Internet of Things, real fast data analytics all together to try and solve some city problems.”

November 5, 2019

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