Last month, Full Court Press had the opportunity to support our client and friends from US Ignite at their annual US Ignite Application Summit in Austin, Texas. The three day summit showcases some of the country’s most forward thinking devices and applications for the world’s smart cities.
The deluge of information exchanged at the conference was somewhat overwhelming, so Caitlin Scott from our team (@caityscott) broke it down into the three top highlights about the next generation of smart, connected cities built on ultra high speed gigabit broadband infrastructure. From where we sit the future looks collaborative, fast, and diverse.
Collaboration is Key
One of the many noteworthy panels at the US Ignite Application Summit featured technology officers from cities throughout the country. Each panelist had plenty of wisdom to share, but the pieces about collaboration stuck out in my mind.
Samir Saini, CIO of Atlanta pointed out that sharing and collaboration is a superpower among city leaders— I agree, and would argue that sharing and collaboration is a superpower all humans possess but often underutilize. Seattle CIO Michael Mattmiller added onto this by saying that municipal CIOs are now being asked by local mayors and other elected officials to creatively use technology to solve non-technological problems such as closing the digital divide, leveraging big data to better serve the community, and more.
It may feel as though CIOs are being asked to solve the most pressing and intractable problems of communities. By collaborating and sharing knowledge across municipalities, CIOs in all corners of the country can learn from each other’s best practices and crowdsource solutions to solve these seemingly daunting problems. The US Ignite Applications Summit served as an excellent platform for relationship-building, knowledge-sharing, and an opportunity for experts to convene and learn from each other.
Ultra high speed gigabit broadband infrastructure is increasingly becoming a public utility, just like electricity or running water.
The smart community movement is growing at a rapid clip. Every day, more cities are making commitments to upgrade the broadband infrastructure in their communities. At the Summit alone, US Ignite announced five new Smart Gigabit Communities: Albuquerque, Jackson, Phoenix, Washington D.C., and San Diego. In 2017, it is hard to imagine a home not having electricity or running water. Many would even put wireless internet connectivity into that same category. Within 25 years, it will be increasingly difficult to imagine a bustling urban metropolis that does not have fiber-optic networks that support high-bandwidth applications.
High-Speed Gigabit Internet supports a vast spectrum of applications that will improve people’s lives throughout the world— from encouraging healthy eating to curing cancer.
One of the most exciting components of the US Ignite Application Summit was getting to know the innovators and inventors working in the US Ignite Smart Gigabit Communities Application Teams. These researchers, technologists, and coders are creating applications that are already positively impacting their communities. I spoke with two brothers from Flint, Michigan who were inspired to action by the water crisis in their community. They felt strongly that their community needed help accessing healthy foods so people in their community could lead longer, more productive lives. They created the Double Up Food Bucks Program which gives people credits to buy fruits and vegetables in their local grocery stores and farmers markets. I also spoke with a team from Kansas City that created an application called Compute for Cancer that donates your unused computing power to cancer researchers to help expedite a cure for cancer.
It’s hard to overstate the vast possibility presented by the potential of technology combined with the creativity of technologists working today. The movement is only apt to continue, and we are thrilled to be on the ride with our friends at US Ignite.