Sensors lead to burst of tech creativity in government
Human and mechanical sensors are creating excitement in offices of government IT executives
Computerworld - LAS VEGAS -- Here at an IBM conference, City of Boston CIO Bill Oates was telling the audience how citizens are using apps to improve city operations. But it was one of Boston's latest apps, called Street Bump, that got the interest of one attendee, Gary Gilot, an engineer who heads the public works board in South Bend, Ind.
Information collected by the new app, which uses a smartphone's accelerometer to record road conditions and send the data to public works workers, has already helped utilities to do a better job at making manhole covers even with the road, Oates said.
Street Bump will be the subject of a citywide publicity campaign this summer in an effort to attract more users, he added.
Gilot was struck by the app's use of crowdsourcing to assess Boston roads.
South Bend has taken different approaches to same problem.
It once had a half-dozen city supervisors spend six weeks each year driving every street in the city and rating them using a standard road condition measures. It's latest effort was to hire a vendor to drive all South Bend streets and produce digital video for an analysis of pavement conditions.
But after hearing Oates explain how the Street Bump data was producing "big data" about road conditions by people who launched the app in their cars, Gilot had an admiring smile.
"We are behind them by a bunch," said Gilot, who sees Boston's app as a possible alternative to costly road surveys.
"I love the idea of the future -- that you can avoid the expense by crowdsourcing," said Gilot.
South Bend is not behind in the trend of using sensors to improve other operations.
For instance, the city has worked with IBM to create a wireless sensor system that detects changes in the sewer flow, and alerts the city to any problems detected. The system, which includes automated valves that can respond to issues, has reduced overflows and backups, said Gilot.
Improving municipal operations is a major theme at the IBM conference. The company's Smarter Planet initiative combines sensors, asset management, big data, mobile and cloud services into systems for managing government operations.
Boston and South Bend share in the use of sensors, one human-based and the other mechanical. The adoption of sensors, mobile apps and otherwise, appears to be leading to a burst of creativity in state and local governments.
Boston's chief vehicle for connecting with residents is its Citizens Connect app. The city will release version 4.0 this summer, with changes that will make it easier for city workers to connect directly with residents.
Citizens Connect allows residents to report issues that need government action. Those issues might be a broken street light, trash, graffiti. The reports are public.
- 18 Hot IT Certifications for 2014
- CIOs Opting for IT Contractors Over Hiring Full-Time Staff
- 12 Best Free iOS 7 Holiday Shopping Apps
- For CMOs Big Data Can Lead to Big Profits
- Slideshow: 5 ways to lock down your mobile device
- Slideshow: 10 mistakes companies make after a data breach
- How to rob a bank: A social engineering walk through
- Which smartphone is the most secure?
If you like your iPhone, you can keep your iPhone. Period.
President Obama has revealed that he's not permitted to carry an iPhone. It's too insecure for the job, he says. Instead, he's stuck with a BlackBerry. Well, someone's got to have one still. However, it turns out that the Pentagon has also outlawed non-BlackBerry smartphones. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers joke that 2006 called and they want their smartphones back.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Mitigating DDoS Attacks with F5 Technology
- This document examines various DDoS attack methods and the application of specific ADC technologies to block attacks in the DDoS threat spectrum while...
- The DDoS Threat Spectrum
- Bolstered by favorable economics, today's global botnets are using distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks to target firewalls, web services, and applications, often simultaneously.
- Defending Against Denial of Service Attacks
- By utilizing end-user interviews, this whitepaper explores a deeper understanding of DDoS defense plans and reveals the knowledge gaps around the Denial of...
- Strategic Solutions for Government IT
- This paper outlines why F5 is the optimum partner to help achieve the levels of security, performance and availability that are vital to...
Top Considerations for Moving to a Cloud Delivery Model for ITSM
Find out whether SaaS-based ITSM is right for you
- Software-as-a-service is more than just a cloud-based delivery model-it's a new approach to service that lets companies optimize utilization of in-house IT resources... All Government IT White Papers
- Pre-Engineered solutions from VCE Simplify Core Infrastructure Implementation In this video, the CTO of Purdue Pharma, a privately held pharmaceutical company explains how Purdue transformed their data center infrastructure with VCE.
- Integrated Infrastructure: Simplify Operations, Speed Deployments and Reduce Costs George Weiss, Gartner Vice President and Analyst, and Praveen Akkiraju, CEO of VCE, provide practical information regarding the various aspects of Integrated Infrastructures...
- Video: 5 Secrets To Scaling Enterprise Apps Watch this video to learn how to successfully scale enterprise apps>>
- Collaboration 2013: Where Mobility Meets Connectivity Mobility and collaboration are quickly converging and users are demanding more capabilities. It's no longer enough to enable file sharing. This Webcast dives...
- Modernizing SAP environments with minimum risk - a path to Big Data Hear from top IDC analyst, Richard Villars, about the path you can start taking now to enable your organization to get the benefits...
- All Government IT Webcasts
Does your organization offer extensive benefits, cool perks, competitive salaries, opportunities for training and advancement? Then get it recognized!
Nominate your company or another deserving organization for Computerworld's 2014 Best Places to Work in IT list now through Dec. 12, 2013.