- The National Governors Association (NGA) selected five states — Colorado, New Jersey, Nevada, North Dakota and Virginia — to participate in an information program to work on communications technology. The Smarter States, Smarter Communities Learning Lab will explore ways to use the internet of things (IoT) and other emerging technologies to improve the lives of citizens, according to an NGA release.
- The workshop will be hosted in Illinois, which has for two years been working on similar programs through its Smarter Illinois initiative.
- "Smarter States, Smarter Communities will build upon the progress we’ve already made by developing statewide programs that provide effective technology solutions and that help governments and the private sector better serve citizens," said NGA Chair and New Mexico Gov. Brian Sandoval in a statement.
The five states represent a diverse mix, from the rural North Dakota to the denser New Jersey. That will ensure a broad mix of solutions and projects can be discussed, especially how to bring smart transportation technology to rural communities that may lack extensive broadband and infrastructure. That broad mix has already been emphasized in Canada, where Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi said diversity is the country’s greatest strength.
Illinois presents a model for how to integrate connected infrastructure technology from the city level to the state government. Its Gov. Bruce Rauner established a statewide Department of Innovation and Technology in 2016 and last month signed a bill making it a permanent office. The Smarter Illinois Initiative has already worked on projects like a research group into how to integrate blockchain into government operations and a smart streetlight program. The state will share its experience as part of the NGA lab.
Virginia has already worked on implementing smart technology policy statewide through its Smart Communities Working Group, and was awarded a grant from the Smart Cities Council in March. Colorado last year created the nation’s first Smart Cities Alliance, bringing together a dozen cities of different sizes to coordinate on policy with academics and the business community. In an interview with Smart Cities Dive, co-founder Jake Rishavy said that working with such diverse partners has meant the focus isn’t just on replicating technology, but on "building relationships, building an ecosystem among the peers in those cities."