- San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced this week the creation of the Innovation and Technology Committee, a seven-person team that will work closely with the city's Innovation Office to develop smart city initiatives.
- The committee will focus on a number of goals including enhancing cybersecurity, promoting digital inclusion, improving mobility, expanding municipal broadband and pursuing economic opportunity.
- The committee, led by Councilman Manny Pelaez, includes both public and private citizens. "We intend to harness the mutual interests of all stakeholders in order to create an innovation and technology ecosystem that attracts long-lasting investment in San Antonio," Pelaez said in a press statement.
In an interview with Texas Public Radio (TPR), Mayor Nirenberg explained the committee was developed because San Antonio's "smart city" goals lacked a unified policy vision. By forming this dedicated team, the city is now on the path toward efficiently assessing community needs and investing in smart solutions. Though TPR notes the committee still needs to figure out what "smart city" means for San Antonio and its stakeholders, as the term carries a vast number of varied definitions.
The development of this committee follows closely behind the November launch of CivTechSA, a 16-week, city-funded civic innovation program designed to connect the local government with the tech entrepreneur community. CivTechSA is also overseen by the city's Innovation Office, and it is likely that the newly-formed committee will collaborate with the CivTech initiative to advance its objectives.
Last week, San Antonio announced seven civic challenges the city is facing, and tasked companies and startups to apply for the CivTechSA residency if they believe they can provide solutions. The seven challenges include: developing a system for pet adopters to be notified when animals are impounded at local shelters; unifying San Antonio International Airport information into one mobile app; developing a "single pass" transit solution for downtown access; developing a mobile app for the Alamodome; developing a web-based platform to improve Launch SA operations; creating a Department of Human Services app to streamline assistance application processes; and revamping the Solid Waste Management Department's warehouse operations.