Government Technology

    Digital Communities
    Industry Members

  • Click sponsor logos for whitepapers, case studies, and best practices.
  • McAfee

Microsoft and Philadelphia Pair Up through CityNext Program


Philadelphia Chief Innovation Officer Adel Ebeid
Philadelphia Chief Innovation Officer Adel Ebeid

July 31, 2013 By

Microsoft announced earlier this month that it has launched CityNext, a new worldwide initiative to strengthen communities in part through technology.

The software giant selected nine cities across the globe to serve as “showcase cities,” to participate in partnerships that will carry out strategic goals like enhancing technology and improving emergency response planning in the selected cities.

Philadelphia, the only U.S. city named in the project, joins Barcelona, Spain; Moscow; Hamburg, Germany, and five others selected to participate in the new initiative, fully funded by Microsoft.  According to the company, CityNext is supposed to help partner cities push out tech initiatives like moving to cloud-based email and developing open government practices to solicit feedback from citizens using apps and social media.

“Cities play a vital role in our lives — both now and in the future," said Laura Ipsen, corporate vice president of Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector, in a statement. "Microsoft’s CityNext initiative puts people first and builds on this new era of collaborative technology to engage citizens, business and government leaders in new ways.”

With a partnership in place, Philadelphia and Microsoft will now work together to identify what priorities both will carry out through the partnership. Adel Ebeid, Philadelphia’s chief innovation officer, said so far, one proof of concept is currently in development.

The company plans to donate 40 Surface Pro tablets to city code inspectors to help prevent incidents like the one that occurred in Philadelphia in June. According to prior news reports, a Center City building collapsed onto a Salvation Army thrift store killing six and injuring more than 10 people. Ebeid said the new tablets would arm inspectors with current building code data in the field, allowing them to better address building safety issues.

Beyond tablet use, the city has identified other strategic priorities going forward, and they are hopeful that the partnership with Microsoft will help them put those plans in motion.

One key component of those goals is the development of a mobile workforce and enhancing overall mobility in the city. Microsoft may bring its own ideas to the table as well, Ebeid explained, so it will be a matter of collectively determining what's best for Philadelphia.

“The process that’s going to happen next is the blending of those opportunities so that we can focus on the ones that are really beneficial to us,” Ebeid said.

Potentially, the city could also focus efforts on nurturing its startup community and other local businesses to help create access to qualified local talent in the future.

But for now, the city is looking forward to getting the program started.

“I’m really going into this eyes wide open and glass half full, so I’m very optimistic,” Ebeid said. “The only challenge might be how much we can leverage the relationship and without compromising the spirit or the intent of the procurement rules that are in place.”
 


| More

Comments

Add Your Comment

You are solely responsible for the content of your comments. We reserve the right to remove comments that are considered profane, vulgar, obscene, factually inaccurate, off-topic, or considered a personal attack.

In Our Library

White Papers | Exclusives Reports | Webinar Archives | Best Practices and Case Studies
Digital Cities & Counties Survey: Best Practices Quick Reference Guide
This Best Practices Quick Reference Guide is a compilation of examples from the 2013 Digital Cities and Counties Surveys showcasing the innovative ways local governments are using technological tools to respond to the needs of their communities. It is our hope that by calling attention to just a few examples from cities and counties of all sizes, we will encourage further collaboration and spark additional creativity in local government service delivery.
Wireless Reporting Takes Pain (& Wait) out of Voting
In Michigan and Minnesota counties, wireless voting via the AT&T network has brought speed, efficiency and accuracy to elections - another illustration of how mobility and machine-to-machine (M2M) technology help governments to bring superior services and communication to constituents.
Why Would a City Proclaim Their Data “Open by Default?”
The City of Palo Alto, California, a 2013 Center for Digital Government Digital City Survey winner, has officially proclaimed “open” to be the default setting for all city data. Are they courageous or crazy?
View All