Five States To Get A Smart Tech Boot Camp

In this file photo, National Governors Association (NGA) Chair, Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada speaks during the National Governor Association 2018 winter meeting, on Feb. 24, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

In this file photo, National Governors Association (NGA) Chair, Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada speaks during the National Governor Association 2018 winter meeting, on Feb. 24, 2018, in Washington, D.C. AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana


Connecting state and local government leaders

The states will be the first in the multi-year "Smarter States, Smarter Communities" learning lab, which grows out of National Governor Association Chair Brian Sandoval's 'Ahead of the Curve' Initiative.

The states of New Jersey, Nevada, North Dakota, Colorado and Virginia are about to get some tech support from the National Governors Association.

The goal is to help the state's leaders better understand and implement the sort of advanced data analytics and connected infrastructure solutions—generally referred to as the "Internet of Things"—that are already taking hold at the local level.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, the outgoing chair of the association, announced the multi-year Smarter States, Smarter Communities initiative on Friday during the opening plenary of the NGA summer meeting. 

“This multi-year effort to help states use data analytics, advanced communication networks, and connected technologies to improve safety, mobility, efficiency and productivity for the citizens for our respective states,” Sandoval told the assembled governors and attendees.

Sandoval credited Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner with taking on the challenge of becoming “the first smart state.” Illinois will serve as the host state for the initiative, with meetings slated to take place in Chicago.

Few states—most notably Illinois and Utah—have worked to integrate technology into infrastructure. While several others have begun to utilize drones and other public safety technology, local governments are much more often at the vanguard for all these new tech solutions that have significant implications for the future of government. Route Fifty previously reported on NGA’s interest in helping other states adopt Illinois’ smart state rate solution, “whereby even the smallest municipalities can purchase, say, an adaptive control, LED-based streetlight contract for a flat fee.”

The initiative grows out of Sandoval’s chair initiative, called "Ahead of the Curve," which aimed to educate governors and key staff on “rapidly advancing technologies that impact the daily lives of residents and businesses in our states.”

Smarter States, Smarter Communities will build upon the progress we’ve already made by developing statewide programs that provide effective solutions and improve outcomes for local success.  I’m proud of the work we’ve completed thus far and I’m excited to see the progress we will make over this multi-year program,” Sandoval said in a press release.

Sandoval touted his "Ahead of the Curve" initiative as a clarion call to discuss the “fourth industrial revolution” that was causing rapid technological disruption. The initiative included a forum on new transportation technologies during CES in Las Vegas and an energy innovation summit hosted by Governor John Hickenlooper in Denver, Colorado. These events served as opportunities for senior state government leadership to discuss the impacts of new technologies.

“In total we engaged over 150 officials from a total of 39 states in helping them develop ideas for key actions to implement back home in our states,” Sandoval said of his chair initiative. The association released two “policy roadmaps” on transportation and technology to guide states in building strategies around rapidly evolving technologies in both spaces.

Mitch Herckis is Senior Editor and Director of Strategic Initiatives for Route Fifty. He is based in Washington, D.C.

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