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Toward A “Smart City”
Presentation Sets Roadmap For Saratoga Springs to Be High-Speed Broadband Leader
SARATOGA SPRINGS – A city that is doing well can reach for an even better quality of life for all it’s citizens, by investing in its infrastructure. Two weeks ago (Issue of February 5), we detailed the commitment that the City of Saratoga Springs was making to develop and promote solar technology for itself and its citizenry. In the same vein, a presentation made to the Saratoga Springs City Council by Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan on Tuesday, February 16 detailed a path where the city would become a leader in developing and providing high-speed broadband to all stakeholders in businesses, schools, government, hospitals and the public at large.
Commissioner Madigan announced the formation of a “Smart-City Commission,” that is composed of representatives of a diverse community that would benefit from access to broadband. The Commission’s mission statement detailed the broad goals they hope to accomplish. Stating that, “…Broadband and Internet access at globally competitive speeds are no longer optional luxuries, but have become essential resources for residents, businesses, service providers, and government,” the new Commission will work towards making Saratoga Springs become a model intelligent Community.
The concept of a “Smart City” is one of the core ideas of the Intelligent Communities Forum (IC). IC hosts an annual competition each year known as the “Intelligent Community of the Year Awards: Smart21 Communities of the Year”. As the members of the “Smart-City” Commission work through the application, the hope is for a specific, detailed pathway that accounts for the unique needs of our community will emerge, and further help strengthen and inform the “Smart City” Commission about its vision, mission, objectives, and our region’s strengths and challenges. Completing the application is thus a near term goal of this Commission.
This will entail a detailed assessment of broad indicators that provide communities with a framework for future planning and development, as they work to build prosperous local economies in the Broadband Economy, and are a cornerstone for attaining Smart City status. These will include:
- Broadband: Intelligent Communities express a strong vision of their broadband future, develop strategies to encourage deployment and adoption, and may construct infrastructure of their own.
- Knowledge Workforce: Intelligent Communities exhibit the determination and ability to develop a workforce qualified to perform knowledge work in every area of the economy.
- Innovation: Intelligent Communities pursue innovation through the Innovation Triangle or “Triple Helix” – relationships between business, government and institutions such as universities and hospitals, help keep the economic benefits of innovation local, and create an innovation ecosystem that can engage the entire community in positive change.
- Digital Equality: Intelligent Communities promote digital equality by creating policies and programs that provide offline citizens with access to computers and broadband, by providing skills training and by promoting a vision of the benefits that the broadband economy can bring to their lives.
- Sustainability: Communities that use fewer resources to create products and provide services are also more efficient and productive, which is key to continued improvements in their standard of living.
- Advocacy: A community’s leaders and citizens can be a barrier to progress or can become its most powerful advocates for a better future. Intelligent Communities work to engage leaders, citizens and organizations as champions of change.
The “Smart City” Commission has an impressive composition, including some of our City’s best and brightest leaders in information technology, diversely drawn from the City’s schools, colleges, medical facilities and business, as well as government. Some appointments are still pending, but as currently constituted, the members have more than enough intellectual power to put the City of Saratoga Springs on the road to become a Smart City in the near future:
- John Mangona –Vice President, Chief Information and Compliance Officer, Saratoga Hospital
- Martin Vanags- President, Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership
- David L’hommedieu- Assistant Superintendent of Information Technology and Operational Innovation, Saratoga Springs City School District
- William Duffy, Chief Technology Officer, Skidmore College
- Christopher R. Markham, Chief Technology Officer, SUNY Empire State College
- Donald Flinton - Computer Services Manager
, Saratoga Springs Public Library
- Kevin Kling- Director, Information Technology, City of Saratoga Springs
- Art Ware- Member at Large
- Tim Holmes – President, Saratoga Springs DBA
- Matt Veitch - Saratoga Springs County Supervisor
- A member of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce’s Technology Committee (TBA)
- Lynn Bachner - Deputy Commissioner of Finance
- Michele Madigan- Commissioner of Finance