The Commonwealth of Virginia recently released a report with initial findings and recommendations to advance Virginia’s Smart Communities initiative. The report was created by Virginia’s Smart Communities Working Group (VASC), led by State Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson, and including the secretaries of transportation, commerce and trade, health and human resources, and public safety and homeland security, along with private and nonprofit representatives. The study examined the following areas that align with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) SuperClusters:
- City Platform/Dashboard & Data Governance;
- Energy, Water, and Waste Management;
- Public Safety;
- Public Wireless/Broadband; and,
One major recommendation was the need for a funded, centralized agency for the Commonwealth to help ensure consistency and interoperability across municipalities. Funding for smaller cities that may not have budget resources to invest in new technology and network infrastructure is also needed. VASC also pointed out the need for state officials to support broadband expansion across the Commonwealth and to provide support for cybersecurity training and technology. It is felt that the creation of an annual state competition – similar to NIST’s Global City Teams, for example – would recognize outstanding efforts within the state. The group plans to release another, more detailed report in January and a final report to complete the project in June.
“I greatly appreciate the hard work of the Virginia Smart Communities Working Group and expect these recommendations to put us on the track to become a global leader in smart cities,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Ultimately, our goal is to develop a replicable model to enable us to create these smart communities across the Commonwealth. We will improve Virginians quality of life by using the latest technologies to improve the efficiency of services and expand our ability to meet every Virginians needs.”