The City of Chicago Technology Plan outlines a roadmap in which leaders in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors work together to build stronger companies and a smarter city, using big data, civic engagement, and technology start-up incubation (Letter from Mayor Rahm Emanuel). The past 18 months have shown significant strides towards realizing this vision.

In January 2016, Governor Rauner issued an Executive Order 01-16, establishing the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT), a new state agency with responsibility for the information technology functions of agencies under the jurisdiction of the Governor.

Both initiatives entail the use of cutting edge technology to improve local government’s ability to serve the public, while simultaneously raising the bar and setting new standards for Smart Cities of the future.

DoIT’s mission is to empower the State of Illinois through high-value, customer-centric technology by delivering best-in-class innovation to client agencies fostering collaboration and empowering employees to provide better services to residents, businesses, and visitors. To achieve this goal, the department has begun migrating disparate and obsolete data systems to a consolidated SAP platform (for more on this check out Phil Weinzimer’s article on Digital Thirst) that will allow employees to save customers time and frustration having to visit multiple offices to complete transactions.

While organizing data into streamlined, more accessible platforms is an important step towards enabling a “smarter” city, intelligently processing and extending that data is what will make the endeavor worthwhile. Enter the Internet of Things, or IoT. While it is not necessarily spelled out in the current plan, IoT is arguably the next logical step for the state to take in terms of adding efficiencies and intelligence to government services.

For those unfamiliar with the term, the IoT is basically a network of things talking to things, and applications making decisions about what to do about what they are *saying* to each other. For instance, a smart panelboard talking to an application on a server at ComEd might alert ComEd to a power outage that in turn could cause another app to dynamically re-route power through the smart grid to avoid a lengthy service interruption. Emedded sensors in streets might trigger snowplows to be dispatched based on predetermined criteria, streetlights could self-report burned out or malfunctioning lamps, and a zillion other use cases.

It’s no coincidence that the IoT Emerge 2016 and SmartGig Chicago conferences have been scheduled to coincide with each other this week at McCormick Place. Both conferences promise to offer information, inspiration, and opportunity for technologists, manufacturers, engineers and business leaders throughout Chicago.

Working together, Chicago’s suppliers, developers, service providers, and civic leaders can build a Smart City model that would attract new businesses and bolster the local economy, and have the potential to extend beyond the state’s borders. Paramont EO is doing our part to supply smart homes and buildings throughout Chicagoland and beyond. To learn more visit our website at: https://www.paramont-eo.com/get-smart