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Sweetwater County, Wyo., is among a ­growing number of ­communities that ­have adopted Smart911 technology, which ­provides ­dispatchers with more detailed ­information during emergencies.

Residents can create a free profile, link their cellphone numbers to home and work addresses, and provide details about who lives in their home, including children and pets. They can also list medical conditions.

When a 911 call comes in, the server shares the phone number with Smart911. If the caller has a Smart911 profile, the cloud service sends the profile information to the server, which passes the ­information to the dispatcher’s computer-aided dispatch workstation, explains David Halter, IT director for the Sweetwater Combined Communications Joint Powers Board.

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At the beginning of December, the Aloha State installed a new chief information security officer, according to an official announcement from Hawaii's Enterprise Technology Services agency on Dec. 15. Hoang joins the agency after a stint as an enterprise architect for Hawaiian Telecom "where he secured infrastructure for customers and conducted network architecture, performance, security risk, and systems infrastructure assessments."

Hoang's role is one of three cybersecurity positions that were approved by the Hawaii legislature. The other two roles are support roles as the organization lasers in on ramping up endpoint security.

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Robotics holds high potential for defense and intelligence, public safety, agriculture, environmental protection and public transportation, according to recent research from IDC Government Insights. Applying autonomous or semiautonomous machines can boost the safety, precision and efficiency of government services.

“Governments will soon start to include in their technology roadmap key milestones of collaboration with academia and industry and will continue to invest in R&D to build robots that, in 15 to 20 years, can step into a world built for humans and perform a variety of tasks, from routine ones to lifesaving ones, in dangerous and hazardous situations,” said Massimiliano Claps, associate vice president for IDC Government Insights. “IDC TechScape: Robotics in Government, 2015” covers five broad categories of robots:

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Backup as a Service (BaaS) and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) both provide peace of mind by warehousing mission-critical data in the cloud. So what’s the difference? Orchestration and workflow are the key components, according to a recent video blog by Jason Buffington, Enterprise Strategy Group principal analyst. Those, in turn, affect agility and business outcome.

“From a data flow perspective, most backup technologies transform the data as part of transmitting it to the secondary repository, on-premises or in the cloud, which is what necessitates doing some kind of a restore to get it back,” Buffington says. “That transformation usually optimizes for storage, but it can limit the immediate usability or the recoverability of the data unless you restore it or basically transform it back to its original state.”

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Several states and cities have moved toward digitizing existing paper records, both to save space and to promote broader access to public documents. However, digital media is constantly evolving, and few national standards exist to regulate the creation and maintenance of electronic public records.

In Illinois, the Secretary of State’s office issued these guidelines for local governments seeking to digitize their records:

  • Legal Responsibility: Just as with paper records, electronic records must be retained for any period required by law, and agencies must produce the records in response to public records requests.

  • Longevity of Digital Records: Copies should be made of digital documents, with the original digital information stored off-site in a controlled environment.

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When the California Natural Resources Agency consolidated IT resources from 29 departments, boards and commissions into a centralized private cloud, two of the biggest benefits were reduced costs and faster provisioning. The agency increased storage capacity by 300 percent, shrunk its physical storage footprint by 30 percent, reduced overall IT capital expenses by 42 percent and sped up provisioning by 70 percent.

But the new model also has the benefit of ensuring extremely high levels of uptime. For the agency, this isn’t merely a matter of convenience. Many mission-critical applications depend on the availability of the data center, meaning that downtime can severely impede the agency’s operations.

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The goal was simple: Make it easier for Minnesotans to get outdoors.

With this in mind, in 2008, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources brought free guest wireless to Itasca State Park, a 32,000-acre site that boasts the headwaters of the Mississippi River.

Pat Arndt, the communications and outreach manager for the DNR Parks and Trails Division, says that provisioning Wi-Fi helps residents overcome two challenges that otherwise keep them out of the parks: a lack of time and a lack of information. Arndt notes that people often work on a Saturday, Sunday or a half day.

“If Mom or Dad could be hooked up and get that project done or check in at the office on a Saturday morning and still spend the weekend with their family camping at one of our beautiful state parks, it seemed like a good compromise,” she says.

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How about both? Migrating to a cloud data center means organizations don’t need their own data center, so this appears to be an either/or question. But actually, few existing organizations have figured out how to completely get rid of their own data center.

One strategy is to repurpose existing older hardware as the data center is downsized to handle the remaining load. But there’s a good argument for migrating to a new hyperconverged infrastructure even as you’re shutting off servers and SANs, because it’s cheaper to maintain.

If you think you’re going to need 20 to 50 servers forever just to handle local applications (such as printing, DHCP and DNS, file servers, environmental/security systems and Voice over IP), a small hyperconverged infrastructure may be the answer to keeping things running while getting rid of high-end network, storage and server hardware and management expertise.

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Bloomberg Philanthropies added 13 cities to its What Works Cities initiative, which helps cities enhance their use of data to improve services, inform decision making and engage residents. The following cities join eight existing participants:

  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Bellevue, Wash.
  • Cambridge, Mass.
  • Denton, Texas
  • Denver
  • Independence, Mo.
  • Las Vegas
  • Lexington, Ky.
  • St. Paul, Minn.
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose, Calif.
  • Tacoma, Wash.
  • Waco, Texas

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