30 Must-Read State and Local IT Blogs 2017

Our annual list of the most useful blogs offering analysis, commentary and insights for public sector IT leaders at the local level.

Technology is overtaking our streets. While robot policemen may not yet be around the corner or drones swooping overhead to deliver packages, innovative cities, states and counties are laying the groundwork and connected infrastructure necessary to bolster the resident experience through citywide Wi-Fi, data-analytics driven services and emerging tech (virtual reality, anyone?). Meanwhile, in city hall, IT modernization and digital government initiatives seek to streamline efficiencies and revolutionize how citizens and city employees interact with local governments.

With so much change happening around us, how can elected officials and chief information, technical and data officers keep up with the best ways to implement tech while keeping citizen data safe? Expert bloggers are here to help. We’ve compiled a list of this year’s best state and local IT blogs.

The 2017 State and Local IT Must-Read Blogger List, the sixth iteration of the list, spans further than any previous, tackling not just CIO and IT department blogs, but also expertise on smart city initiatives, open data, digital government, public library technology, public safety IT trends and all the nooks and crannies in between.

We hope you enjoy this year's list. If your blog was chosen, please grab a badge to display to your readers. If you're interested in seeing previous honorees, feel free to view our 2016, 2015 and 2014 lists.

And if you think we missed a good state IT blog, feel free to leave a comment. For future reference, be sure to bookmark this page, share it with a friend and follow our top bloggers on social media.

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Sidewalk Talk

As the blog for Sidewalk Labs, Google parent company Alphabet’s smart city arm, Sidewalk Talk is a window into how the tech giant is looking to revolutionize urban living through connected technologies. Take a peek at this blog for a look at how the Internet of Things is set to transform everything about city living from traffic patterns to trash collection to public health.

SIDEWALK LABS

 @sidewalklabs | Read the blog: medium.com/sidewalk-talk

 

City of Boston Department of Innovation and Technology

IT leadership in Massachusetts’ capital city is pushing the limits of digital government. With projects such as energy grid modernization and a “smart” 311 system backed by crowdsourced machine learning on the roster, it can be difficult to keep up. Luckily, the blog for the city’s Department of Innovation and Technology will keep you clued in to progress on the latest projects as well as advice from DOIT members on how to tackle greater challenges around tech and cybersecurity in state and local government.

DOIT BOSTON

 @DoITBoston | Read the blog: www.boston.gov/departments/innovation-and-technology

 

Lohrmann on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure

Cybersecurity isn’t just a key issue for state and local governments, it’s often the key issue facing IT leaders in local agencies today. Dan Lohrmann of Government Technology uses his blog as a platform to sift out what works in local government when it comes to staying secure and laying the groundwork for digital innovation.

DAN LOHRMANN

 @govcso | Read the blog: www.govtech.com/blogs/lohrmann-on-cybersecurity

 

Cisco Blogs: Government

Cisco isn’t just talking about the Internet of Things, sensors or connected technologies on city streets. As a vendor that has partnerships with cities all over the country, the people at Cisco are actually working to make smart cities a reality. This blog offers insights for state and local leaders on how to lay the technological and staffing groundwork necessary to take city IT into the next century.

CISCOGOVT

 @CiscoGovt | Read the blog: blogs.cisco.com/government

 

Digital Services Georgia

As Georgia moves to become an innovative state with the launch of a cybersecurity center, an upgrade to its state website that involves personal voice assistants and a capital city that is outfitting much of its downtown with smart city tech, this blog from its digital services department offers a front row seat to the transformation and advice from the experts making it possible.

DIGITAL SERVICES GA

 @GeorgiaGovTeam | Read the blog: digitalservices.georgia.gov/blogs

 

ICMA Blog

The International City/County Management Association’s blog invites local government thought leaders and staff to pen posts that provide insights and practical advice on civic engagement, online security, mobile strategies and tech initiatives in local communities.

ICMA

 @ICMA | Read the blog: icma.org/blog-posts

 

Digital Communities

As the home of the annual Digital Counties Survey, which showcases leaders in digital innovation, as well as articles on how communities are implementing digital transformation, Government Technology’s Digital Communities is a must-read for those interested in how innovative IT leaders are making digital government a reality.

GOVTECH.COM

 @govtechnews | Read the blog: govtech.com/dc/

 

CitiesSpeak

The National League of Cities is “the oldest and largest national organization representing municipal governments throughout the United States,” according to its website, which has provided its blog, CitiesSpeak, the ability to offer some of the deepest insights into issues facing metropolis’ today — tech’s role in tackling challenges around sustainability, public health emergencies and much more.

NLC

 @leagueofcities | Read the blog: citiesspeak.org

 

IBM Government Industry Blog

When it comes to artificial intelligence, Big Data, analytics and machine learning, IBM is doing more than making waves; it’s leading the way forward. In its IBM Government Industry Blog, thought leaders from across the company provide insights into how these technologies and more are forging a way forward for state and local governments and enhancing the digital experience for citizens.

IBM Industries

 @IBMIndustries | Read the blog: ibm.com/blogs/insights-on-business/government

 

Microsoft Enterprise Blogs: Public Safety and Justice

With body cameras, predictive policing and connected devices, public safety looks a lot different these days than it did just a few years ago. Luckily, Microsoft’s Public Safety and Justice blog is here to help sift through what technology means for police departments, precincts and officers.

MICROSOFT

 @Microsoft | Read the blog: enterprise.microsoft.com/en-us/industries/government/public-safety/?post_type=articles

 

Philadelphia Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation

Open data projects open the door to innovation for citizens and government alike as well as provide transparency into the day-to-day operations of local governments. To help further these efforts in the City of Brotherly Love, the city’s Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation recently launched a new blog in collaboration with Temple University’s Department of Journalism that seeks to demonstrate how the city and citizens alike are “using open data in their day-to-day lives to make Philadelphia shine,” according to a post announcing the project. Keep an eye on this blog to see what open data can do to further digital transformation across the city.

CITY OF PHILADELPHIA

 @PhiladelphiaGov | Read the blog: beta.phila.gov/the-latest/archives/?template=post&category=134

 

Fresh Ideas in Public Safety

Discussing the impact of emerging technologies on policing is one thing, but getting into the weeds to truly figure out how new tech is being integrated into the justice system is another. This is exactly what Motorola Solutions’ blog, Fresh Ideas in Public Safety, seeks to do as it invites the viewpoints of police chiefs and others deeply entrenched in the world of public safety to discuss exactly how technology is making an impact on their day-to-day operations.

MOTOROLA SOLUTIONS

 @MotoSolutions | Read the blog: motorolasolutions.com/en_us/communities/fresh-ideas

 

Nebraska CIO Blog

As the CIO of Nebraska, Ed Toner has a lot on his plate, particularly as he looks to consolidate IT across the state and streamline efficiencies. Luckily, he has enough time left to outline these efforts and other insights on being a state IT leader in this blog that lives on Nebraska’s official government website.

NE OFFICE OF THE CIO

 @Nebraska_OCIO | Read the blog: cio.nebraska.gov/blog/

 

American City and County Viewpoints

Cities and counties have a lot riding on their shoulders when it comes to vetting technology, ensuring return on investment and addressing a slew of emerging technologies in the smart city sector. Contributors at the Viewpoints blog by local government publication, American City and County, aim to help IT leaders address IT trends and implement operational solutions.

AMERICAN CITY & COUNTY

 @AmerCityCounty | Read the blog:  americancityandcounty.com/blog/viewpoints

 

TechSoup for Libraries

Public libraries are often where city services and resident experiences meet, and as citizen needs continue to become more digital, so does the library. To this end, TechSoup for Libraries helps librarians and library IT staff discover the best approach to new technologies and decide which to begin implementing into visitor services.

TS4LIBS TEAM

 @TechSoup4Libs | Read the blog: techsoupforlibraries.org/blog

 

San Jose Public Library Blogs: Technology

Interested in how public libraries are making use of virtual reality, encouraging Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education, or are you simply interested in what a scribble-bot is? Look no further than the technology blog from the San Jose Public Library, situated right in the heart of Silicon Valley.

SAN JOSE LIBRARY

 @sanjoselibrary | Read the blog: www.sjpl.org/blogs/technology

 

David Lee King

As the Digital Services Director at Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, David Lee King “plans, implements and experiments with emerging technology trends.” On his blog, King offers insights on his endeavors to improve the digital experience, incorporate social media and tackle emerging technologies at the public library.

DAVID LEE KING

 @davidleeking | Read the blog: davidleeking.com

 

FirstNet Blog

There are lots of questions around how states and cities will incorporate FirstNet, or First Responder Network Authority, into their emergency responder communication networks. The independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration provides emergency responders with the first nationwide, high-speed broadband network dedicated to public safety. FirstNet was created in 2012. The blog seeks to provide answers for states interested in joining, and it appears to be working. North Carolina became the 32nd state to join the program on Nov. 15.

FIRSTNET

 @FirstNetGov | Read the blog: firstnet.gov/newsroom/blog

 

National Association of Counties Blog

Counties are the heart of local government. In this blog by the National Association of Counties, county IT leaders can find insights on cybersecurity, tech’s growing role in public safety and how policy influences technology’s integration into government IT at large.

NACO TWEETS

 @NACoTweets | Read the blog: naco.org/blog

 

In Public Safety

Run by the American Military University (AMU), In Public Safety offers analysis and commentary from higher ed experts on law enforcement, emergency management and fire services. It provides a one-stop shop for IT leaders looking to further their insights into public safety.

AMERICAN MILITARY U

 @AmericanMilU | Read the blog: inpublicsafety.com

 

City Accelerator

Innovation can be easy to get excited about but difficult to execute. To bridge that divide, GOVERNING’S City Accelerator works to promote local government innovations that are truly making a difference in the lives of residents.

GOVERNING

 @GOVERNING | Read the blog: governing.com/cityaccelerator/blog

 

ELGL

ELGL, or Engaging Local Government Leaders, has the lofty goal of uniting innovative and passionate government leaders to strengthen and improve communities. And for those seeking to take their involvement beyond the page, ELGL offers podcasts and links to local events.

ELGL50

 @ELGL50 | Read the blog: elgl.org

 

Public Technology Institute Blog

A quick visit to the Public Technology Institute’s blog provides elected officials and government leaders with research and educational resources around how to incorporate technology into government services and maintain security. It also gives insights into what emerging technologies agencies and departments should keep an eye on in the future.

PTI

 @Public_Tech | Read the blog: pti.org/news

 

#StateofCO IT

For tips on bringing new technologies to fruition and staying innovative on a budget, look no further than the Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology. With blog posts such as, “Seven Ways to Make Sure Your Stuff is Safe in the Cloud” and “Transparency + Efficiency: Enhancing Major Incident Management,” readers are sure to get the inside scoop on how Colorado makes the most of its IT resources.

OIT COLORADO

 @OITColorado | Read the blog: stateofcoit.blogspot.com

 

Adobe Public Sector Blog

Adobe is helping governments across the country streamline efficiencies and improve sustainability by going paperless and embracing digital transformation. Check out the company’s public sector blog for case studies on states and cities embracing this tech, as well as wider coverage of localities improving their websites and tips on how to keep sites safe and innovative.

ADOBEGOV

 @AdobeGov | Read the blog: blogs.adobe.com/adobeingovernment

 

Oracle Public Sector Blog

Modern governments have a myriad of challenges ahead. Oracle’s blog offers advice on how those in the public sector can successfully tackle IT transformations, migrate to the cloud, address the opioid crisis and more.

ORACLE

 @Oracle | Read the blog: blogs.oracle.com/publicsector

 

Code for America Blog

Launched by a nonprofit that seeks to “organize a network of people who build technology to further local governments’ priorities of creating healthy, prosperous, and safe communities,” this blog gives voice to those values and seeks to provide resources that can further technology’s ability to make the government work for the people in the modern age.

CODE FOR AMERICA

 @codeforamerica | Read the blog:  medium.com/code-for-america

 

Data-Smart City Solutions

Run by Harvard with the aim to help cities solve problems and engage citizens through data, Data-Smart City Solutions is a constant on the must-read blogger list. As mountains of city data stack up, the insights and expertise on this blog prove key to putting that data to use and driving actionable results.

DATA-SMART CITIES

 @DataSmartCities | Read the blog: datasmart.ash.harvard.edu

 

Alabama OIT Blog

Huntsville, Ala., was recently named the fastest growing tech hub in the country, and when it comes to tech growth, the rest of the state is looking to move forward as well. For a look at how the state is rolling out new tech initiatives and advice on how to improve cybersecurity and operations, check out this blog from Alabama’s Office of Information Technology.

ALABAMAGOV

 @alabamagov | Read the blog: oit.alabama.gov/my-blog

 

Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology Blog

As Illinois embarks on a mission to become the country’s first “smart state,” there’s no doubt that it’s taking an aggressive approach to adopting new technologies. This blog from the state’s Department of Innovation and Technology promises a front row seat to that digital transformation “through the agency lens.”

IDOIT

 @IllinoisDoIT | Read the blog:  www2.illinois.gov/sites/doit/media/Blog/Pages/default.aspx

 

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Nov 16 2017