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