PEMAC Attends SMART Cities Conference
On February 28, Nigel D'Souza, GTA Chapter President and Director, PEMAC Board of Directors, represented PEMAC at the Empowering Smart Cities event in Mississauga hosted by Microsoft. It was a great initiative in alignment with the Canadian Government's Smart City Challenge and showcased technologies as tools to empower people within organisations. With a number of local municipalities in attendance, the focus was on how we leverage technology for services and infrastructure management. An interactive poll of the audience during the City of Vaughan's presentation with Frank DiPalma, showed that the area of most important and critical area of investment currently facing IT departments in municipal government is Asset Management (as seen in graphic below). There were also powerful talks from municipalities and technology powerhouses who were able to leverage innovation with the underlying talent of its people and partners, and a great opportunity to check out all the technology companies showcasing their solutions with hands on demonstrations.
The event also provided an opportunity to network with peers in municipal government to share experiences on the application of new technologies. A chronic challenge facing most was that much decision making and implementation is happening at the department level rather than at a centralized enterprise or strategic level which is resulting in silos which complicates the task of connecting the various systems. In reality, urban processes are not silos and require a more global or systemic view. A trend which is becoming apparent is the use of cloud or web based services, and cloud services are expected to have the most impact over the next five years for innovation and data management. Many are starting to see the associated benefits of scalability; allowing minimal investment and shorter time frames for testing, and then the ability to rapidly scale up following success. We can all recognize that technology is going to be or already is a big part of our work, and it is great that our leaders in this field understand that these are tools to support our people and processes. A big thank you to Microsoft for hosting this event and for welcoming PEMAC and the public sector interests and to Nigel for bringing back this report!