The City of Virginia Beach yesterday was named one of America’s Top Digital Cities, according to the 2015 Digital Cities Survey.
Now in its 15th year and open to all cities across America, the annual survey is conducted by the Center for Digital Government and its Digital Communities program. This year’s survey focused on the Top 10 initiatives that cities are most proud of in the areas of citizen engagement, policy, operations, and technology and data. Virginia Beach tied for fifth in the largest city category for cities with populations of more than 250,000.
“This award is especially gratifying since we strategically developed a Master Technology Plan two years ago to bring innovations that better meet the needs of our city and its customers today and into the future,” said Chief Information Officer Matthew B. Arvay.
Virginia Beach was recognized for its comprehensive implementation of Master Technology Plan initiatives. A few of the technology innovations cited include :
- Open VB, a new open data portal that lets citizen access the city’s budget and expenditure information, including operating accounts, capital improvement program and revenues at the line item level.
- The city also launched three new mobile apps this year, including VB Works, which lets citizens submit service requests via their mobile devices and receive status updates or follow issues reported in their neighborhood. More than 6,600 requests have been submitted via the app since its January launch.
- Virginia Beach also partnered with Chesapeake and Norfolk to provide supplemental aid when responding structure fires. This new program uses technology to automate the calls to neighboring cities’ dispatch centers. Results show that the program is working. From May through October, the Virginia Beach Fire Department was contacted 30 times for aid. During that same time period, Virginia Beach reached out 53 times to Norfolk or Chesapeake.
- Virginia Beach is also making numerous improvements to the city’s data center. These improvements protect one of Virginia Beach’s most valuable assets, its data, and ensure business continuity should a regional emergency ever occur. The first improvement was completed this spring and brought new power sources (generator and uninterruptible power system) to the existing and aging systems. The new generator provides seamless power transfer and energy efficiency.
- The second improvement is consolidating a myriad of systems that were added over the years in piecemeal fashion as technology evolved. The city is now moving to a single, consolidated platform that will provide agility and scalability to meet the ever-growing demands of its customers.
- As part of its Master Technology Plan, the city is also working on completing a fiber infrastructure build to provide increased bandwidth to the city’s off-campus facilities, such as libraries, parks, recreation centers, fire and police stations.
These are a few of the 32 initiatives in the city’s Master Technology Plan.
The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute focusing on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. For more information, visit http://www.govtech.com/dc/