June 25, 2015

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Announces City’s First-Ever Technology Plan Makes Significant Progress In Eighteen Months

City Marks Key Accomplishments On 28 Initiatives Outlined In Original Strategy, Ranging From STEM Education And Transportation Upgrades To Data Analytics And Digital Literacy Programs

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced significant progress in the first eighteen months of the City of Chicago Technology Plan. In fall 2013, the City identified 28 initiatives in five key areas as part of a comprehensive vision for a future shaped by groundbreaking technology: next generation infrastructure, making every community a “smart” community, effective and efficient government, civic innovation, and tech sector growth. The City of Chicago Technology Plan provides a roadmap to drive Chicago to its aspirations of opportunity, inclusion, engagement, and innovation for all. The 18-month Update and 2013 Technology Plan can be found HERE.

“Advancements in technology impact every aspect of our lives – how we work, play, and live. From the education of our children and the strength of our transportation system to the training of our workforce and the transparency of our government, innovation in technology leads to vibrant communities, strong infrastructure, and continued economic growth and prosperity,” said Mayor Emanuel. “If we continue making the right investments together, we will give every child in every neighborhood the chance to participate in the 21st century technology economy right here in Chicago.”

Leaders in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors are working together to educate the city’s children, build stronger companies, and create a “smarter” city, using big data, civic engagement, and technology start-up incubation - using cutting-edge technology to accelerate Chicago’s economic growth and create jobs, while making the city more efficient and livable.

“Under Mayor Emanuel’s leadership we have seen remarkable advancements in Chicago’s technology economy and its positive impact on everyday Chicagoans,” said Brenna Berman, Chief Information Officer and Commissioner of the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT). “Working together with academia, nonprofit organizations, civic groups, and the private sector, we have been able to create lasting partnerships that continue to successfully implement the goals outlined in this plan and establish Chicago as a leader in technology innovation.”

The City has marked several key accomplishments in the plan’s five focus areas over the past eighteen months, including:

Next generation infrastructure:

  • The number of schools with sufficient IT infrastructure has increased more than ten-fold over the last four years - CPS completed the installation of a fiber internet connection with a minimum of 50 Mbps in every CPS facility and distributed over 15,000 iPads to students in welcoming schools. By 2017, the bandwidth in every school will be doubled, each classroom will receive its own wi-fi connection, and every student will receive a wi-fi connected device.
  • Through a series of public-private partnerships, the City now provides free wireless at Garfield Park and the South Shore Cultural Center through a partnership with Google; North Avenue, Osterman/Hollywood, Montrose, Foster, and Rainbow beaches as part of a pilot program with Cisco and Everywhere Wireless; and continues to partner with SilverIP Communications to provide wireless service at Millennium Park.

Making every community a “smart” community:

  • This May, Chicago Public Library launched Internet-to-Go, a Wi-Fi hotspot lending program. CPL is piloting the program in neighborhoods with low in-home broadband adoption rates and low overall Internet use and will expand to additional neighborhoods this summer. 
  • Recognized as a national model for digital skills training, CyberNavigators provide one-on-one and class-based digital skills training to nearly 100,000 Chicagoans every year. Over the next few years, CyberNavigators will expand to every library throughout the city.

Effective and efficient government:

  • In fall 2013, Mayor Emanuel committed to moving all of the City’s business license and permits online by the end of 2016. This effort kicked off with the first set of public health permits being launched online in February 2014.
  • In 2014, DoIT and the Department of Public Health launched an analytical model that forecasts violations across the city’s more than 15,000 food establishments. By examining prior inspection results and other activities, the model predicts which businesses are most likely to have critical violations in the future and prioritizes City inspections of those establishments that exhibit the greatest risk.

Civic innovation:

  • The Chicago School of Data project was launched in early 2014 and is a collaborative framework to encourage civic innovation in Chicago, bringing together individuals from nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and government to encourage data sharing and problem solving with the goal of creating engaged and healthy communities.
  • Open Gov Hack Nights are gatherings of civic-minded individuals and serve as an open forum to advance civic projects; brainstorm new civic projects; and learn about open data, smart cities, and open government. More than 150 Hack Nights have been held to date, and attendance continues to rise, strengthening Open Gov Hack Night’s role as a town hall and support center for Chicago’s growing civic-hacker community.

Tech sector growth:

  • In October 2014, the Chicago Venture Summit hosted the most influential venture capitalists in the country to build relationships with the Midwest’s most promising technology companies. The Summit brought together over 400 attendees, with representation from 71 national venture capital firms and 61 Illinois-based VC firms.
  • In February 2015, Chicago’s new entrepreneurship and innovation incubator for next-generation health IT, medical device, diagnostics and biopharma companies, MATTER, opened, bringing together healthcare entrepreneurs and industry leaders in a shared space dedicated to individually and collectively fueling the future of healthcare innovation.