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NewsWatch: City in a Box, 911 Program, Data-Driven City, Sharing Community Health Info, Windows 7?

"As a nation, we can and should harness the exploding creativity in our information technology and media sectors to help us get the most public benefit out of our data investments." -- HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

by / June 2, 2010
Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

"As a nation, we can and should harness the exploding creativity in our information technology and media sectors to help us get the most public benefit out of our data investments." -- HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (pictured)

"City in a Box" Prototype Tested in Korea
According to the San Jose Mercury News tens of millions of people across the developing world are migrating from the countryside to new cities. Cisco Systems is helping build a prototype in Korea for what one developer describes as an instant "city in a box." Cisco is wiring the new city, making it one of the most technologically sophisticated urban centers on the planet. Delegations of Chinese government officials looking to purchase their own cities of the future are descending on New Songdo City, a soon-to-be-completed metropolis about the size of downtown Boston that serves as a showroom model for what is expected to be the first of many assembly-line cities.

Walking in L.A.: The Data Driven City
According to Good Magazine, Los Angeles' Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control center (ATSAC) is a place straight out of War Games or Enemy of the State or Live Free or Die Hard or any number of movies featuring a really futuristic-looking command center. ATSAC was created for two reasons, the first of which is to adjust traffic signals in real time to respond to events that may cause congestion, like a car accident or a Lakers championship.

911 Program Could Ease Emergency Room Problems
Hoping to ease crowded emergency rooms and trim ambulance runs, says USA Today, Louisville, Ky., Metro Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has launched a program that aims to screen low-priority calls and divert patients from hospitals into more appropriate health care. Under the program, which started April 19, a small number of the lowest priority calls -- such as those for an earache or a stomachache -- are being turned over to a nurse who is able to spend time with the patient on the phone to figure out appropriate treatment, which may not include a trip to an emergency room in an ambulance.

Putting Health Data and Innovation to Work
According to a release by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Institute of Medicine President Harvey Fineberg yesterday launched a national initiative to share community health data. The Community Health Data Initiative (CHDI) isĀ  turning to Web application developers, mobile phone applications, social media, and other cutting-edge information technologies to put public health data to work. "When information sits on the shelves of government offices, it is underperforming," said Sebelius. "As a nation, we can and should harness the exploding creativity in our information technology and media sectors to help us get the most public benefit out of our data investments."

Gartner: Plan and Test Windows 7 in 2010
Most organizations should be planning and testing Windows 7 this year, and should try to eliminate Windows XP by the end of 2012, according to Gartner Inc. Gartner analysts said organizations need to decide when to begin their migration to Windows 7, set a target date to have Windows XP out, and decide whether to deploy Windows 7 to all PCs, only to new PCs, or to a mix. "In various

Gartner polls and surveys, 80 percent of respondents report skipping Windows Vista. With Windows XP getting older and Windows 8 nowhere in sight, organizations need to be planning their migrations to Windows 7," said an analyst.

Chicago Program to Reward Those Cutting Electric Use
The Citizens Utility Board on Wednesday unveiled a new online program that links up with Commonwealth Edison accounts and rewards customers for reducing energy usage. According to the Chicago Tribune, the free program allows customers to track their energy usage against that of their neighbors, create groups to compete against friends or colleagues and even compete on a neighborhood level. An added component, which for now is available to 10,000 people, gives customers points for curbing energy usage. The points can then be redeemedĀ  at various local businesses and retailers.