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Mobile Technology Transforming Global Transportation: Highlights from ITS World Congress & Michigan Digital Summit

There were two very different events this past week in Michigan, but both offered similar messages. The Intelligent Transport System (ITS) World Congress and the Michigan Digital Summit pointed to the radical transformation occurring right now in transportation. There is a paradigm shift occurring using smart transportation systems and mobile technology that enables 'realistic solutions to our global mobility, safety, and environmental challenges.'

by / September 14, 2014

photo credit: Dan Lohrmann

As the world awaits driverless cars, faster airplanes, widespread commercial space travel and possibly super-fast trains in tubes that may eventually get you from New York to LA in 45 minutes, a quiet, yet dramatic, improvement is occurring right now using smartphones, tablets, sensors and mobile technology.

One session at the Michigan Digital Summit in Lansing this week entitled: Mobile Trends, Frameworks and Best Practices highlighted Michigan government’s mobile-first strategy for employees, workplace processes and citizen engagement.

photo credit: Dan Lohrmann

Tiziana Galeazzi, who leads the Michigan enterprise mobility project that engages vendor partners such as Gartner, described several government core functions that are being transformed by mobile. These include:

  •      Dept. of Transportation e-Construction (see following video)

•      Michigan State Police Mobile Office – eliminating several posts

•      Dept. of Human Services Worker Mobility – for case workers

•      Mobile Device Management – for security and privacy

•      Mobile Devices Evaluation – from multiple hardware vendors

•      MiPage – new portal service and mobile apps

Slide credit: Michigan DTMB

And yet, the presentations by AT&T and IBM described a nationwide government situation in which citizen engagement and true process change is still the exception. Using the 80/20 rule, the majority of business areas in the public sector don’t go far enough with the capabilities provided by mobile technologies.


Slide credit: AT&T

There are several examples of mobile best practices and business transformations with mobile technology that can be seen at: and

Slide credit: IBM

Mobile Technology Transforms Transportation in the Field

 I would like to highlight one specific great example of business transformation in the transportation area.  The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has reinvented a paper-intensive process that included contractor construction projects using tablet PCs and e-signatures to approve action timelines and reduce the need for dozens of manuals in the field. This video tells a surprising transformation story that highlights the power of mobile technology in business.

The ITS World Congress

Meanwhile, about one hundred miles to the east, the 21st ITS World Congress finally arrived in Detroit this past week, after plenty of anticipation and a year-long build-up.

Here’s an excerpt from one article the weekend prior to the event:

We are on the cusp of a transformation, where technology offers realistic solutions to our global mobility, safety, and environmental challenges. Detroit is at the heart of this transformation," said Jim Barbaresso, 2014 ITS World Congress chairman, in a program letter to attendees….

This year's conference – themed "Reinventing Transportation in our Connected World" – is expected to attract more than 10,000 people from roughly 65 countries to Cobo Center and Belle Isle in Detroit.

Exhibitors and technical discussions will be held at Cobo, One Washington Blvd., while Belle Isle will be the hub for companies to demonstrate their latest technologies such as driverless vehicles and safety sensors.

There were hundreds of blogs and articles written on topics ranging from “How U.S. DOT is helping to Make Connected Vehicles a Global Phenomenon” to a lineup of “Thinking Highways podcasts” from an Australian website to help visitors keep up with all the activities.

The final program agenda can be seen here.

What were the main takeaways?

One Crain’s Detroit article lays out many ITS themes, including the uncertainty regarding the future of automobiles. Still the future was on display at multiple locations.


The list includes driverless cars, crash avoidance systems, new mobile Internet options, solar power, etc. ITS World Congress runs the gamut of what features may come with your next vehicle.

But it also demonstrates the new avenues for industry business models — where companies are stacking their chips.

There’s no way to know which technology with win or fade, (Remember HD- DVD?) but it’s this cross-pollination of collaboration and competition that makes it fun to see.

Take a look at some of these event videos to start the grasp what the future of transportation entails. But don’t lose sight of what’s happening right now regarding reinventing transportation business processes with mobile technology. I like this particular video as an overview:


In summary, announcements like the one from GM CEO Mary Barra, made the financial news headlines.

She described, “…Advanced intelligent and connected vehicle technologies on certain 2017 model year vehicles. Cadillac will offer customers an advanced driver assist technology called Super Cruise and in the same timeframe the 2017 Cadillac CTS will be enabled with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology.”

While these quotes considered “sexy,” a deeper look inside government and private sector transportation organizations will show a quiet transformation happening right now in global transportation processes using mobile technology.  

Any thoughts to share from either event? 

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Dan Lohrmann Chief Security Officer & Chief Strategist at Security Mentor Inc.

Daniel J. Lohrmann is an internationally recognized cybersecurity leader, technologist, keynote speaker and author.

During his distinguished career, he has served global organizations in the public and private sectors in a variety of executive leadership capacities, receiving numerous national awards including: CSO of the Year, Public Official of the Year and Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader.
Lohrmann led Michigan government’s cybersecurity and technology infrastructure teams from May 2002 to August 2014, including enterprisewide Chief Security Officer (CSO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) roles in Michigan.

He currently serves as the Chief Security Officer (CSO) and Chief Strategist for Security Mentor Inc. He is leading the development and implementation of Security Mentor’s industry-leading cyber training, consulting and workshops for end users, managers and executives in the public and private sectors. He has advised senior leaders at the White House, National Governors Association (NGA), National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), federal, state and local government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and nonprofit institutions.

He has more than 30 years of experience in the computer industry, beginning his career with the National Security Agency. He worked for three years in England as a senior network engineer for Lockheed Martin (formerly Loral Aerospace) and for four years as a technical director for ManTech International in a US/UK military facility.

Lohrmann is the author of two books: Virtual Integrity: Faithfully Navigating the Brave New Web and BYOD for You: The Guide to Bring Your Own Device to Work. He has been a keynote speaker at global security and technology conferences from South Africa to Dubai and from Washington, D.C., to Moscow.

He holds a master's degree in computer science (CS) from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and a bachelor's degree in CS from Valparaiso University in Indiana.

Follow Lohrmann on Twitter at: @govcso

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