Illinois Announces Action Steps for Smart State Workshop

On its mission to become the nation's first smart state, Illinois held its second workshop solidifying goals and project leads.

Chicago often grabs the headlines when it comes to technology innovation. But how can the entire state of Illinois catch up to its level of government digitization and online service delivery? By creating the country’s first smart state.

To that end, the state’s Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) held a two-day Smart State Roadmap Workshop in Chicago on Dec. 5 and 6, focusing on implementing information and communication technology tools to enhance livability, workability and sustainability across all cities, towns and rural areas within Illinois. The action steps were announced on Dec.19.

Several key areas were identified along with specific goals, heads of projects and potential partners:

  • installing sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) devices to city infrastructure;
  • developing a mobile presence to increase resident engagement and delivery of services;
  • building a procurement platform to maximize purchasing discounts, and streamline city and state transactions;
  • maximizing returns from existing state assets;
  • creating a more business-friendly state supported by a digital portal;
  • standardizing smart city tech;
  • reviewing policy and regulations to remove barriers to implementing smart technologies; and
  • establishing a Smart Illinois brand.
According to the state’s release, the event hosted more than 50 attendees including Deputy Governor Trey Childress; heads of state agencies; city representatives; members from private industry; and officials from universities, national labs and nonprofits.

“Gov. [Bruce] Rauner has charged us to complete a holistic transformation and turn Illinois into a 21st-century enterprise,” Childress said in the release. “Becoming the first smart state in the country is not just about technology; it is about improved processes, governance and, above all, improved customer service.”

The workshop expanded on the initial Smarter Illinois event held in April that helped kickstart the state's technology transformation efforts.

Illinois has partnered internationally with Telangana, India
, in order to share best practices and strategies for smart state implementation.

Department of Innovation and Technology Secretary Designate and CIO Hardik Bhatt noted the state's disparity in technology services, adding that "Illinois is aggressively reducing the 45 years of technology debt in only four years by acting boldly and strongly engaging the private sector and other partners in this smart state effort."

“We have the opportunity to leapfrog from legacy technology to global leadership," he said, "by getting a head start in becoming a smarter state.”

Ryan McCauley was a staff writer for Government Technology magazine from October 2016 through July 2017, and previously served as the publication's editorial assistant.