Written by Ryan Johnston
New York City “Has Relied on Technology Like Never Before” to Survive 2021, End-of-Year Says compilation from the mayor’s office to the chief technology officer touting the agency’s recent accomplishments.
In his farewell announcement last week, New York City CTO John Paul Farmer shared his office’s annual impact report detailing the steps the city is taking to expand broadband and research emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and internet-connected infrastructure. The 26-page report divided the agency’s work into four pillars – digital services, universal broadband, inclusive innovation and emerging technologies – and highlighted the most important projects undertaken by Farmer’s office, including an investment from $ 157 million in citywide broadband expansion.
This funding was part of an “Internet master plan” for the city to build new public broadband infrastructure and incentivize Internet service providers to expand coverage, ultimately benefiting 1.6 million residents over the course of the year. over the next three years, according to the report.
“These investments have turned the digital red line, engaged minority and women-owned businesses in the industry’s economic growth,” the report said.
The farmer’s office also funded a series of public computer centers and “digital vans,” which served as mobile computer labs for residents to access digital education and programming during the pandemic. The office also taught and graduated two classes of “innovation fellows” – technologists the city has integrated into different agencies to help them solve problems using technology-centric strategies.
Fellows placed at the Ministry of Finance helped develop a new automated dashboard and conducted user research to improve the city’s permit and fine payment system called CityPay. Another team helped the Department of Aging by creating a service locator to help seniors find virtual events and programs.
The Farmer’s Office has also launched several civic technology challenges in 2021 aimed at making life easier for unbanked residents, mental health patients, and people who are homeless. Challenges sought applications from technologists and companies willing to work with the city to tailor their product to the needs of New Yorkers, in return for funding and a chance to pilot their technology.
The report predicts that New York City will continue to build on its civic tech advancements next year, though not under Farmer, who leaves city hall with incumbent Mayor Bill de Blasio. and will be replaced by Mayor-elect Eric Adams. for the technical director, the chief IT officer of the New York Police Department, Matt Fraser.
“As the digital transformation of government and society accelerates, it is essential to remember that our community holds within its power the capacity to shape it,” the report said.