San Jose, the 10th largest city in the U.S., recently hosted the WBA’s Conference. As pointed out in the above interview, San Jose and its greater Silicon Valley region is a hotbed of innovation, boasting more patents per capita than any other region. As Khanh Russo, who spoke at the WBA event, explains, the reason his position and department was recently created was to tap that brain power to find ways that the city of San Jose can better deliver services.
Russo, Director of Strategic Partnership and Innovation in the Office of the Mayor for the City of San Jose, describes a data-driven approach that takes advantage of technology and end-points to inexpensively gather data, analyze and deploy resources based on the data analysis. He describes a number of apps that have been developed that allow individuals to easily and accurately (e.g. GPS reporting accuracy) report issues, such as graffiti, broken lights or trash. The app sends the information directly to the group responsible for fixing a problem, speeding resolution compared to older methods of reporting where humans served as the go-between.
This crowdsourcing approach also applies to sensors such that data can be collected without human intervention. He points to the anyCOMM example, a public-private partnership that aims to help the city improve public safety, environmental monitoring and provide a better wireless infrastructure. As Russo points out, privacy is important in this big-data era and he talks about how the city is working with various stakeholders to ensure the San Jose’s data collection approach protects personal privacy.
[Note: this author is a proud native with roots dating to 1846. Some of the apps referenced in above video were new to me and some of them I use regularly. For reader’s convenience here are the links to android versions of those apps:
- San Jose Clean – app for reporting graffiti, etc.
- San Jose Public Library – interesting gamification features to get people to read
- Mobile City Hall – real time civic interaction – it works!
- Nextdoor – a neighborhood-focused, social network
- Tip Submit – app for submitting crime tips
- City Connect, San Jose – app for connecting citizens with the San Jose police department
- PassPort Parking – pay for parking via smartphone
- PulsePoint – provides assistance to people wishing to provide assistance to cardiac victims
- FlySmart – navigate your way through the Silicon Valley’s airport, SJC