Appointment to the Illinois Technology Association’s Internet of Things Council

Today I joined the Illinois Technology Association’s Internet of Things Council. Here’s more about that work:

The mission of the ITA Internet of Things Council is to drive advancement of IoT

Midwest Internet of Things Council

technology, policy and industry, establishing Chicago and the Midwest as an epicenter of IoT

Chicago and the Midwest are in a unique position to be a leader in the Internet of Things evolution. We have a rich history of supporting industries such as manufacturing, software, big data, retail and healthcare, giving the region the experience and knowledge to foster the development of the Internet of Things. The Council is driving by the notion that by collaborating closely together, we have all the pieces are right here for the Midwest to emerge as a national leader in the advancement of the Internet of Things.

Here’s some coverage in Blue Sky: ITA Internet of Things Council aims to make Chicago a connectivity hub. Here’s some images:



Presentation: The Promise of People in Civic Tech and Moderator: The Intersection of Technology and Civic Life at Treefort/ Hackfort

Today I presented at Hackfort, the technology focus of Treefort Music Festival, in Boise, Idaho.

The presentation was “The Promise of People in Civic Tech”:

I also moderated this panel discussion:

Discussion around creating heroic, and at times disruptive, outputs with technology that have civic impact. Moderated by Daniel X. O’Neil with panelists: Brandon Zehm, TSheets; Michael Hollenbeck, Proskriptive; Jason Hausske, One4All and Treefort’s own Lori Shandro Outen.

News article: Proposed Illinois budget threatens digital literacy program

Here’s an article from today in the Chicago Tribune about funding for community technology centers. Snip:

Dan O’Neil, an advisory committee member who also is executive director of Smart Chicago Collaborative, whose mission is to increase Internet access, said at the meeting that he believes funding should be doubled.

See also this post I wrote on the Smart Chicago blog: This Morning: Eliminate the Digital Divide Advisory Committee Meeting. Snip:

Since inception, this program has invested circa $30 million in the digital lives of Illinois residents. All the way up and down this state, these funds have led to tens of thousands of people (page 254) getting trained in digital skills at Community Technology Centers.

If you believe in the power of technology to improve lives, if you think we should support the essential work of front-line trainers in this state, if you care about equity in opportunity for all residents of Illinois, this is something that matters to you.Proposed Illinois budget threatens digital literacy program

Panel: “Real Talk About Civic Tech” at SXSW

Today I participated in this panel at SXSW:  “Real Talk about Civic Tech

“Civic tech” attempts to apply the benefits of the Internet to government. It has begun to grow into being a force impacting national and local policy. As it becomes more mainstream, critics question how impactful these tools and approaches are for citizens. Does civic tech produce more responsive governments and stronger communities? Or does it widen the gap between the digital haves and have-nots? This panel will discuss tools and approaches that have and have not worked and what needs to happen next.

Real Talk About Civic Tech SXSW 2015 Event Schedule

Judge: Digital Media & Learning Trust Challenge

I served as a judge on the the Trust Challenge, which announced the winners today. Here’s how they describe the competion:

The Trust Challenge is the fifth Digital Media and Learning Competition — an open, international invitation to museums, libraries, school districts, schools, community organizations, app developers, researchers, colleges and universities, and other institutional/organizational partners willing to create collaborations or alliances that address existing real-world challenges to trust in connected learning environments.

Trust Challenge

Judge: Digital Media and Learning Competition Trust Challenge

Today marks the announcement of the winners of the Trust Challenge. Here’s their description:

The Trust Challenge has awarded a total of $1.2 million to thirteen projects that will foster trust in online learning environments. Winning projects, evaluated by a panel of interdisciplinary thought leaders, were selected for their ability to advance trust, privacy, and equity in the context of the core values of connected learning, an approach to education in the 21st century that takes advantage of today’s abundance of information and social connection. The projects also tackle issues of access, management of data, and technical interoperability. Winners will receive between $35,000 and $150,000 each to develop their projects over the course of a year. Download the full press release. 

I helped with the judging on this challenge. Way to go to all of the winners and a huge shout-out to all of the finalists: I enjoyed reading every single one of your entries.


Radio: Tech Shift: What does Chicago’s Homan Square say about Chicago’s open data?

Today I talked on WBEZ’s Afternoon Shift about the need for people-focused, not data-focused civic tech. Here’s a description:

If you go to the city’s data portal, you’ll find a database of more than 5 million crimes reported in the city since 2001. It’s one of the largest sets of its kind in the country, and a major success in the history of open data. But recently the Chicago Police Department has received more attention for the information they aren’t releasing. Allegations of off-the-books activity at CPD’s Homan Square facility have called into question just how open the city has been. Dan O’Neil has been a key part of the city’s open data community for years, including helping to found EveryBlock and now as Executive Director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative. He joins us in studio.

Here’s a downloaded copy of the audio:

Lastly, here’s a blog post I wrote on the subject.