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At this point it doesn't come as a surprise, but the National Association of State Chief Information Officers said yesterday that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is calling off the annual conference it had planned to hold in Minneapolis in October, and will instead host a series of virtual sessions. The association previously replaced its midyear event in May with five online panels. Now, the year-end gathering, which traditionally includes themed galas, nightly excursions into the host city and the release of an annual members survey about trends in state IT policy, will take on a similar form. Benjamin Freed reports.

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The futurist

Since stepping down two years ago as CIO of Palo Alto, California, Jonathan Reichental has spent his time teaching about and writing a book on “smart cities” technology. He’s an advocate of government, but also critical of its shortcomings. "I couldn’t think of a better world than government, that’s in desperate need of turnaround and sadly entrenched in an early 20th century mode in a 21st century world," he tells Colin Wood in a wide-ranging interview that covers continued migration into cities (yes, even through the pandemic), the rise of autonomous vehicles and the emergence of "everything as a service.” The conversation with Reichental is part of a StateScoop and EdScoop special report on the next decade of digital government. Read the full interview.

How a Long Island county automated its health system to fight coronavirus

For resource-strapped county governments like Suffolk County, New York, the combination of the coronavirus pandemic and billions of dollars in budget cuts over the past three months has made the automation of some processes, like data-entry and content management, a necessity for efficient government. County CIO Scott Mastellon told StateScoop that COVID-19 prompted him to dive headlong into adopting RPA, especially to spare nurses and public health officials from spending their precious hours on the tedious steps of New York State's reporting process. But with a local RPA vendor, Mastellson was able to replaced a manual, 12-hour task with bots that automatically upload positive coronavirus cases to patient management systems. Ryan Johnston has more.

NYC doubles broadband commitment

New York City is accelerating the its “Internet Master Plan,” which aims to provide universal broadband access to residents, by more than doubling its planned spending on internet infrastructure to $157 million, the city's Office of the Chief Technology Officer said yesterday. The money will be spent on running new fiber optic cable, into the city’s most poorly connected neighborhoods. About one-sixth of all New Yorkers lack both mobile and broadband internet access, city officials have said. “New York City’s digital divide is a barrier to individual opportunity, creates risks related to public health, and presents a threat to long-term economic growth," John Paul Farmer, the city's CTO, said in a press release. Ryan has more.

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