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Some emergency alerts faltered in California

As wildfires continue tearing through California, two northern counties on Tuesday reported technical problems with the emergency alerting platforms used to warn the public. In Northern California, where the still-raging LNU Lightning Complex fire has burned through 352,000 acres and killed five people, Napa County emergency management officials told StateScoop they initially planned to use a national platform called IPAWS, but a software error forced a switch to different alerting system. The county said the vendor, Everbridge, is now working on a long-term fix. “I think this is a great example of why we use multiple outreach platforms to get messages out, especially important ones like this,” said Janet Upton, a spokesperson for Napa County Emergency Services. Colin Wood reports.

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New framework promises cities 'the next frontier' in data-sharing

A group of telecommunications companies and the nonprofit Ignite Cities on Wednesday announced a new set of specification for city governments interested in improving their data-sharing capabilities. Organizers told StateScoop they hope the new framework will provide a faster and more direct way to share data between local government agencies and their vendors. They described it as the next generation of data sharing beyond open data portals. "Many cities have open data sets for their citizens, businesses, app developers and so on," said Mike Nawrocki, who's involved with the project. "But what we see as the next frontier in data-sharing is more about integrating that data together." Ryan Johnston reports.

Nevada announces tracing app

The State of Nevada this week became the latest state to release a mobile app for tracking COVID-19 using the "Exposure Notifications" API developed jointly by Apple and Google. With the app’s release, Nevada became at least the fourth state to go public with a smartphone app meant to enhance its contact tracing efforts, which have been sluggish in many states due to a lack of personnel and uncontrolled spread of the virus, which has infected about 66,000 Nevadans and killed 1,200 since March. Officials said the app is a new opportunity to fight the virus and "move Nevada to reopening fully again." Benjamin Freed has the details.

Houston helps residents skill up

A group of Microsoft executives and officials from Houston this week announced a new training program to help low-income residents and students learn digital skills during the pandemic. The program, called Accelerate: Houston, is the latest chapter of a larger Microsoft program called the Global Skills Initiative, which seeks to help 25 million people worldwide learn new digital skills. Mayor Sylvester Turner said the program is "another leap toward strengthening Houston's global standing as a center for innovation and technology." Ryan has more.


NOAA CIO on how the crisis is driving agility

NOAA Fisheries’ Roy Varghese discusses how the agency is bringing science and technology together to manage the nation's natural resources and ecosystem. That includes prioritizing cybersecurity and contingency planning to ensure continuity of mission. “When you're talking about 4,000 people working at 4,000 different locations, our security posture is very different,” says Varghese. He shares what his team is doing to infuse modern technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science to the mission. Listen to the full conversation.

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