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Scouring the globe for support

In the latest instance of a state government reaching for creative solutions to prop up aged mainframe systems, North Dakota has hired two contractors from the eastern European nation of Latvia for additional support. Officials told StateScoop that Job Service North Dakota, the state’s workforce and unemployment services agency, was forced to seek help in Latvia, one of the few remaining regions where mainframe technology continues to be widely taught. “The Unisys mainframe software is pretty old and it’s very difficult to find programmers for it in the United States,” said Pat Kelly, an IT manager at Job Service North Dakota. Colin Wood reports.

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Smart cities will have to wait

As the pandemic forces organizations around the world to scale back operations, the technology giant Cisco is phasing out a software platform designed to digitize and manage internet-connected devices like light poles, traffic signals and trash cans. Cisco will “move away from” its Kinect for Cities software product line, a company spokesperson told StateScoop on Monday, representing a shift away from a digital platform that countless cities around the country have used to jumpstart their journeys to becoming “smart cities.”   Ryan Johnston has more details.

Colorado gives broadband a boost

A broadband advisory board created last month by Gov. Jared Polis could improve access to high-speed internet for residents during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The Colorado Broadband Advisory Board is tasked with offering broadband policy recommendations to state lawmakers and streamlining broadband expansion projects that involve state agencies. Polis said the work is especially needed as more residents depend on the internet to remotely access their health care, work and education — all needs that will persist, though in lesser degrees, after the health crisis has ended. Ryan has more.


New Jersey CTO on increasing telework capacity with cloud

Christopher Rein says the pandemic was a force multiplier for leadership to invest in cloud and data programs which significantly improve service delivery. The state is working to bring 96% capacity to remote work, in addition to improve security and data management with cloud infrastructure upgrades. Hear more from Rein.

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