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Bringing government and industry together

New York City’s new NYCx program brings together government, technology experts and local communities to use technology to solve some of the city’s problems.

Salsa Digital 14 November 2017

The NYCx program is a new initiative that aims to bring innovative technological solutions to New York City. According to its website, government has a responsibility to deliver on the big tech changes coming. “NYCx is the world's first municipal program to transform urban spaces into hubs for tech collaboration, research, testing and development.”

Open competitions and community collaboration

There are two streams within NYCx — Moonshot Challenges (which invite global organisations to solve city-wide problems via open competitions) and Co-lab Challenges (which bring together NY communities, government and developers at a neighbourhood level to use technology to solve issues).

The first Moonshot Challenge project was announced earlier this month. The Governors Island Connectivity Challenge asks developers to design a low-cost and easy-to-install gigabit speed broadband network. The project would be tested on the island, which is a former military base less than one kilometre from Lower Manhattan, but the aim is to then roll it out across New York City. The project schedule sees testing in early February next year, and installation across Governors Island in March.

The concept of running a series of open competitions isn’t new (think GovHack!) but it’s a great way for government to engage businesses and experts and to embrace technology...and to explore new ideas before engaging in costly procurement processes.

Currently there are three open Challenges:

  1. The Governors Island Connectivity Challenge — high-speed, low-cost internet.

  2. Brownsville: Zero Waste in Shared Space — looking for solutions to increase recycling and reduce landfill (towards the goal of zero waste to landfills by 2030).

  3. Brownsville: Safe and Thriving Nighttime Corridors — technology solutions that enhance neighborhood corridor, making them busy but safe, with a goal of no assaults or arrests.

Benefits for NYC

As well as coming up with innovative, technological solutions, the driving forces behind NYCx are increased jobs, providing a space for technology to be tested by the public, and making NYC the place to launch new tech.

Tech is already big business in New York City, delivering 350,000 jobs and $30 billion in wages according to the New York State Tech Jobs report (from Government Technology article). Certainly NYCx seems set to bring even more jobs into the city.

Salsa Digital’s take

We love coming across these types of case studies, here and overseas. We’re strong supporters of GovHack— the yearly open competition that uses open data to deliver technological solutions. These innovative events that draw on the thriving tech community will help drive digital transformation in government...here and overseas.

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