Envision the energy you get walking around NYC or the vibe you got from a concert. This is what I experienced while attending South by Southwest (SXSW) 2016 last week in Austin, TX.
For the second year in a row, S&T participated in SXSW Interactive. I had discussions with innovators and community leaders from Austin, Texas, to Arlington, Virginia, spoke on panels with industry leaders, including Gary Shapiro the CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, and even participated in a fireside chat with the Secretary of Commerce for the state of Virginia Maurice Jones and the Regional Director for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Hope Shimabuku.
A consistent theme at SXSW circled back to how local governments are investing in smart technologies to draw the best talent, reduce costs, keep commerce running, and serve as innovation hubs for their region. Awareness is rising of how S&T is reaching out to creative entrepreneurs who see opportunities and solutions when they hear about complex security problems. I was inspired by the number of people I met who said, “I want to use my skills to make a difference in my community.” This kind of support from innovative thinkers, creators, and makers is important if we are going to meet the highly technical security challenges facing our future.
The recognition of how technology is changing the way we think about communications, do business, and provide security, is itself changing how governments operate and prepare for a future of increased connectivity and mobility. As new capabilities become more integrated into our lives and services become more mobile and connected, S&T is using the knowledge of science and tools of technology to enhance the resiliency of services and systems such as transportation, water, utilities, and public safety. But we can’t do this alone; which is why we attended SXSW and why we need your help.
With increased connectivity across city systems comes a whole new set of interdependent security challenges for reducing risks and vulnerabilities to our networks and infrastructure. We need to come together to better understand how emerging technologies, like the Internet of Things, will impact local and regional security, which impacts our collective security. As communities invest in smart solutions, S&T wants to work with the technology and policy community to help cities navigate this complex space and help industry deliver solutions that address the inherent gaps of today and the capability needs of the future.
Over the next few months, many of us from S&T will be back on the road meeting with entrepreneurs and governmental leaders to share ideas and discuss the individual roles we can each play in ensuring our communities are smart, safe, and secure. Are you ready to think differently about the role science and technology plays in your community? S&T wants to work with you!