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News & Press: General News

City of Long Beach Technology and Innovation Department: At the Forefront of Government Technology

Tuesday, January 23, 2018  
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While the City of Long Beach arguably is more well-known for its bustling seaport, a gateway to the Pacific Rim through which $140 billion in trade moves annually, recent innovations have put the City on the map for its commitment to leveraging new technology to improve community services.

 

“Technology that helps us remove boundaries and facilitate the seamless movement of information not only increases productivity and speed, but also encourages collaboration and innovation. Every City department, from animal care services to police, is using new technology to simplify and enhance services to our community,” said the City of Long Beach City Manager Patrick West.

 

Earlier this year, the City of Long Beach received the 2017 Special Achievement in Geographic Information System Award for its GeoSpatial and Open Data Portal, DataLB, an innovative map-based tool that connects the public to the City’s extensive collection of data. Designed to help users explore, visualize and download public data, DataLB enables development of new web and mobile applications. The Open Data Portal is one among many tech-forward city-service initiatives implemented by the award-winning City of Long Beach Technology and Innovation Department.

 

“As an agency, we cannot provide every solution, but we can be the aggregator and connect the public to information that is useful to them,” said MISAC member Bryan Sastokas, City of Long Beach Chief Information Officer and Director of Technology and Innovation. “When we created DataLB, it was meant to connect the individual to the appropriate sources. Our department is finding that those connections are what is useful to the community.”

 

The City of Long Beach Technology and Innovation Department (TID) is organized into three main bureaus: customer service, infrastructure services and business information services. Core services provided include support for business information systems and geographic information systems, internal technology help desk and data communications systems management. Like DataLB, each technology implemented by the TID is intended to enhance public services. The department operates through a three-component approach that integrates people, process and technology to ensure public services are efficient and engaging.

 

“If we look at problems through the user perspective, we are able to develop helpful solutions. When we link people, process and technology in our approach, our solutions are not just internally focused; the community is involved. Connectivity makes for a successful solution,” said Sastokas.

 

The TID works across city departments to ensure technology is applied to government services effectively. Previously, the department has collaborated with law enforcement to support public safety by implementing the Long Beach Common Operating Picture (LBCOP), a system that combines law enforcement data with real-time video monitoring and helps police officers address criminal activity as it happens. 

 

The department regularly receives input from the Technology and Innovation Commission, a community-based commission established in 2014. The commission was formed to advise the City on issues concerning technology and innovation such as the operation of new technology and the effectiveness of technology management. The seven-member commission meets on the last Wednesday of every month; it is key in the City’s effort to involve the community in technology matters and decisions. 

 

“Engaging the community is how we are able to activate solutions instead of just throwing tech at the problem. The community offers their ideas and we leverage them,” said Jasmine Frost, City of Long Beach Technology and Innovation Department Bureau Manager, a current MISAC member and Past President of MISAC’s Northern Chapter.

 

BizPort, the City of Long Beach online business portal, is another technology innovation intended to engage the community. BizPort is a community-driven development designed to facilitate the startup process for new business owners and to provide resources to help existing business owners succeed. Since October 2016, entrepreneurs have been using the portal to plan, launch and grow their businesses in Long Beach.   

 

“BizPort is not simply a way for people to go online and submit business license applications. It really guides people through the process of what it means to be an entrepreneur in Long Beach and connects them to information that can help them succeed,” said Sastokas. “Our mission is to ensure that technology is not only accessible to our residents and employees, but that it really improves our services and engages our community.”

 

The City of Long Beach is frequently awarded for its innovation in government technology. Recently, the Center for Digital Government (CDG) announced the City as a winner of the 2017 Digital Cities Survey. For more information about the City of Long Beach Technology and Innovation Department, visit the website.


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