#SMARTer Together Webinar Series - June Recap

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By: Ashlee Bryant

In June, Georgia Tech’s Smart Cities and Inclusive innovation Initiative continued the second month of webinars with the #SMARTer Together webinar series.

In the June 4th webinar, Ada Gavrilovska and Ellen Zegura, professors in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech, Julie Walker, State Librarian, Associate Vice Chancellor for Libraries, University System of Georgia, and Sokwoo Rhee, Associate Director for CPS Innovation, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), discussed the state of internet connectivity in our communities and some of the technologies being used to equalize access in rural and hard to reach communities. They noted the need to provide new bandwidth and free internet access to more communities, both rural and urban. Taking into considerations each area’s set of challenges, the panelists discussed several current projects such as Gavrilovska’s project of working with edge computing software systems; the TV White Space pilot project implemented in the Twin Lakes library system in Milledgeville, Georgia; and efforts to democratize connectivity, some of which include bringing connectivity to Native American reservations in California and New Mexico.

On June 11th, Danika Tynes, Senior Research Associate, Georgia Tech Research Institute; Lisa Coleman, Senior Vice President, Global Inclusion and Strategic Innovation, New York University; Shelton Goode, Owner, Icarus Consulting; and Kalahn-Taylor Clark, Global Head, Patient Solutions, Sanofi Pharmaceuticals, and Claire Angelle, Founder, Angelle Consulting, discussed the digital divide and the challenges and opportunities in bringing the internet to all. They noted the increased divide between access and demand in various contexts, such as the Pandemic (pre, during, and post pandemic), the transgenerational digital divide, the racial and economic divide in Georgia, and the need to close the gap between clinical trial space and patients to obtain more holistic information from the patient. Methods to close this divide were illustrated by programs such as: Telehealth, Teeniors, and implementing programs that explore ecommerce and other digital solutions that help build local resilience and changing policy/laws to bridge the existing and emerging digital divide.

On June 18th, Dr. Brendan Saltaformaggio, Assistant Professor, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and School of Computer Science, Georgia Tech; Tim Callan, Senior Fellow, Sectigo; Eric Toler, Executive Director, Georgia Cyber Center; and Eric Lopez, Research Analyst, Association of County Commissioners of Georgia, discussed the importance of cybersecurity and privacy. The panelists focused on the critical issues of cybersecurity and privacy when virtual work becomes the expected standard. They also discussed the larger impact from a research, industry and local government perspective and the possible strategies and solutions to address the systems and personal vulnerabilities in this new age.

In our final webinar on June 25th, Dr. Clio Andris, Assistant Professor, School of City & Regional Planning and Interactive Computing, Georgia Tech; Tommy Pearce, Executive Director, Neighborhood Nexus; and moderator, Blaine Williams, City Manager, Athens-Clarke County Unified Government, discussed how data can be used to make better, more informed decisions in our local governments and communities. Community data is a critical piece of our public infrastructure, ensuing the alignment of programs and policies to community needs. It becomes more critical in understanding our citizens when our physical movements and interactions are limited. Clio Maria Andris shared her analysis on spatial networks and Friendly Cities. Tommy Pearce discussed how Neighborhood Nexus leverages community data to help mission-driven organizations ask the right questions, use the best data, tell compelling stories, and make informed decisions.

To view presentation slides and video recordings of all #SMARTer Together webinars, click here.

The #SMARTer Together webinar series will resume in September!


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