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Michigan joins Cisco's digital acceleration program

As Michigan’s largest cities push to encourage autonomous vehicles and digital transformation,  Gov. Rick Snyder wants to spread some of that innovation across the state through a partnership with Cisco.

On Oct. 30, Michigan announced it would join Cisco's State Digital Acceleration program to improve the state’s connected roadways, create a citizen-centric government and smart communities, develop the workforce of the future and spur the digital economy.

In collaboration with the Michigan Department of Transportation, Cisco will pilot its Connected Roadways technology to enhance passenger and roadside worker safety.

The program connects disparate intelligent transportation systems to improve traffic flow by providing a centralized view of highway systems, including road conditions, traffic, construction and transit information. 

Connected Roadways' converged network infrastructure supports  roadside equipment -- from transit signals to video cameras and lights -- as well as computer-aided dispatch, automated vehicle location technology, dedicated short-range communications, network management, data analytics and wireless bulk data transfer, according to the company's website.

With a centralized view of highway systems, transportation managers can improve traffic flow, reduce roadside incidents, and reduce operating and maintenance costs, the company said.

Connected Roadways also allows vehicles equipped with DSRC to transmit information on hazardous road conditions that can be communicated in real time to other drivers.  That means vehicles encountering slippery conditions could send information to a central traffic management center that could then display alerts on dynamic message signs or feed the information back to the dashboards of other cars automatically using DSRC technology.

The technology takes advantage of sensors and systems that currently only a few vehicles have and shares the data they collect with the general public using signage or other visual displays, Michelle Maggiore, transportation business development for Cisco’s Smart and Connected Communities, told GCN. 

“We think that our first implementation in Michigan will be around roadside worker safety to enhance safety in work forces and for the passengers themselves,” she said.

Other elements of the State Digital Acceleration program include a partnership with the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget to improve delivery of citizen services through a converged network platform.

The company also will work with Wayne State University on its Smart/Digital Manufacturing Center in Detroit that focuses on advancing innovation in automation and robotics. In a partnership with Michigan State University, Cisco said it will help develop the next generation of global supply chain processes.

To address the IT skills gap, Cisco plans to enroll 8,000 students by 2020 in its Networking Academy.

“We’re continuing to build our talent and make Michigan the home for innovation, career opportunities and economic expansion,” Snyder said. “This unique partnership with Cisco is an opportunity to collaborate on accelerating some of the great initiatives already in place, as well as championing new ideas and solutions that will further our commitment to being a digital leader in the nation.”  

The State Digital Acceleration initiative is Cisco’s first attempt to narrow its country-focused program.  The first Country Digital Acceleration program in France helped government agencies provide digital skills education, cybersecurity collaborations, smart city pilots and incubator programs for digital startups.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at sfriedman@gcn.com or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.


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