Introducing CityWorks: Making a stronger, safer and more resilient Chicago

| Adam J. Hecktman

Disclaimer: CityWorks is now known as City Digital.

Today, Microsoft is delighted to reveal that it is a founding partner in an innovative new smart cities program based in Chicago – CityWorks.

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This initiative will bring together companies, government agencies, research institutions, and civic organizations to develop and validate new solutions in urban infrastructure. Currently, cities like Chicago face many issues from aging physical infrastructure. Examples include challenges like aging roads and sewers, and opportunities like the efficient integration and use of new infrastructures around connectivity and smart grids. Applying emerging technological capabilities to these issues will lead to real improvements in Chicago and cities across the world.

Chicago is a great place to explore innovative approaches to urban infrastructure:

  • We are a major North American transportation hub, with diverse interconnected, intermodal systems.
  • We are a center of research and education, with a new startup being formed every 48 hours and 625,000 students.
  • We’ve already planned for major investments in sustainability and infrastructure.
  • Our City government has a commitment to open up its assets and infrastructure for urban technology experimentation.
  • We are a city of neighborhoods, each with unique priorities and opportunities for experimentation

At Microsoft, through our CityNext program, we work with cities all over the world on technologies that help communities thrive. Our goal in participating in CityWorks is to combine our expertise in leveraging data and information with the experience and knowledge of the other partners to develop solutions relevant to urban infrastructure everywhere. Rich analytic and machine learning capabilities, coupled with the Internet of Things, creates impact in areas from smart buildings to snow plows. In addition, Microsoft has just announced the Azure IoT Suite to speed deployment of key scenarios, such as remote monitoring, asset management and predictive maintenance, while providing the ability to grow and scale solutions to millions of “things.”

We’re particularly excited about how the Chicago community has come together around this initiative. UI LABS, the home of CityWorks, was formed to cultivate and channel innovative talent and resources, foster collaboration across public and private sectors to bring new ideas to market, and drive economic growth and competitiveness. Microsoft is proud to be a member in both of UI LABS initial projects and looks forward to working with our partners to do more together than we could do alone.

Find out more about CityWorks and how the City of Chicago, companies, research institutions, and civic organizations are coming together for urban infrastructure innovation by reading the Crain’s Chicago Business article here.

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Adam J. Hecktman

You may recognize Adam. He’s a regular on TV, you can hear him on the radio, he’s penned numerous articles and is the co-founder of the Chicago City Data Users Group. But some of Adam’s most important work is done behind the scenes in his role as Microsoft’s Director of Technology and Civic Engagement for Chicago. Tech giants, universities and government leaders turn to Adam for guidance on all matters technology, and he happily obliges, helping Chicago overcome challenges and capitalizing on new, exciting opportunities.