May 2017

DigiGirlz NYC #MakeWhatsNext

On Wednesday, May 17th, close to one hundred high school girls from the New York Metro area gathered at the Microsoft 11 Times Square office to be inspired to #MakeWhatsNext.

We had a full agenda for the girls with opening remarks made by Microsoft’s Felicia Guity, General Manager Worldwide Education Channel.  She shared very inspiring words, including but not limited to, women have power and why girls should consider STEM.  This sparked insightful questions from the audience.  One of those questions was by a girl who shared she is very good in math however not much on the technical side and wanted to know how she could incorporate math into a technical company.  Well Felicia answered that there are many opportunities even if someone is not technical, referencing varying roles such as Sales, Finance and Human Resources, which are great roles to utilize math skills.

After opening remarks, the girls went through a rotation of three break-out sessions consisting of an Microsoft Technology Center (MTC) Envisioning Demo, Intro to Coding hosted by ScriptEd and a Career Development/Personal Branding session hosted by Germosen Education Advisors and by IAMCP, respectively.

As I rotated with one of the groups through each session I had the opportunity to coincidentally meet one of the girls who will be attending the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program we will be hosting in our 11 Times Square office, small world!  She took a bus, on DigiGirlz Day and will be doing the same each day of the upcoming GWC program, from where she lives to the 11 Times Square office which took a duration of one and half hours, one way.  That is dedication to STEM!

This same girl participated in one of the demos in the Envisioning Center by getting up to experience the Skype Translation feature.  She spoke Spanish which was then translated in English to the recipient and vice versa.  It was quite an exciting experience for her.

During ScriptEd’s Into to Coding, the girls were taught basics of JavaScript.  The session opened with a group circle for introductions and each girl shared a superpower they wanted to have, many wanted to fly.  By the end of the session, each girl had a new superpower, coding!

IAMCP hosted an insightful session on Personal Branding led by Lisa Eyerkuss, President of Corporate Training Group, Inc., and a college prep session hosted by Julissa Germosen, Founder/CEO of Germosen Education Advisors.

After lunch the girls ended their day with an outstanding career panel moderated by Dr. Felicia Guity, our panelists:

  • Nashira Layade – Senior VP @ Realogy Holdings Corp
  • Maurya Couvare – Co-Founder/Executive Director @ ScriptEd
  • Lisa Eyerkuss – Founder/President @ Corporate Training Group
  • Laurie Carey – Founder @ We Connect the Dots
  • CAT Susch – Technology Architect @ Microsoft Corporation
  • Farah Kirshteyn – Senior A.E. @ Arrow Systems Integration

As our DigiGirlz Day ended, I had an opportunity to ask one of the DigiGirlz what her favorite part of the event was and she shared that it was Intro to Code (she loves coding!) and Personal Branding. She is fairly new to coding and learned a lot of new things. On the Personal Branding, she shared that it was something she never thought of and left that session with some great insights.

WOW!  What a day these girls had, they all left with some great new experiences, new friends and were encouraged throughout the day to be themselves and to #MakeWhatsNext.

Bringing Street Safety to the Next Frontier of Smart Cities

In Microsoft’s Civic Tech Engagement group, we partner with civic organizations and governments not only to create new ways to leverage data and technology to tackle local priorities but also to sustain and scale those innovations across cities and communities. Therefore, we are thrilled to announce that we are partnering with Open Data Nation to lay the groundwork on innovative approaches to applying data science to transportation safety. Open Data Nation will build on the collaborative experimentation of DataKind, Seattle, New York, New Orleans and Microsoft to empower more cities to integrate data science into their Vision Zero programs. We welcome the CEO of Open Data Nation, Carey Anne Nadeau, as a guest blogger to articulate the opportunity and approach for this partnership.  

— Elizabeth Grossman, Director of Civic Projects, Microsoft

Smart city technologies and data science techniques are making incredible and swift leaps forward – from smart sensors that detect smog to analytics that guide efficient water use in times of drought – but in this figurative race to the moon, select cities have been able to get projects off the ground while most others are stranded back on earth.

In a first-of-its-kind partnership between Microsoft and Open Data Nation, we’re tackling this inequity head on, lowering the barriers to entry, and making sure that the benefits of the smart cities movement diffuse to all who may share in and benefit from better, safer, and healthier cities.

We’ve identified a big issue in cities, where a broad-based, adaptable solution can have great impact. In 2016, the number of people who died in a car crash spiked to nearly 18,000, the most since 2008. From Fort Lauderdale to Seattle, at least 40 US cities have recognized that traffic crashes are putting bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers at risk in their communities. And, mayors in each city have signed on to the Vision Zero Initiative, pledging to reduce the number of traffic deaths to zero.

While a common goal to prevent injuries and save lives is clearly articulated, the Vision Zero Initiative is not prescriptive, and each of the 40 cities has taken its own unique approach to traffic safety planning. For example, the three cities that worked with DataKind and Microsoft applied data science techniques to local priorities, identifying factors that contribute to incidents, prioritizing investments, and tracking the impact of interventions (Read more about these three cities in the case study here and many more here).

Over the course of 2017, Open Data Nation will build from these early examples to guide the next frontier of Vision Zero cities to explore a data science approach. First, we’ll work with interested cities to advise them on what data is useful and how to prepare for data analysis. Then, we’ll work with three select cities to build models that predict where and when people are in the most danger of being struck and killed in car crashes.  Along the way, we’ll document the experience, creating relevant guidance that will lower barriers and enable even more cities, who prioritize traffic safety, to try what has already shown to be effective elsewhere.  

As driverless cars come down the pike, our vision for nationwide, real-time predictions of car crashes, could eventually equip vehicles with the safety features and routing technologies necessary to prevent injuries and save lives.

This collaboration represents a giant step forward in the smart city movement — it has matured to a point where best practices may be applied and progress may be shared more broadly. With this partnership, between Open Data Nation and Microsoft, we begin being better stewards for the smarter nation of tomorrow.

To participate as one of the three pilot cities, representatives can submit a brief statement of interest here: (http://www.opendatanation.com/vision-zero).

About Open Data Nation

Open Data Nation combines detailed public records and industry expertise to reveal new, leading indicators of risks that threaten lives and livelihoods in cities. This is not the first time Open Data Nation has made waves by bringing open data initiatives to scale. In 2015, the City of Chicago demonstrated that it was possible to predict health code violations, and today Open Data Nation’s technology helps better police foodborne illness outbreaks and workplace injuries, covering more than 62,000 restaurants.

Fellow Profile: Kaivan Kotval Shroff

Where are you from? Westchester, NY
 
School/grad year/major: Yale School of Management Class of 2017
 
Last thing you searched on Bing: Lorde’s album release date
 
Why did you choose Microsoft’s fellowship program? I’m passionate about finding efficient ways to use big data and institutional power to solve social problems on a mass scale!
 
What’s your favorite civic project in the New York? I’m a big fan of the non-profit Year Up! The organization matches urban young adults with mentors and provides them with job training skills that give them the experience and opportunity they need to reach their full potential. I love how the organization uses corporate partnerships to not only find mentors for students, but to also establish a diverse talent pipeline in industries that may not have a high degree of lower-income and minority representation. This is a highly sustainable and progressive way to meet the needs of business and the underserved.
 
Who is your civic tech mentor/idol? I’m impressed by how Mark Zuckerberg laid out his plan for the future of Facebook as a localized community hub.
 
What excites you about civic tech? Civic tech is an awesome way to empower and access disenfranchised demographics in a cost-effective and scalable way. Millions of us are engaging with our phones and laptops all day every day. Small changes applied on that scale can have critical impact on society and how we engage with one another!
 
What’s one problem you hope civic tech will solve for cities? Police misconduct and abuse

May’s Civic Tech Events

We’re almost halfway through with 2017 — let’s celebrate May with a jam-packed schedule of events:

Every Thursday in May

How to document apartment repair issues using justfix.nyc.

JustFix.nyc is a free website you can use to document the repair issues in your apartment. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s Northern Manhattan Office will host a training to help you create an account and start taking action to resolve your repair issues. Thursday, May 4, May 11, May 18, and May 25, 6 – 8 pm, 431 West 125th St.

May 8

NPC17 DataJam with NYC’s Department of City Planning and BetaNYC

Do you want to improve NYC’s capital planning process?

Can to use your data science and GIS skills to improve NYC capital planning process?

YES!?

Then, join us on Monday, 8 May, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 pm to improve NYC’s Department of City Planning (DCP) Facilities Explorer, a pioneering urban planning open source and open data platform!

May 9

May 2017 NY Tech Meetup and Afterparty – Creative Tech Theme

Join us for NYC’s most famous and longest running monthly tech event! You’ll see a fantastic lineup of New York tech companies presenting live demos of their products, followed by an afterparty where you can network with the community and meet our demoers and sponsors.

This month we are partnering with Creative Tech Week to showcase a select few of their featured experts showing us the latest technologies being put to creative use.

In addition, we’ll have demos from the Top 3 finishers at hackNY’s Spring 2017 hackathon!

May 10

Smart Cities Innovation: Action-Focused Perspectives From Key Leaders

NUMA New York and Civic Hall are at the center of innovation in the civic space and we would like to invite the community to join us for “Smart Cities NYC Recap Event” taking place the week after the summit on Wedesday, May 10th at 6:30pm at Civic Hall (118 W. 22nd St., 12th Floor, Buzz 12A when you arrive).

May 14

Neighborhood Challenge Applications Due

The NYC Department of Small Business Services, along with partners New York City Economic Development Corporation and New York City Business Assistance Corporation, are proud to offer the Neighborhood Challenge Innovation Grant competition.

This year’s Neighborhood Challenge 5.0 competition pairs nonprofit community organizations and tech companies to create and implement tools that address specific commercial district issues. The competition seeks to make awards of up to $100,000 to fund innovative ideas that use data-driven capacity building solutions to improve operations, target services, or address local public policy challenges.

May 18

Databite No. 99: Whitney Phillips and Ryan M. Milner

Data & Society Research Institute is pleased to welcome Whitney Phillips and Ryan M. Milner as they share excerpts and discuss their new release, The Ambivalent Internet: Mischief, Oddity, and Antagonism Online (Polity Press, April 2017).

Successes and Challenges for ICANN and Beyond

Join Chris Mondini of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, to hear how multistakeholder participation helped globalize the Internet and learn what is on the horizon – for Internet addresses, technical coordination, and throny geopolitical issues.

May 23

NYC BigApps 2017 Finalist Expo & Winner Award Ceremony

Join us as we celebrate another exciting year of the NYC BigApps competition! At this culminating event, we will be showcasing the finalists from each of the three BigApps challenges at the Finalist Expo. The Judges will then announce the Grand Prize Winners during the Winner Awards Ceremony, followed by a cocktail reception.

May 24

Civic Hall Presents: NYC Open Data Spring Updates

For this month’s Civic Hall Member Showcase, we are excited to present the NYC Open Data Team!
The NYC Open Data Team recently finished a collaboration with Reboot, doing research on the users of open data and developing different personas to support the team’s upcoming user acquisition efforts. Come see a preview of this research and hear other updates and announcements from the City’s Chief Analytics Officer Dr. Amen Ra Mashariki.

May 25

We Don’t Learn Alone

The apps we build are more important to society and culture than ever, but the way we learn how to make them is often completely anti-social. What could a more connected and human mode look like?
The use of permissioned blockchains in the public sector has the potential to create a new balance point between two extremes: pure algorithmic governance (e.g., Bitcoin) and pure human governance (e.g., your local city council). This talk will explore if and how blockchain can help bring automation, transparency, and audit-ability to the world’s governing systems and institutions. Does the strategic introduction of blockchain-enabled validation mechanisms and smart contracts offer a means for rescuing public confidence in governing institutions while cutting costs and better ensuring fair outcomes per policy? Behlendorf will discuss these and other questions related to blockchain’s coming impact on how we govern.

May 30

Harlem to Haarlem Pitchfest

We’re Having our Harlem 2 Haarlem Pitchfest again this year! we are looking for 3 Harlem based tech companies to present their business to the audience. If you are part of a business that would like to show our Netherlands friends the innovation in Harlem, New York please send an email to siliconharlem@gmail.com.

May 31

Startup Cities — Brad Hargreaves

Join Boston Civic Media’s third annual conference for a day of inspiring keynotes, presentations and networking with peers and community leaders around igniting civic creativity. Dive into topics including media literacy, youth-led advocacy, DIY activist technologies, and creative storytelling. We’ll also be announcing the first ever inter-campus curriculum addressing climate change.

June 8-9

Personal Democracy Forum

This conference will bring together top technologists, campaigners, hackers, government officials, journalists, opinion-makers,  and academics for two days of game-changing talks, workshops, and networking opportunities – celebrating the power and potential of tech to make real change happen.

Microsoft Driving Smart New York City Innovations

I’m excited to join leaders from government, business and startups at this week’s first-ever Smart Cities NYC. As the premier sponsor of this unique event and through our ongoing business, Microsoft is helping customers drive smart-city initiatives around the globe, including many innovations here in New York.

Student wheels

The New York City Department of Education’s Office of Student Support Services (OSSS) “Illumination Program” is architecting some key innovations that leverage the Microsoft cloud, data warehousing and analytics, and artificial intelligence:

  • The New York City Department of Education’s Office of Pupil Transportation, which transports more than 600,000 students each day—the largest school transportation department in the U.S.—recently rolled out a pilot Global Positioning System (GPS) bus monitoring system on 500 school buses to increase efficiency, enhance safety for students, and better address parent and family inquiries and requests. The system is built on Azure and uses Power BI to capture and illustrate real-time information on locations, traffic conditions, students, drivers and attendants entering, riding and exiting a particular bus, and vehicle performance indicators. It monitors day-to-day diagnostics and also identifies which students get on and off the bus at certain times and at certain places so it can improve its routes and increase student safety.

Tech for traffic safety

Through a partnership with DataKind, Microsoft recently completed the Vision Zero Labs Project to develop valuable analytical models and tools to help the cities of New York, New Orleans and Seattle further their work to increase road safety. Vision Zero cities aim to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries to zero, and the more than a year-long Labs project was the first and largest multicity, data-driven collaboration of its kind supporting Vision Zero efforts within the U.S.

Family bonding over Skype

Hackensack University Medical Center was among the first to use Skype for Business to connect parents with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), providing a simple, secure and cost-effective way for families to bond when they cannot be together physically. This video provides a good overview, with more information in For NICU Parents, Skype Provides the ‘Next Best Thing’ and Skype in the NICU.

Better city services

New York City is embracing digital transformation to deliver better services, reduce costs and increase impact. For example:

  • Over 200 languages are spoken in New York City and 49 percent of New York families speak languages other than English at home. Having recently tested and proven that Microsoft Translator can handle many translation needs at little to no cost (as compared to $4 per minute for call-center translators), the city is now exploring how this technology and Surface devices could manage these conversations more effectively and efficiently. Translator also helps break the language barrier for schoolchildren learning English as a second language.

Supporting startups; training tech professionals

As our city looks for new ways to compete in the global economy, Microsoft is supporting local startups and training New Yorkers for good-paying tech jobs.  

  • Dedicated to fostering an ongoing engagement and dialogue between Microsoft and the local developer and startup community, New York’s Reactor provides a community space for connections, resources and talent. Located at leading startup incubator Grand Central Tech (GCT), Microsoft keeps regular office hours, with casual conversations in the GCT Hub area often leading to more engagement with the roughly 90 startups and entrepreneurs based there. By connecting with startups in their early phases, Microsoft experts can help address technical challenges and architect solutions.
  • In 2015, Microsoft joined with the City of New York to launch a first-of-its-kind, $10 million public-private partnership designed to support the growth of the city’s tech ecosystem. As part of that effort, Microsoft created the Tech Jobs Academy (TJA), an intensive, 18-week technical training program for unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers to gain the skills needed for in-demand tech jobs. Of the roughly 500 applicants to the first and second TJA cohorts, 50 were accepted into the program and 47 graduated, with the majority now working full-time in significantly higher paying tech careers.

These are just a few examples of our smart-city solutions, which are making New York an even smarter, more vibrant place to live and work. Please learn more at:

Real stories of digital transformation.

As general manager of the Enterprise & Partner Group for Microsoft’s New York Metro District, Laura A. Clayton McDonnell is focused on driving positive results, growing market share, developing high performance teams, and transforming customers and culture. She has held executive-level roles at Aspect Software, IBM, Rational Software, Sun Microsystems, Cisco and Apple, and previously was in a private corporate and securities law practice. Clayton McDonnell received a bachelor of science degree, with distinction, from San Jose State University, and a JD-MBA from the University of California, Berkeley. She is admitted to the bar in Washington, D.C., and California, and received the 2008 YWCA Silicon Valley Tribute to Women Award. Clayton McDonnell is a member of the Women’s Forum of New York, an advisory committee member of the 92Y’s Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact, and a member of the board of directors of the Metro NY Chapter of the USNC for United Nations Women.