Frequently Asked Questions

What is Connected DMV?

Connected DMV is an initiative that helps communities, governments, and businesses work together to improve how the region runs. It is striving for unprecedented region-wide collaboration and is focused on digital technology solutions that boost prosperity and serve the public good.

What kind of technology projects will it pursue?

The technologies pursued by Connected DMV will take many forms, from an app on your phone to a device installed on a street corner, but they will always have some public benefit. Our vision for a smart region starts with technologies that help more people connect to the internet, make cellular data faster, and give governments information about what is going on in their jurisdiction. These include a super-fast cellular network such as 5G and various kinds of environmental sensors with secure systems for data management and analysis. Greater connectivity creates a foundation for additional technologies; for example, 4G made Lyft and Uber possible and 5G will enable self-driving vehicles.

Specific technology projects will be chosen through a robust and collaborative planning process after Connected DMV completes its current strategy design phase.

Why take a comprehensive approach? Why not start with one cool thing?

Thinking ahead and having a plan can save valuable time and money down the road while providing a better result to residents. We want to avoid a patchwork of technologies that don’t work together or that require redundant systems or parts.

Why should governments across the region work together on this?
There are big incentives for communities to sync up and participate in a regional plan. Governments can speed up bringing new technologies to their communities by cutting down redundant work and streamlining processes. They can make tax dollars go further by participating in large contracts that bring down costs. They can make sure that the technologies they pursue are consistent across towns, giving end users a seamless experience with technology.

How will Connected DMV improve the business environment?

Companies doing business in an area with a forward-looking, innovative, and purposeful development agenda are more likely to thrive in the long-run compared to those in regions with poor amenities and weak social inclusion. Regional digital solutions at scale create new market demand for private sector solutions and financing. Improving quality of life in Greater Washington will make it easier for our businesses to attract and retain great talent. Better integrating training and education with the needs of the region can expand the talent pipeline. Reliable infrastructure and access to quality housing and other amenities makes workers more productive.

How will Connected DMV make this happen?

Connected DMV is working with community, government, and business leaders from across the region to co-create an operational model that coordinates how we plan, build, and deliver digital technology solutions. This involves streamlining activities such as as setting standards, vetting solutions, and managing contracts.

How does this improve quality of life in the region?

Greater connectivity and the innovations that follow have the potential to improve transportation, energy use, public safety, and many other dimensions of metropolitan life.

Technologies for connectivity and data collection can give local governments the information they need to make better decisions; for example, an accurate understanding of how traffic flows between Alexandria and neighboring Arlington can help those city governments more wisely allocate tax dollars to road repair.

A smart region can deliver hundreds of digital solutions that make daily life easier, safer, more sustainable, and more productive for residents and visitors. A few examples include public WiFi, air pollution alerts, smart parking apps, intelligent traffic signals that better manage traffic flow, and gunshot detectors that automatically notify police.

The following outcomes are typical of smart city projects observed around the world:

  • 15-20 percent reduction in commute times
  • 30-40 percent reduction in crime
  • 20-35 percent improvement in emergency response time
  • More efficient use of energy and water
  • More meaningful citizen engagement

Who is involved?

Connected DMV was founded by the Washington metropolitan area’s premier business, government, and academic community organizations.

  • The Greater Washington Board of Trade (Board of Trade) represents nearly 300 organizations, from nonprofits to construction companies, law firms, technology companies, and professional services firms. The Board of Trade serves as the movement’s program lead.
  • The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) represents 300 government officials across 24 local jurisdictions. COG will help to build a supportive and consistent public policy framework so that new technologies align with regional priorities and don’t stop working at jurisdictional borders.
  • The Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area (Consortium) represents 17 academic institutions and nearly 290,000 students. The Consortium will help ensure that the region’s education and training programs prepare students and the workforce for future employment opportunities and that university research and development programs are integrated into regional planning, testing, and solutions.

Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is a strategic partner. It will draw upon its experience as a cross-jurisdictional transit authority to help the movement navigate legal, policy, and regulatory issues; identify smart transit projects already underway; and explore methods to accelerate deployment of regional digital solutions.

The Military District of Washington (MDW) / Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region (JFHQ-NCR) is also a strategic partner. It is an office of the US Armed Forces that is responsible for security and emergency response within the Washington D.C. area and will advise Connected DMV on issues related to security, public safety, and resilience.

Over 150 organizations from a variety of sectors are participating in Connected DMV through the program’s Solution Groups.

What are Solution Groups?

The Board of Trade is facilitating 18 Solution Groups which each have between 5 and 20 participants who are mostly employees of Board of Trade member companies. They are volunteering their time and sharing their intellectual capital.

Each Solution Group is dedicated to a topic of critical importance to the Connected DMV strategy. Some are focused on the outcomes that Connected DMV seeks to achieve, like improving health and wellness in our communities or improving sustainability. Others are focused on the operational capabilities that the program should have, such as systems for ensuring cybersecurity and social inclusion. The Solution Groups are continuously providing recommendations to the Connected DMV strategy design team.

How is this different from other smart city approaches?

Smart city programs are being implemented across the world with varying models and degrees of traction. Our approach is unique in several ways:

  • Inspiration: This movement is driven by outcomes for businesses and every-day people, not by the existence of new technologies.
  • Scope: Most smart city projects are single-municipality solutions while this movement spans 24 local jurisdictions.
  • Focus: Most smart cities focus on individual projects or pilots while this movement is focused on building a foundation that can support any number of smart projects that are needed.
  • Partnership Model: Most smart cities are led by city hall or the private sector while this movement is a regional collaboration among local government, the private sector, and academia.

What are the next steps for the program?

The next step for Connected DMV is to finish designing the model for how it would coordinate regional, digital technology projects while supporting broad collaboration. The program plans to test and improve this model with elected officials, business leaders, and other potential project stakeholders through a series of in-depth roundtable discussions using theoretical technology projects. With this foundation in place, the region can begin to explore hundreds of smart applications that make daily life easier, safer, more sustainable, and more productive for the region’s citizens.

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