How digital transformation affects the people of New York City

Dan Patterson spoke with the deputy CTO for the NYC mayor's office about taking a community-centered approach to digital transformation and cybersecurity, as well as its Moonshot Challenge.

How digital transformation affects the people of New York City

CNET and CBS News Senior Producer Dan Patterson sat down with the deputy CTO for the NYC mayor's office Jeremy Goldberg to discuss taking a community-centered approach to digital transformation and cybersecurity, as well as its Moonshot Challenge. The following is an edited transcript of the interview.

Dan Patterson: New York City is undergoing what we call digital transformation. What this means is that technology impacts almost every aspect of our lives, not just at work, not just at home, but as residents of this municipality. And what's happening in New York City is reflected through other cities or in other cities throughout the country. Help us understand what digital transformation is and how it impacts our lives as New Yorkers.

Jeremy Goldberg: So the mayor's office of the CTO is focused on keeping New Yorkers at the center of technology. And what that means is when we look at all of the really dynamic transformation taking place in and across the five boroughs, we have to ensure that people, that New Yorkers in each of the five boroughs, is a part of the problem solving, a part of the solution and identifying the priorities that the city ought to take when it comes to procuring a technology, deploying it, and really helping to understand what the feedback and the opportunities are to continue to provide opportunity for all New Yorkers from an equity standpoint, from a fairness standpoint, and when it comes to all New Yorkers being able to access the wonderful benefits and opportunities that come with being a part of a modern world.

Dan Patterson: So part of the digital transformation process means securing the digital transformation process. Last fall you announced a Moonshot Challenge as a part of NYCx that includes cybersecurity. Help me understand more about not just cybersecurity but this Moonshot Challenge.

Jeremy Goldberg: Well the programming, the Moonshot Challenge is really built upon a little over a year and a half of work. Our initial moonshot was focused on connectivity and bringing connectivity to Governor's Island. We established a program and a framework for companies, technologists and entrepreneurs from around the world to suggest their new business models, their technologies that could help transform Governors Island into a testbed for innovative solutions, IoT devices, AR, VR, and others. We issued that first challenge in October of 2017. And by July 1st of '18 the network was deployed. And there are today 30 access points available across the island.

SEE: Digital transformation: A guide for CXOs (Tech Pro Research)

That challenge then fed into the follow-up which was focused on climate action, which is a core goal and priority of this administration, reducing carbon emissions in New York City by 80% by 2050. And what we did in this case was we issued a challenge seeking fast-charging electric vehicle technologies from entrepreneurs and technologists from around the world, and invited them in with some outside the box, yet to be commercialized technologies, as well as those that might be off the shelf, and actually learn from them, create these opportunities and spaces across the city to suggest how could the city adopt them quickly and scale them and deploy them rapidly. When we announced that challenge in December of '17, we went through a really compelling competitive process. And by May of 2018 a winner was selected. And I'm really thrilled to share that that company, based out of Germany, called ubitricity, will provide a large-scale deployment over the next two years for fast-charging electric vehicle technology citywide.

Dan Patterson: So fantastic. But help me understand the cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge and how cybersecurity is a priority for the city of New York.

Jeremy Goldberg: Absolutely. And so we built off of these two challenges to really gain learning and understanding and to codify our methods for engaging technology for community and for others. And so when we really looked at the opportunities for cybersecurity and the vulnerabilities that exist in and across our city, we really took that people-centered approach again. And we looked at our small businesses, which are really like the lifeblood of our city. There are 240,000 small businesses across the five boroughs ranging in size and scope. We classify a small business in the city as a company with fewer than 500 employees.

SEE: Security awareness and training policy (Tech Pro Research)

And we looked at this as advantageous, as an opportunity to support those small businesses, while at the same time the city had made a $30 million investment in establishing a commercial cybersecurity hub here in Manhattan. That initiative is led by the New York City Economic Development Corporation in partnership with a set of external operators of this hub. In addition to that, there's a $70 million investment that's being leveraged from private industry. And so when we saw these things taking place, it was really a unique opportunity for us, as a city, to say we can bring these two opportunities and programs together and design a Moonshot. We worked with our small business services organization, we worked with our economic development corporation and with our city's Cyber Command to design a challenge. What we found, and we conducted a survey of small businesses, is that many of them, the large share of them, are operating businesses that are an electronic point of sale, email, online and web-based.

Regrettably and unfortunately, a reality of this is that 62% of those that responded to the survey said either they wouldn't know what to do in the event of a cyberattack or a cyberthreat. They also do not have IT and technical support on staff to be able to assist. So there's some real gaps and some real opportunities. And again, if we think about the way that this city has evolved and grown over time in terms of entrepreneurship and small businesses and growth, small businesses in this case require that added layer of security and protection in the same way that we believe a Fortune 500 is able to afford and able to deliver.

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