Innovation and Technology Committee

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Chair:

Christine Aspell, Baltimore Office Managing Partner, KPMG LLP, and Steve G. Harris, Vice President & General Manager, Dell Federal Systems


What does the committee do: The Committee pursues several tracks. For some meetings, it engages speakers to keep members informed about trends and developments in the technology industry. For instance, at one meeting the Committee heard from venture capital investors who invested in companies at three stages – startup, mid-development and mature.

The committee planned and held in 2014 the first Maryland Innovation Partners Meeting. The Innovation Partners Meeting paired large “purchaser” companies that were in the market for new technologies and services with innovative young companies that might be able to meet those needs. The event was a joint project of the GBC, Howard Tech Council and Tech Council of Maryland (TCM). The premier sponsor for the event was TEDCO. At the first meeting, eight purchaser companies met with 13 innovative young companies. Approximately eight follow up meetings to continue discussions were scheduled.

The Innovation and Technology Committee has been working with TechShop to help bring this company to Baltimore.

Activities:

  • The Innovation and Technology Committee worked in 2014 as part of a team with the Tech Council of Maryland and the Howard County Tech Council to plan the inaugural Innovation Partners Meeting in June 2014. The meeting matched large purchasing companies with emerging innovative companies, and produced 14 deals between the eight large companies and 13 emerging companies.
  • The committee is also developing a short survey of the GBC member companies to get a sense of which technology issues they see as most important and would like the committee to tackle.
  • A small group of CEOs who have tackled upgrading large technology systems within an institution are serving as advisors to the Baltimore City CIO as he works to improve the City’s technology infrastructure.

2017 Innovation and Technology Committee news:

At its January 10, 2017 meeting, the Innovation and Technology Committee discussed previous efforts to consider a smart lighting pilot project in Baltimore and potential locations for a new pilot project. Additional dialogue focused on supplementary options for a pilot project, including additions that evolve the project from smart light to smart cities (an urban development vision integrating multiple technology solutions to manage a city’s assets). A smart cities pilot project could include technology to accompany smart lighting, including security technology and Wi-Fi capabilities.

The committee then engaged in preliminary discussions regarding ideas where the committee can make a difference. Committee members were asked to further engage their colleagues and peers to learn what the entrepreneurial innovation community needs to be successful. These discussions will be ongoing in the early portion of 2017 with an action plan or measurable efforts to follow.

2016 Innovation and Technology Committee news:

At its December 7, 2016 meeting, the committee discussed a proposal submitted by Silver Spring Networks for the committee’s smart lighting initiative, its vision and mission statement, current innovation and technology inhibitors in the city and action items to embark on for 2017.

The Innovation and Technology Committee discussed the status of the smart lighting initiative at its September 7, 2016 meeting. Committee Chair Craig Bandes began the discussion by providing a brief recap of the previous meeting and highlighted the vendors who presented at previous meetings for the committee members to review. The committee concluded its meeting by agreeing on a course of action and subsequent path moving forward.

The Innovation and Technology Committee heard from GE representatives and its Current initiative, an energy startup that GE launched to help cities navigate through the development of a smart city, at its May 26, 2016 meeting. GE’s technologies, which can be fitted immediately to LED lights in a pilot project, provides video capture, Wi-Fi and pedestrian tracking in addition to immediate notification when fixtures need repair. This would be a starting point for the pilot project. View the presentations here and here.

At its April 6, 2016 meeting the Innovation and Technology Committee discussed ways to integrate its smart lighting pilot program with a similar proposed model around transit hubs. Following the meeting committee members had a successful conference call with potential partners.

The Innovation and Technology Committee held its second meeting with Silver Spring Networks on February 26, 2016 to explore in depth what the construct of a pilot smart light project would look like, how long the pilot would last, licensing details and cost. The next step for the committee is to meet with BGE which owns some of the poles that would be upgraded. BGE already partners with Silver Spring on other projects.  Silver Spring is an international provider of smart grid networks.

The Innovation and Technology Committee, which met on January 12, 2016, has completed its study of possible vendor partnerships and initiatives that would expand access to broadband in Baltimore and initiate a pilot smart city project. The committee will choose a pilot project by next month and then seek funding and implement the project. The goal is to have a completed project – smart lighting, traffic monitoring, public safety augmentation, transit hubs – within a six month period.