Brenna Berman, commissioner and CIO of Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT), sheds light on Chicago’s journey towards becoming a smart city. The initiative combines technology and data to find solutions like providing civic-data transparency, real-time weather, and environmental data to residents.

Some of our key takeaways from the conversation:

  1. The Idea of a Smart City:
    Chicago has been witnessing economic challenges in new digital manufacturing, skill shifts, and also a shift in population demographics. Brenna’s idea of a smart city comprises having a responsive government towards its residents, tourists, and the local businesses.
  2. Technology and Data in Chicago:
    Technology assists in gaining a better understanding and engagement in the process of making better policies and finding structural solutions. Chicago’s Open Data Portal is a powerful tool which strives to provide its citizens transparency in civic data.
  3. Solution Towards Becoming a Smart City:
    City services being made available online and creating a digital infrastructure are among the few goals of the Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology. The new grid app has made Chicago’s civic data finding more user-friendly.

Below are some of the key points and moments from the conversation:

  • 2:00 – Brenna chalked out the key factors that make a city a “smart city.” These include: technology, data, and IoTs
  • 3:15 – Cities around the world are looking for infrastructural, transportation, and economic solutions and technology can help find them
  • 4:59 – Chicago boasts of being one of the first cities in the US having an Open Data Portal that gives people access to public infrastructural data
  • 8:37 – Chicago doesn’t wait for other levels of government and is responsible for its future
  • 10:15 – A few months ago the department came up with the whole new OpenGrid app
  • 13:20 – The Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology uses its own data to make decision-making easier
  • 18:45 – Chicago launched the Array of Things that has sensor nodes installed across the city to provide real-time data on the city’s environment and infrastructure
  • 26:50 – The IoT Council was launched in March 2015 that brings businesses together with the focus of how IoTs help in disrupting the economy of Chicago


Commissioner and CIO of DoIT