2014 was a year of accomplishment and transition for the Seattle Department of Information Technology.

The Annual Report also shows what DoIt has learned about internet access and use in Seattle

The Annual Report also shows what DoIt has learned about internet access and use in Seattle

Seattle Channel took home many Emmy Awards. DoIT laid the groundwork for Seattle’s national leadership on our municipal Privacy Principles and Toolkits. We also transferred just over 55% of the City’s 102,000 Web pages into our Content Management System (CMS) and ramped up the migration to the cloud in Office 365.

You can read about these accomplishments and more in the City of Seattle Department of Information Technology 2014 Annual Report.

The projects, metrics and analytics that were either started or completed in 2014 you can find them: our digital cities survey, the technology access and adoption report, infrastructure enhancements, WMBE purchasing, uptime statistics and much more.

2014 was a year where DoIT moved forward with major projects that will take years for completion, while, at the same time, accomplishing some very distinguished goals within the calendar year. The City of Seattle Department of Information Technology 2014 Annual Report  is an user-friendly accounting of DoIt’s accomplishments, metrics and outlook for the future.

http://techtalk.seattle.gov/2015/07/30/18462/

Shaping Seattle Lets You Swipe Through The Construction

Construction. Sometimes it seems like it’s happening everywhere in the City of Seattle.

A wide aerial view of active Seattle development projects that require Design Review.

A wide road view of active Seattle development projects that require Design Review

Now, with a new online map, you can easily keep up with every project on your desktop, laptop or mobile device.

Mayor Ed Murray announced Shaping Seattle: Buildings, a new interactive tool from the Department of Planning and Development. It’s an interactive, online map that provides locations and detailed information of active Seattle development projects that require Design Review.

An aerial view of projects in the South Lake Union area of Seattle.

An aerial view of projects in the South Lake Union area of Seattle.

Shaping Seattle: Buildings offers both road (blue) and aerial views (above).

The interactive map gives you many detailed options and opportunities to comment online and in person.

The interactive map gives you many detailed options and opportunities to comment online and in person.

The app gives users the ability to:

  • View proposed building design and project status
  • Download project documents
  • Comment on the project
  • View upcoming public meetings about the project

You can click on any project and it brings up more detail including the timeline and any upcoming public meetings.

The app was designed using a mobile first approach and uses location awareness. The app was developed with flexibility to scale and add new map layers and additional data sets. It was developed by the IT team of Ken Schell, Julie Gephart, Reiko Feinstein and Tara Zaremba in collaboration with key business staff. From concept through implementation, the team delivered in just under 4 months.

Seattle Channel Launches Non Partisan Video Voters’ Guide

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This year residents of Seattle will vote for City Council candidates by geographic district. This measure, passed by voters in 2013, has brought forth forty-seven different candidates running for the nine council seats. In total, there are 62 candidates running for Seattle and King County offices.

With ballots for the August 4 primary election arriving in your mailbox this week, The Seattle Channel is launching the 2015 primary election Video Voters’ Guide.

votersguide2The non-partisan video guide offers candidates on the primary ballot up to two minutes to issue a prepared statement that outlines the key planks of their platform. The segments are unedited and published online and broadcast on local television. In all, the guide features video statements from 62 candidates for Seattle and King County elected offices. Only positions where three or more candidates filed will appear on the primary ballot.

The Video Voters’ Guide is available on Seattle Channel’s website at www.seattlechannel.org/elections. For easy reference, the candidate statements are organized by race.

“The Video Voters’ Guide is a unique and valuable public resource. It allows voters to hear directly from the candidates in a noncommercial, unmoderated and unedited environment,” said John Giamberso, Seattle Channel’s general manager. “Working with our partners, we’re pleased to provide this comprehensive set of candidate statements which offers another vantage point for voters. The guide brings to life the candidates and the issues in a convenient format.”

The Video Voters’ Guide features candidates who will appear on the primary ballot for Seattle City Council and Seattle School Board. Seven City Council members will be elected by district, with two others elected citywide. That means city voters will vote for three City Council members: one to represent the district they live in and two to represent the city at large.

The guide also features candidates who will appear on the primary ballot for seats on the Port of Seattle Commission and director of the King County Department of Elections.

The Video Voters’ Guide is also airing on Seattle Channel cable channel 21 and King County TV cable channel 22.

cityclublogoThe two-minute video statements from candidates running for Seattle City Council are also featured in Seattle CityClub’s Living Voters Guide (www.livingvotersguide.org), a non-partisan, community-generated online voters’ guide that offers a space for online discussion.

Primary ballots must be postmarked or returned to a ballot drop box by 8 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 4.

Before the Nov. 3 general election, a revised version of the Video Voters’ Guide will be available. The revised guide will feature candidates appearing on the November general election ballot and statements regarding ballot issues.

The Video Voters’ Guide is a project of Seattle Channel, Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission and King County TV.

Seattle Channel is a local TV station that reflects, informs and inspires the community it serves. Seattle Channel presents programs on cable television – channel 21 on Comcast (321 HD) and Wave (721 HD) – and via the Internet to help residents connect with their city. Programming includes series and special features highlighting the diverse civic and cultural landscape of the Pacific Northwest’s premier city.

Community Stories: A Decade Celebrating Diversity

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Seattle Channel is celebrating 10 years of “Community Stories”, the documentary series that spotlights Seattle communities with a focus on diversity and inclusion.

In her blog, Community Stories producer Shannon Gee writes, “Since that first summer in 2005, Community Stories has told inspiring stories from all over the city. We met the tireless volunteers at Seattle’s VA Hospital; saw how Helping Link teaches computer literacy skills and English to Vietnamese immigrants; and followed the Post-Prison Education Program, which provides college tuition for ex-cons.”

She adds, “We met a lot of firsts, too. Harold Mills, the first African American hydroplane racer at Seafair. Bonnie Beers, the city of Seattle’s first female firefighter. Dr. Ruby Shu, the first Japanese American female doctor in Seattle. We examined history with the story of slain Seattle Filipino American and fishing cannery activists Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes and looked back at how Seattle responded to the emerging AIDS crisis in the 1980s. We said hello to new Hillman City coffee shop Tin Umbrella and goodbye to the beloved Bailey/Coy Books on Broadway.”

In 10 years, Community Stories has been honored with more than 30 Northwest Emmy™ nominations, including five for the series overall, and 10 wins. The latest win was this year. Ian Devier won a Northwest Regional Emmy Award for his editing of “Honor Totem.” The awards didn’t end there.

honortotemyoutubepicIn June, the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) recognized the Seattle Channel with a 2015 Kaleidoscope Award, which honors outstanding achievements in the coverage of diversity. “Honor Totem” is a documentary which chronicled the carving of a totem pole to honor John T. Williams, a First Nations woodcarver who was fatally shot by a Seattle police officer in August 2010. It also detailed the artistic legacy of his family.

Congratulations to Shannon Gee, Ian Devier and everyone at Seattle Channel for 10 years of quality storytelling. Here’s to many more years of celebrating the stories of people who are often overlooked and ignored, but that doesn’t make their voices any less important.

If you’d like to submit story input, want further information or might have a suggestion for Community Stories, please contact Community Stories Senior Producer Shannon Gee at  shannon.gee@seattle.gov

City of Seattle releases municipal broadband feasibility report

The City of Seattle today released the City of Seattle Fiber-to-the-Premises Feasibility Study, a feasibility study originally commissioned in December 2014 as part of Mayor Ed Murray’s three-part broadband internet strategy.

Read the report here.

“Broadband internet service is a necessity in the 21st century but many Seattle residents don’t have equal access,” said Michael Mattmiller, Chief Technology Officer for the City of Seattle. “This report builds on past studies and take a comprehensive look at whether the City could provide universal broadband service in today’s landscape that is affordable, competitive and equally accessible to everyone.”

In the study, the consultant examined the feasibility of a municipal broadband delivery model, focusing on:

  • Reviewing the financial feasibility of constructing and operating a municipal broadband network in Seattle;
  • Evaluating the services and applications that are most likely to be utilized over a high-capacity data network; and
  • Analyzing current market conditions to gauge consumer interest in a broadband service and the current offerings in the market place.

Less than estimated in previous studies, the report estimates a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) build out to cost $480 – $665 million. To cover these costs, market penetration at monthly service charge of $75 would need to exceed 40 percent, higher than the take rates achieved by any other municipal broadband utility in the country.

Additional findings include:

  • The study found that the most feasible approach to constructing and operating a successful municipal broadband utility would be through a joint venture, where the City would work with a partner to create a service that allows the City to maintain its status as a technology leader and provide equity to the public.
  • The study looked into the impacts that service price changes, even as minimal as $5, would make on customer subscriber rate and city finances. With a smaller customer base or prices below a $75 monthly charge, financials deteriorate quickly and the City is exposed to significant potential losses. With a proposed service price increase of just $10, raising it to $85 per month, the study found customer interest fell significantly, also exposing the city to substantial risk.
  • Incumbents and competitors are moving into the market, offering high-speed and gigabit service to increasing number of customers.
  • More than 80 percent of respondents indicated that internet is an essential service, while 30 percent indicated that it is affordable.

Mayor Murray unveiled his three-step broadband approach in June 2014, which he has worked on continuously in that time to reduce regulatory barriers, explore public/private partnerships and examine municipal broadband. Read more here.

The City’s broadband study was performed by CTC Technology & Energy, an independent communications and engineering consulting firm with more than 25 years of experience. CTC was paid $180,000 to complete the study.

 

WAVE Broadband cable customers: We want to hear from you!

 

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Seattle’s cable franchise with WAVE expires in 2017.

We’re gathering community input as we prepare for negotiating the new franchise.

Join our first community meeting on the WAVE franchise renewal:

Monday, June 8, 2015
6 – 7:30 pm
Douglass-Truth Library
23rd & Yesler, Seattle, WA

Can’t make this meeting? There are other ways to share input:

e-mail: cableoffice@seattle.gov
telephone: 206-684-8498

For more information, visit www.seattle.gov/cable/franchiserenewal.

Literally Checking The Internet Out of the Library

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In the beginning it was books, then audio, then video. Years later, downloads were available on your own device. Now, you can check the internet out of the Seattle Public Library. Not ‘check out’ as in connect online at the library. You can literally go to your Seattle Public Library branch, check out the internet and take it home with you.

The SPL Hot Spot, also known as the Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot

The SPL Hot Spot, also known as the Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot

Seattle Public Library is now offering the ‘SPL Hot Spot’ for you to check out and take home for 21 days at a time. You check it out just like you would a book, CD, DVD or any other library item.

Thanks to a $225,000 grant from Google, anyone with a Library card can now check out Wi-Fi hotspot devices to use at home for free.

“Broadband is becoming a necessity to be successful in today’s world,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “Whether applying for a job, completing a homework assignment or paying a bill, you need access to the Internet. Thanks to the Library’s partnership with Google, this new initiative will help hundreds of Seattle families check out their own Wi-Fi hotspot.”

There is a need. A 2014 city of Seattle Information Technology Access and Adoption report revealed that over 90,000 Seattle residents lacked Internet access at home. When household income dropped to under $20,000, approximately 57 percent reported having no access.

Borrowing the device is free. However, if you damage it or fail to return the hot spot, a $199 charge will be applied to your library account. You can return the hotspot to any Library location or book drop, just like other items. You must return the device with all the original packaging and accessories. Please fully charge the battery before you return the device.

The Seattle Public Library currently provides more than 800 Internet computers across 27 locations, which are heavily used. Each location also offers free Wi-Fi.

A Civic Cocktail Double Feature: City of SeattleTechnology and Movies

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Across the country, big cities are investing in technology to connect people, improve cities and make government more effective. Cities, including Seattle, are hosting hackathons, developing technology plans and innovating alongside entrepreneurs and startups. What makes Seattle unique in civic tech and what can we learn from other cities? Microsoft’s directors of technology and civic engagement/innovation in Boston, Cathy Wissink, and Chicago, Adam Hecktman, will join Rebecca Lovell, the city of Seattle’s startup liaison, to discuss how technology can power civic engagement and innovation.

May’s Civic Cocktail is a double feature. The second half is a one-on-one conversation with Seattle International Film Festival’s Artistic Director Carl Spence one week before SIFF kicks off. Spence will talk to host Joni Balter about the popular film festival and what to expect this year. Recognized as one of the top film festivals in North America, the Seattle International Film Festival (May 14 – June 7, 2015) is the largest, most highly attended film festival in the United States reaching more than 150,000 annually.

A panel of journalists will join the discussion: Crosscut’s Drew Atkins and Florangela Davila, Geekwire’s Monica Guzman, The Stranger’s Charles Mudede, Puget Sound Business Journal’s Emily Parkhurst and KIRO radio’s Tom Tangney

Civic Cocktail – presented by Seattle Channel, Seattle CityClub and Crosscut – offers a night of networking, civic conversation, Tom Douglas appetizers and a no-host bar.

If you can’t make it, you can watch the Civic Cocktail panels the day after on the Seattle Chanel. Watch past Civic Cocktails here.