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And We’re Off!

 By Sue Spradley

Dear Friends,

After our launch on June 14th, we thought the summer was supposed to be a “slower” time. I’ve got to say, though, for us it’s been anything but! That’s a good thing.

This is the first of what will be a quarterly newsletter with our US Ignite partners and communities, and we’re thrilled to have so much to talk about so soon after our launch.

Of greatest importance is that we’ve had the opportunity to connect with many of you at events across the country and on the phone.  As committed, we have kick-started initiatives with ten of our partner communities who are ready to engage and launch next-generation applications on their networks in the near term.

And we have begun to compile, document, and share “the best of the best” applications we discover from across the US Ignite network–from communities, universities, industry partners, and the Mozilla Ignite competition. Our vendor partners have stepped in to engage actively, and we’re excited to welcome new partners at Extreme Networks andSan Leandro, CA. Please follow our progress on US-Ignite.orgFacebook, and Twitter, and be ready as we begin rolling out to additional communities early next year. 

A few highlights of our community-based activities include the following:

  • In Lafayette, the city's children will begin a journey focused not only on traditional STEM but rather STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) education with the benefit of the 3D animation and modeling tools available through the leadership of the Louisiana Immersive Technology Enterprise (LITE)the public school superintendent, Lafayette Utility Services, University of Louisiana Lafayette, and FiberCorps. Lafayette has also completed its first US Ignite brainstorming event to foster the creation of applications for a “Living Lab for Health Innovations” program.
  • The “GigTank” in Chattanooga brought together more than 350 innovators, developers, entrepreneurs and investors to demo next-generation applications. The prize-winning application from Banyan promises to dramatically enhance remote scientific collaboration. Chattanooga also hosted “Hackanooga” – a Mozilla Ignite hackathon – recently, during which nine teams developed demos over an intense three-day period. One team led by Big Blue Button combined the power of ultra-fast networks with new web standards such as HTML5 and WebRTC to create a robust remote classroom experience. Another proposed a new sustainable public media model involving the aggregation of hyper-local content.
  • In Urbana-Champaign, the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois partnered with US Ignite to receive a grantfrom the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The grant will be used to enhance understanding of how libraries can adopt and use next-generation Internet networks, and ultimately provide better and more robust service to library patrons.
  • Kansas City’s Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) and University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) began working with US Ignite to explore development of next-generation applications in education, public safety, transportation, and health information technologies. KUMC is developing an innovative application to enhance in-home monitoring and care of Alzheimer patients.
  • In Cleveland, US Ignite presented technology trends, asking “Is a Gigabit Enough?” and viewed the latest developments in “Connected Video Collaboration” and remote brain surgery demonstrated on the OneCommunity network at the truly exceptional “Gigabit Breakfast” hosted at Case Western Reserve University.
  • In Utah, the Chief Technology Officer for the UTOPIA gigabit cities is stepping up as a community organizer for the Utah region and opened doors for US Ignite at BYU and Utah Valley University where students are being encouraged to code US Ignite apps as senior capstone projects. UTOPIA is also a partner with a new NSF US Ignite grant with Idaho for public safety.
  • In partnership with NSF and US Ignite, Ammon, Idaho will be developing an application that enables emergency operators to use one virtual channel to reach every resident whether or not they have a traditional landline connection. Residents, for example, will be able to receive all emergency notifications via e-mail, text, or face-to-face video communication.
  • In partnership with DCNet, the George Washington University – Medical Faculty Associates (GW-MFA) Division of Kidney Disease & Hypertension is using telemedicine to offer real-time, continuous, and interactive health monitoring to improve the safety and treatment of peritoneal dialysis patients.
  • In Flint, MIUS Ignite is working with Kettering University, the premiere developer of engineers for the automotive industry, to bring local cloud computing capability to enhance its distance STEM education programs and clean energy research efforts.

And there is much more coming down the proverbial pipe:

We’re working closely with the Mozilla Ignite Challenge team to ensure as many developer teams as possible are “Building Apps to Change the World.” Over 300 ideas surfaced during the brainstorming phase of the competition, with the grand-prize winner proposing a real-time emergency response system to improve decision-making and coordination among first responders. Already teams are forming for the first of three development challenge phases to follow. Please share this flier widely, since development teams must have commenced coding by October 25, and this challenge is a vitally important way for US Ignite to tap into new thinking and talent.

Finally, I had the great privilege to present to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, discussing the importance of all our work. And we’ve also got quite a few more events coming up. As we’ve experienced through the launch and at the gatherings highlighted above, being together in person is one of the best ways to strengthen this community of partners and exchange new applications ideas and best practices. Here are a few at which we hope to see all of you:

If you or your teams are going to be at any of these events, please let us know so we can connect on the ground, and also help promote speaking engagements and presentations from across the larger US Ignite community online.

Our team here will continue working with all of you to connect resources and ideas around the exciting next-generation applications being created, as well as continue to develop materials that tell the story of what we’re doing. In these early stages of the Initiative, it’s important to build a sense of excitement around our work together, and we’re eager to bring ever-more understanding and attention to it. 

We’ll be in touch again soon.

In excitement and partnership,

Sue Spradley
Executive Director

P.S. If you or your team hasn’t connected with one of our team members recently, you can always find us on Twitter and Facebook, or simply send a note to Joe at joe.kochan@us-ignite.org