FAIRBORN – Fairborn’s IT department assists other city entities complete tasks. Although the department doesn’t directly interact with citizens, it still has an impact on residents and city functions. Information and Technology Services Manager Mark Neuman said the department plans to become more mobile and include more cloud-based services over the next few years.
“Everything we do supports something that someone else provides directly to the citizens … Our role is to provide services to other city departments so they, in turn, can provide their services to the citizens of Fairborn,” he said. “If we’re (IT department) doing this right, we’re kind of invisible.”
Increasing mobility power means a citizen could report a pothole on the street to the appropriate department online for a work order to be created. The street department could log that information, and the citizen could see faster results.
“What [citizens] should see is greater efficiency in their city services,” Neuman said. “I don’t know if they’ll see the exact reason why they’re getting better service. It would be something they would distinctly notice wasn’t there if it didn’t happen.”
Using cloud-based data storage and programs means the city would be more unified in the servers it utilizes. Neuman feels that avoiding cloud utilization altogether, or not operating from the same cloud, would cause hiccups in coordination.
“A lot of people associate the cloud as being the same as the Internet, but they’re not – they’re two distinctly different things,” he said. “The Internet is like the universe, while the cloud is solar systems within it. They’re big on their own, but not as big as the Internet … Cloud based is basically data storage or programs that are available via the Internet to whoever needs to use it. We can have a cloud in the Government Center that’s available to [workers] in the field.”
The department faces challenges in how connection will take place, such as maintenance, connecting clouds safely and securely, making the cloud available all the time, using mobile devices to complete tasks and keeping up with technology as it grows.
“As far as cities go, we’re ahead of many, but not too far ahead that we’re falling off a cliff,” Neuman said. “We work with some other cities as well. I think as we progress through this, the most visible thing we’ll do is be invisible.”