Ep 55: The Future of ‘Smart Cities’ with Chelsea McCullough
Chelsea McCullough (@ChelseaMcC) is dedicated to fostering collaboration across the public and private sector in order to connect and engage communities to solve civic challenges. Her current focus on Smart Cities unifies her experience in tech, policy, social impact, civic engagement and entrepreneurship.
Chelsea is a Zhi-Xing Eisenhower Fellow and will travel to China this Fall to study Smart City innovation. She documents her research on a community platform she created, Digi.City, and is a contributor to RCR Wireless and Industrial IoT 5G. Chelsea is a Co-Founder of Impact Hub Austin, a local co-working and community space for social and civic enterprises that is a part a global network of more than 80 Impact Hubs around the world.
She is also co-Founder of two other start-ups, Wake Up, a professional and personal development company and Mable, a social enterprise that produces modular furniture from sustainable materials manufactured in the USA. Through her consulting company, Intercambio, she advises multiple startups and projects that seek to make a positive impact on the world.
From 2012-2015, Chelsea was the Executive Director Texans for Economic Progress (TEP) and now engages as a Strategic Advisor where she continues to facilitate dialogue between the statewide technology community and elected officials, advocating for greater access to tech education, entrepreneurship and infrastructure. Prior, she served as the Founding Director for RISE, an annual Austin-based entrepreneurs conference, Marketing Director at Rev Worldwide. a mission-focused fintech start-up; and served in the Texas Governor’s Office in Economic Development.
She is active in several organizations that encourage economic solutions to global challenges including St Edwards’ University’s Dean’s Advisory & Development Council for The Bill Munday School of Business, an Executive Committee member of The Seton 50, Advisor to the World Economic Forum Global Shapers, UnltdUSA and Food + City. She served as Vice Chair and Commissioner for the City of Austin Community Technology & Telecommunications Commission from 2013 – 2015. She is a Leadership Austin graduate (2010); Austin Under 40 Award recipient in Science & Technology (2015) and a BPE Ascendant Award recipient (2013), and an ABJ Profiles in Power Finalist (2013). Chelsea has masters and bachelor degrees in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin.
In this episode, we discussed:
- what “Smart Cities” are and how they are making cities more livable and citizen-friendly.
- examples of ways in which cities are using next-generation technology to improve law enforcement and city services.
- key political, regulatory and political challenges cities face as they seek to apply smarter uses of technology.
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TECH POLICY NEWS
US officials are investigating a potential Russian effort to disrupt this year’s US presidential elections, according to Dana Priest at the Washington Post. The investigation was precipitated by alleged Russian hacks into the Democratic National Committee and Wikileaks release of 20,000 hacked DNC emails. Russia has denied the accusations, although, as Bloomberg notes, Russian President Vladimir Putin did say the DNC hacks were a public service.
Julian Hattem at The Hill noted last week that Department of Homeland Security Chief Jeh Johnson attempted to downplay the Russian threat. Johnson said the vastness of all of the nation’s dispersed local and state voting systems would make it difficult for any hack to alter the ballot count. But officials are still worried that even a hint of the ballots being compromised could cause unrest.
The FCC has proposed rules that would open up the set top box market to competition. Currently, subscribers are paying an average of $231 per year to lease set top boxes from cable providers. And these set top boxes aren’t required to list content from over-the-top competitors like Netflix. The new rules would clear the way for cable subscribers to buy a set top box of their choice, they would also require cable providers to develop free apps that enable consumers to download all their programming to their chosen devices. The cable industry is obviously incensed. The Commissioners will vote on the new rules at the next Open Meeting on September 29th at the FCC. If you want to file comments, it’s proceeding 16-42. In the meantime, you can check out my interview with Brian Woolfolk on episode 36 to get caught up on the basics of this proceeding.
According to a new FBI report, Hillary Clinton and her staff were lackadaisical about keeping confidential communications secure while Clinton served as Secretary of State, even though Clinton herself had authorization to decide which communications were confidential and which weren’t. But former Secretary of State Colin Powell also indicated last week that his communications weren’t kept all that secure either, stating that he had used a separate internet connection over a private phone line to communicate about State Department business off the State Department’s servers. Sean Gallagher at Ars Technica and Quartz have the coverage here.
President Obama has announced the appointments of the nation’s first Chief and Deputy Chief Information Officers. Retired Brigadier General Gregory J. Touhill, who currently serves as a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security, will take the helm as CISO and Grant Schneider, current Director of Cybersecurity on the National Security Council staff at the White House will serve as Deputy.
Finally, another Obama administration staffer is leaving the White House to join the tech sector. Rachel Racusen, who last week ended her stint as White House strategic communications adviser, will join Snapchat’s New York team next week to serve as Director of Communications at the growing social media company. Juliet Eilperin at the Washington Post notes that Racusen joins a long line of former White House officials to join the tech sector, including former press secretary Jay Carney who went to Amazon and Dan Pfeiffer at GoFundMe.