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Innovation Quarter News

How Winston-Salem Made Itself Into a Top 10 Digital City

More than a few eyebrows were raised recently when Winston-Salem officially gave itself the motto of “City of Arts and Innovation.” That’s a lofty goal, after all.

But, in reality, Winston-Salem has been long recognized as a leader in both the arts and innovation. For example, now achieving a remarkable 14 years in a row ranked as one of the top 10 digital cities in the U.S.

This latest honor has been given by the Center for Digital Government to “cities [that] have developed a mature infrastructure that lets city leaders experiment with technology projects that are molded in the image of the average citizen’s lifestyle.”

Translation: cities that invest in the future. The future of technology, the future of collaboration and the future of community partnerships.

That’s how the city of Winston-Salem worked to recently bring an all-fiber gigabit network here, through the NC Next Generation Network.

It’s how the city and county came together to provide local residents with all-digital access to commonly requested information like county tax records, map information and other local data sets (known as Geographic Information Systems, or GIS).

And it’s also how a public-private partnership was formed to help birth the Innovation Quarter, now no longer an experiment, but an example of the power of proximity and collaboration.

There are other notable examples of the city’s progress on the digital front:

  • The push toward cloud-based and on-premises solutions has greatly reduced the city’s reliance on paper-based file systems.
  • For staff, mobile office connectivity and the ability to rely on tablets and smartphones allows for more productive in-field work.
  • Tools like a budgeting dashboard and capital project application that allow users to access the latest information on the city’s cash flow or the more than 200 active projects.
  • A push to connect fiber-optic cable to all of the City’s facilities

It’s clear by the 14-year run in the polls (that rivals even many of the near-by ACC basketball teams) that Winston-Salem is invested in digital progress. It’s invested in the arts. It’s invested in innovation.

And that’s good news for all of us.