Press Release

Press Release # 004
Thursday, November 6, 2008


New York City Wireless Network Chosen as Overall Winner

Award Winners Reflect Improved Efficiencies and Cost Savings through Technology Enhancement

Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) Commissioner Paul J. Cosgrave named the winners of the 2008 Excellence in Technology Awards in a ceremony held last night at the Brooklyn Marriott.  The Excellence in Technology Award Program (ETAP) honors the very best of New York City’s IT staff and projects each year, and is presented at the annual New York City Technology Forum sponsored by Government Technology Executive Events and the Center for Digital Government.  The 2008 ETAP winners include staff members from nearly 40 New York City agencies, with each award-winning program aligned with one of the citywide themes outlined in PlanIT, the City’s first-ever comprehensive technology strategy for coordinated, effective and efficient citywide IT implementation.

“In 2008 the City has continued its fine work implementing comprehensive, targeted, and cost-saving technology solutions.  While the impact our best IT innovations from the prior year have is substantial, it’s even more impressive when you take a wider view,” said Commissioner Cosgrave.  “Over the course of the Bloomberg Administration, I can attest that we have not only served the public, we have transformed for the better the way we do so.  I congratulate all today’s winners and encourage them to continue the development of innovative technologies to the benefit of all New Yorkers.”

The Overall ETAP for 2008, chosen as the project that exemplifies the best attributes of leadership, technical implementation, innovation and teamwork of all the nominations received for the year, was presented to the New York City Wireless Network (NYCWiN).  A broadband wireless data network that is transforming the way the City delivers its services to employees, residents, businesses and visitors, NYCWiN enables a wealth of mobile and fixed wireless solutions that can be configured to support the mobile workforces of both the City’s public safety and public service agencies.  Providing high-speed wireless alternatives to many agencies’ paper-based business processes, the network affords the reliability and the security needed both to eliminate the City’s reliance on public carrier networks and centralize the disparate wireless data networks that currently support many City applications.  Similarly, it contributes to interoperability and data-transfer between agencies’ applications, leading to a reduction in the redundancy of collected data, the streamlining of citywide data-policies; and an eventual reduction in recurring maintenance and license fees.

Key project teams from the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Police Department, Fire Department, Department of Transportation, and the Office of Emergency Management worked together with a vendor to complete the network build-out and the development of application pilots.

NYCWiN has been included as a Foundational IT Initiative as part of PlanIT, which maps critical applications, programs and initiatives that will enhance City services and their delivery in key mission areas.  PlanIT also outlines the steps needed to achieve a single-city information technology enterprise, the principles of security and rationalized consolidation to ensure its integrity, and the enhancements required to optimize its performance.

These other outstanding projects were also chosen as 2008 ETAP winners for in the following categories:

Demonstrated Leadership in Management of Information Technology
Richard Siemer, Human Resources Administration (HRA)

Richard Siemer has consistently proven his dedication to the public sector throughout his 27-year career.  In his capacity as Deputy Commissioner and CIO for HRA’s Management Information Systems, Mr. Siemer’s ability to lead collaborative operational teams and program staff has contributed to the successful implementation of HRA’s Model Office.  A major objective of the Model Offices is to provide a customer service area that streamlines processing times.

His responsibilities also extend to the support of voice telephone-related activities, where he has instituted new and innovative applications, like the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology.  IVR has enabled customers and vendors to access information and make inquiries regarding the status of applications for services, and information lines and help desks offer these services in multiple languages.  In addition, day-care vendors can submit attendance via telephone, facilitating their billing and payment processes.  Mr. Siemer has also worked to roll out Voice-Over IP (VOIP) to all HRA locations – accruing significant cost savings to the city in telephone expenditures.

Demonstrated Excellence in Project Management
Director George Daus, New York City Police Department (NYPD)

Serving with the Police Department since 1992, George Daus has been responsible for overseeing and managing some of the most innovative IT implementations the NYPD has ever experienced.  From inception to completion, Mr. Daus has overseen the development of numerous information systems and applications – including the Criminal Complaint and Arrest Processing System, and the Autopound Intake System – each of which increased the effectiveness of the NYPD in protecting and defending the people of New York City.  Setting the tone for application development at a time when automating paper-driven processes has become a necessity, Director Daus has championed the use of technology as a way to standardize policing procedures.

Commissioner’s Award for Technology-Driven Business Transformation
Seth Diamond, Human Resources Administration (HRA)

As Executive Deputy Commissioner of HRA’s Family Independence Administration, Mr. Diamond manages approximately 8,000 staff members across 100 locations.  Mr. Diamond has been the primary sponsor of a number of technology initiatives to increase food stamp accessibility in the City.  Inventive in his conception, design, and planning for these projects, he has been exceptionally resourceful in acquiring funding and resources, successfully obtaining USDA grants and other funding streams enabling HRA to implement creative technology innovations.

Best Application Serving an Agency’s Business Needs
Electronic DD5 – Investigative Case Management System, New York City Police Department (NYPD)

Prior to implementing the Electronic DD5 - Investigative Case Management System, the NYPD Detective Bureau’s 3,500 detectives and supervisors relied upon typewriters and carbon paper to assign, create, update, review, and dispose of approximately 200,000 criminal investigations per year.  After each investigation was conducted, the bureau used typewriters to draft the necessary reports, and managed this caseload in paper file folders, catalogued on paper index sheets, physically maintained within the premises of each respective unit.

With thousands of registered users now on the Electronic DD5, over 3,000 DD5s are written and entered into the case management system each day, along with 7,000 new or updated reports sent to the Real Time Crime Center.  Similarly, the bureau searches through and views over 20,000 cases on a daily basis, utilizing the Electronic DD5’s centralized search engine, which indexes DD5s in real-time and provides Google-type searching and alerts – leading to increased efficiency and cost savings.

Best IT Collaboration Among Agencies
Citywide Performance Reporting, Mayor’s Offices of Operations  & Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications

Launched on in February, Citywide Performance Reporting (CPR) is an online performance-tracking tool that measures service delivery by City agencies and identifies trends in a positive or negative direction.  The application represents a collection of data from more than 40 City agencies and organizations into an easy-to-use online “snapshot” format, addressing performance measures under the framework of PlanIT’s eight citywide themes – Citywide Administration, Community Services, Economic Development & Business Affairs, Education, Infrastructure, Legal Affairs, Public Safety, and Social Services.  The application provides early warning for areas that need attention by highlighting decline in performance.  CPR measures performance by comparing current data to that for the same period the previous year, thereby holding agencies accountable for year-over-year improvement.  In order to analyze long-term trends, users can access also year-to-year trend data by clicking on the "Fiscal Year-To-Date" value, covering reporting periods from July 2002 to the present.

Best In-House Developed Application
Parks Enforcement Patrol Performance Measurement & Vehicle Out of Service System,
Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR)

The Parks Enforcement Patrol Performance Measurement system is a web-based application that effectively tracks and manages the functions of the Urban Park Service.  This application includes features that efficiently track such department statistics as productivity, daily operations, employee profiles, and Urban Park Ranger programming notes (programs, animal conditions, and staffing).

To date, all source data for these performance metrics have been manually collected, compiled, maintained and analyzed in ledgers and individual logs.  This new application both dramatically improves DPR’s business process by reducing the time that UPS staff spends preparing summaries and reports and increasing their time in the field.  Benefits of this application also extend to the public as more efficient deployment of officers means safer parks for all New Yorkers.

The Vehicle Out of Service (VOOS) system services over 2,000 vehicles across hundreds of locations, allowing DPR to better manage its fleet, create a permanent record of repair jobs, and enable more reliable avenues of communication between the repair shops and customers.  Reducing the costs and time associated with managing the agency’s fleet, VOOS has also freed up to 50% of the time previously required to coordinate a paper and fax system of reporting and managing vehicles in the field.  Use of VOOS promises to reduce total agency-wide vehicle out-of-service time by two days per year, the equivalent of putting 11 additional vehicles into the fleet and a cost savings of over $84,000 yearly.

Most Innovative Use of Technology
B-SMART, Department of Buildings (DOB)

Before B-SMART implementation, DOB stored operational information across disparate environments and systems throughout the agency, including mainframe, network servers, and desktop platforms, creating challenges in the aggregating and reporting of data.       B-SMART, launched in early 2008, now ensures quick access to many metrics and criteria – including application processing data, complaints, stop work orders, violations, and more – and improves the agency’s ability to report on them efficiently while drawing from multiple data sources.

Best Wireless Project
Sanitation Automatic Vehicle Analysis and Tracking, Department of Sanitation (DSNY) & Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications

The Sanitation Automatic Vehicle Analysis and Tracking (SAVANT) application enhances operational efficiency and augments the City’s ability to better utilize resources in emergencies.  SAVANT relies on in-vehicle Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technologies to collect data about vehicle maintenance and route operations, with NYCWiN-supported cellular modems transmitting this data back to an intelligent, back-end system.

Ultimately, the data collected directly from the vehicles on their routes is used to provide DSNY supervisors and managers with reports and alerts that can be used to improve real-time decision-making, increase DSNY responsiveness to customer service issues, enable better distribution of resources, and develop better emergency responses to weather conditions.

The launch of SAVANT also advances Mayor Bloomberg’s initiative to implement AVL/GPS technologies on City vehicles.  This application is also an example of successful utilization of NYCWiN, which supports the mobile connectivity required on all parts of DSNY routes throughout the five boroughs.

Best GIS Application
NYC*SCOUT Map, Mayor’s Office of Operations

The Street Conditions Observation Unit (SCOUT), a team of inspectors who drive each City street once per month to report conditions to 311 that negatively impact quality-of-life, was launched by Mayor Bloomberg in 2007.  SCOUT inspectors utilize hand-held devices to transmit and enter reports into the 311 Customer Service Center.  The goal of the SCOUT program is to improve street-level conditions in City neighborhoods and further the responsiveness of City government.  However, at its inception, SCOUT condition reporting was neither available across agencies or to customers, nor could it display for the public the areas covered by SCOUT inspectors.

The NYC*SCOUT Map, drawn according to community districts, now publishes the areas and streets covered by SCOUT on the web.  As the SCOUT team inspects each district throughout the month, each is color-coded to report coverage.  In addition, the map displays condition-specific occurrence, marking repeated negative conditions with a graduated circle with a drill-down capability.  By clicking on the circle, users can view the list of SCOUT conditions reported and, by clicking on each condition, will receive its respective complaint number.

Green IT Award
Automated Child Protective Services Worker Recruitment Process & Online Job Applications System, Administration for Children’s Services (ACS)

The Administration for Children’s Services previously relied on more than 2,000 pieces of mail per month to recruit applicants and then required them to apply for vacancies through mail or by personally delivering their resumes.  To increase the ease of applying for a position, the Automated Child Protective Worker Recruitment Process – an Internet-based online recruitment and application process available through the ACS website – provides improved access to information for persons seeking employment.

Using the Online Job Applications System, job seekers can complete an online application while verifying their job qualifications, which is then processed by a new applicant tracking system that handles many of the past paperwork checks required.  This new system therefore leads to much quicker responses to new applications and a faster hiring decision for those interviewing for positions.

As a result of the Automated Recruitment Process, ACS has gone “green” by eliminating its monthly mailings, and reducing paper, printing and postage costs.  Likewise, the Online Job Application System has conserved 156,000 individual pieces of paper while saving money by removing the need for the time-consuming, expensive scanning of applications to date.  As a direct result of these two innovations, ACS has received over 45,000 applications.  Over 70% of these current applicants have the entry-level qualifications for the job and, due to these electronic initiatives, the agency’s hiring processing time has been reduced by 50%.  This, and the expected drop in CPS turnover rate should result in saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in recruitment, hiring, and training costs.

Special Recognition Award (2)
Edward J. Allocco, New York City Police Department
Jonathan Werbell, Office of the Mayor

IT Service and Support Awards
In addition, 59 individual staff members and managers from 35 different agencies were presented with “Excellence in IT Service and Support” awards for their work on various technology projects over the past year.

The annual New York City Technology Forum (November 6-7, 2008), now in its 11th year, is an event for and about state and local government, to foster discussion and dialogue on best practices in the use of IT as a strategic tool for managers, executives and policy makers.  IT staff members from agencies across the City will be making presentations throughout the two-day event, on topics including: Electronic Records Retention; IT Governance; Enterprise Architecture; the Greening of IT; Emergency Management Tools/Technologies; Strategies in Open Source Technologies, and more.

Part and parcel of the NYC Tech Forum is the Excellence in Technology Awards Program, established in 2001 to salute the best of technology projects implemented by City agencies over the previous year and the IT staffs responsible for them.  Agency heads throughout the City are invited to submit nominations, with a citywide screening panel reviewing each submission and selecting a winner in each category.  From the nominations, a single entrant is chosen to receive the overall Excellence in Technology Award.  Previous Overall ETAP winners are:

2007:   New York City Automated Personnel System
2006:   DataShare/Integrated Justice Project
2005:   Real Time Crime Center (NYPD)
2004:   CityServ – Citywide Enterprise Email Solution
2003:   New York City 311 Customer Service Center
2002:   Henry Jackson (OEM) & Lawrence Knafo (DoITT), for Outstanding Technological Leadership in response to the September 11th Attacks
2001:   Virtual Agency Project (Department of Finance)


Nicholas Sbordone (212) 788-6602