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Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is looking to capitalize on the flourishing unmanned systems industry by establishing a new Autonomous Systems Center of Excellence in the state.

“The autonomous systems industry is one of the cornerstones of the new Virginia economy,” said Gov. McAuliffe in a statement. “With the establishment of the Autonomous Systems Center of Excellence, we will send a clear message that Virginia is open for unmanned systems business. Over the past three years, we’ve made tremendous progress to support this emerging industry, and we’ll continue our efforts to cut red tape and open the door for further growth.”

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Florida’s Agency for State Technology (AST) recently came under scrutiny as a House bill aimed to terminate the existing agency and transfer the state’s IT leadership to the Department of Management Services. The bill would also create a Florida Cybersecurity Task Force.

Despite the threat of reorganization, the AST maintains funding and authority through the next fiscal year, Government Technology reports. A new deal regarding the AST will expand its authority slightly as well as allow the state’s chief information officer to appoint a chief data officer, as well as create a geographic information office

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South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is bolstering the state's cybersecurity efforts after signing an executive order on April 19 establishing a Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity Executive Oversight Group. The group will examine, enforce, and strengthen cybersecurity across the state with the aim to mitigate cyberattacks, WISTV reports.

“Protecting its citizens is the most critical job a government is tasked with – from enemies we can see and those we can’t,” McMaster said in a statement, WISTV reported. “Cyber attacks are among the most common and potentially crippling offenses that face our state and country. With partnerships like this one, we are committing to being as proactive as possible in protecting our people and doing everything in our power to make sure we are as safe and secure as possible.”

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Just before midnight on April 7, the city of Dallas experienced a rather rude awakening as all 156 of its emergency sirens were hacked, causing a ruckus that lasted 90 minutes.

Although Dallas’ Office of Emergency Management won’t reveal much about the hack for security reasons, they recently revealed the work to be not a hack of network systems, but through a radio or telephone signal.

"It's a radio system, not a computer issue," Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax said Monday morning, Dallas News reports. "As we brought the system back up, some encryption was added as part of our process to prevent this type of error from occurring going forward."

The city's outdoor warning system was installed over a decade ago and city officials were unaware that the signals could be compromised in this manner.

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As local governments find new uses for the cloud, new ­questions and ­considerations arise. Sarah Koonts, director of North Carolina’s Division of Archives and Records, encourages CIOs to also look far into the future as they search for answers.

Koonts’s team ensures the safety of key financial, legal and ­policy documents designated to become permanent parts of the state’s history. And the cloud continues to play an increasingly important role in those efforts. “The cloud offers a less expensive way to permanently store large data sets, compared to installing servers and paying people to maintain them,” she says. “The information is housed offsite, so it’s protected if a disaster strikes our area.”

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In the future, data center management will be less about hardware and more about delivering services to the end customer, says David Cappuccio, vice president, distinguished analyst and chief of research for data centers at Gartner.

“When a customer says, ‘I need a new service,’ the next question needs to be not ‘how do we make it fit within our existing infrastructure?’ but ‘how do we find it?’ And, how do we find it within the constraints of the agency, whether it’s audit or compliance control or whatever. If I can find a provider that meets those constraints and can perform that service quicker, I’ll use them instead.”

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The city of Chicago has selected a vendor team to replace 270,000 of the city’s light fixtures — 85 percent of its public lights — with smart lighting systems. The four-year project will cost the city up to a$160 million. Installs will begin during the summer in the south and west side communities, according to a press release.

“This project is a win-win – it will deliver one of the largest lighting modernization programs in the country while addressing one of the top reasons residents call 311,” Mayor Emanuel said in the press release. “Under this proposed project we will be delivering modern, reliable and high-quality lighting that will improve quality of life in every Chicago neighborhood.”

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AT&T has won a $46.5 billion contract to build a nationwide wireless broadband network for America’s first responders for the Department of Commerce and First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet).

The 25-year agreement aims to sure up the communications infrastructure for public safety for “day-to-day operations, disaster response and recovery, and securing of large events,” according to a joint press release. The high-speed network dedicated to first responders will ensure that communications networks won’t be overloaded during a crisis.

The joint statement lays out the terms of the agreement as such:

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Sweetwater County, Wyo., is among a ­growing number of ­communities that ­have adopted Smart911 technology, which ­provides ­dispatchers with more detailed ­information during emergencies.

Residents can create a free profile, link their cellphone numbers to home and work addresses, and provide details about who lives in their home, including children and pets. They can also list medical conditions.

When a 911 call comes in, the server shares the phone number with Smart911. If the caller has a Smart911 profile, the cloud service sends the profile information to the server, which passes the ­information to the dispatcher’s computer-aided dispatch workstation, explains David Halter, IT director for the Sweetwater Combined Communications Joint Powers Board.

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