The 2014 Digital States Survey run by the Center for Digital Government awarded Utah an A grade for state uses of IT this month, cementing its reputation as a forward-thinking technological hub. The state has maintained an A grade on the survey since 2012.
Utah joins only two other states, Michigan and Missouri, in receiving A ratings. According to Govtech.com, an A grade signifies that “These states are trending sharply up. They show results across all survey categories. Modernization is used to realize operational efficiencies and strategic priorities. There is evidence of meaningful collaboration, and performance measures and metrics are widely adopted.”
Utah has been at the forefront of state information technology for years. In the 1990s, it became the first state to build a public key infrastructure, and it was one of the first states to promote a shared IT system, data center and server visualization for state computing equipment.
Utah was also the first state to go mobile, creating an app for iPhones and even the OnTime transit tracking app for Google Glass. Using OnTime, Google Glass wearers are able to receive bus or train notifications, track transit vehicle locations, and view route data. Utah’s chief technology officer David Fletcher told Govtech.com that “We have a large development community in Utah. You can see people wearing Google Glass around here.”
He added, in another interview with the site, that the unexpectedly high adoption rates were not the point.”The goal was to learn more about how to better incorporate wearable technology into our application development thought process. We can learn about the interface and the unique capabilities before it becomes mainstream.”
Utah promotes online services heavily to save costs, as the number of state employees falls and demand for services rises. Online transactions are cheaper, Fletcher says. The Center for Digital Government ranked Utah’s online portal was second best in the country in 2013.
According to Fletcher, Utah began employing virtual desktop solutions when employees first started to use tablets. It helped employees stay looped into work at times when they couldn’t be in the office.
Utah began investing in cloud computing in 2009, and has only expanded those services over time to accommodate an increasingly mobile population. It may not be long before Utah implements even more modern advancements, like virtual offices, which include live communications and a virtual receptionist without a physical office space.
With all of these advances, it’s no surprise that Utah ranked so highly on the Digital State Survey.