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Keynote: Lev Gonick

9:15am Monday Lev Gonick; CIO and vice president for information services at Case Western University, and is involved in OneCleveland, an innovative project involving wireless.

Gonick presented a video on OneCommunity [http://www.onecommunity.org/], the evolved name for a wireless project in Cleveland. Just being in the five mile range of the system gives them access.

Gonick described most cities as having a common history, and he described the “bright new future�. His work centered from Case Western Reserve University, un officially, he is the University’s “IT guy�. Around the world, the college campus is often a protected enclave, historically detached. Four years ago they chose to be come the best neighbor a city had, being part of the economic revitalization. The University is reaching out to the surrounding neighborhoods and communities, playing a major role in advancing the area. Connects, enables, mobilizes and transforms. He presented that the glue to attempt this improvement was through development in communications technologies.

He compared Cleveland’s effort with others; Philadelphia and San Francisco have outsourced their wireless efforts. In contract, Cleveland had three levels; public service [libraries, institutional], commercial [pay for service], public access [“bicycle lane� for lower level individual use]. The goal is for Cleveland to become a “digital city�. One of the successes is that wireless access will soon be possible for rail connections to downtown Cleveland; similarly, arteries throughout the city will also be addressed with continuous mobile access. Many services and connections in Cleveland will be accomplished through the wireless mesh, including traffic, medicine, and education. E-tourism was mentioned. All of this inconceivable before OneCommunity came into being, as most thought of themselves as “nineteenth century institutions where people came to you�. He noted that the model was certainly applicable to other cities including Minneapolis.

Technology was the enabling agent, the glue which made it all work. He noted that the technology partners needed to be engaged with the concept of fully connecting the community. He urged an examination of how our city was unique, and then to plan from there. In their experience, it has to be more than just the university to make something happen.

Q: could you talk about what you are doing about digital divide? A: It’s a huge problem as Cleveland is the nation’s poorest city; it’s more than putting up the mesh the area; it’s widely varied in terms of needs. Much of the focus has been on the Cleveland School of the Arts. Much has been through the industry partners. They’ve also focused on seniors accessing technology to improve health care through the Cleveland Clinic and other providers. The community service orgs “wheeled the wireless computers around� to seniors in the neighborhood for face-to-face digital communication between doctor and patient.

The key in OneCommunity is that the community owns the fiber; “We own all that infrastructure.�

Q: How are tax dollars included? A: 14 municipalities participate and use tax dollars to support the process. It’s not a continuous noise level for use.