Chicago Connections

Chicago is finally joining the technology revolution under Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whose plan is to make Chicago the nation’s most technologically advanced city.

Chicago started its current technology revolution by developing a citywide WiFi network to allow city residents, visitors, and businesses to access the internet from virtually anywhere in the city. The network will also allow underserved and disadvantaged neighborhoods to be able to access the internet, allowing the broad and equal connectivity to all.

“Chicago will be one of the most connected cities in the world,” says Mayor Emanuel. “The establishment of a world-class broadband network in Chicago will create thousands of jobs and dramatically improve educational opportunities, economic development, health care services, and general quality of life throughout the city. We will Chicago Technologyrely on the ideas and efforts of Chicagoans to not only build this network, but make sure it is customized for our residents and our workforce.”

Chicago isn’t building the technology infrastructure for just residents and visitors but for its employees as well. The city adopted Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud computing strategy, which combines email, word processing and document storage on virtual servers. It is expected to increase efficiency through flexible workplace programs (enabling employees to work remotely) and reducing software updates and license fees throughout the city’s vast computer network system..

“The cloud strategy gives City employees the ability to do their jobs more effectively while saving taxpayer dollars, decreasing duplication among departments and streamlining our operations across the board,” says Brett Goldstein, the City’s Chief Information Officer and the Commissioner of the Department of Innovation and Technology. “The cloud strategy is a major step towards our goal of modernizing our information technology. Ultimately, updating the City’s digital infrastructure for the 21st century sets the foundation for innovation that will continue to move us forward.”

This major development also reduces costs – upwards of $400,000 per year – and allows for a streamlined system with less outages and headaches for the city.

Rahm Emanuel Technology“Chicago’s technology economy is thriving, creating thousands of jobs and generating interest from around the world,” says Mayor Emanuel. “As we experience this unprecedented growth in this key sector, it is incumbent that the opportunities that are being developed are available for all Chicagoans and that the city’s technology community reflects the diversity and vitality of the city itself. These talented leaders will work directly with the technology community and my office to create innovative programs and new ideas that will help expand the diversity and vibrancy of the technology economy throughout the City.”

As the city continues its march to be the nation’s most connected and digital city, Emanuel is also building the most diverse technology network as well. Emanuel appointed 12 people to the city’s new Technology Industry Diversity Council, with a mission to:

  • Increase the percentage of minority employees for technology firms.
  • Increase the percentage of minority-owned and operated technology firms.
  • Help to create a pipeline through which Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges of Chicago students can transition into the technology economy.

“Chicago’s diversity that long given us industrial strength,” says John Tolva. “Our thriving technology sector will continue to differentiate itself with robust inclusion of all Chicagoans, and I look forward to helping realize Mayor Emanuel’s vision of a thriving, diverse technology community.”


A biography on all twelve of Chicago’s Technology Diversity Committee can be found here.