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New City CTO Chris Tonjes says infrastructure, digital inclusion and Open Baltimore are priorities

Expect a rebooted focus on communications infrastructure, digital inclusion efforts and open data initiatives from the City of Baltimore. Chris Tonjes outlined his larger vision for what he’d like to accomplish as the city’s new Chief Technology Officer in a phone call with Technically Baltimore Friday morning. “I’m still getting up to speed and understanding […]

Expect a rebooted focus on communications infrastructure, digital inclusion efforts and open data initiatives from the City of Baltimore.
Chris Tonjes outlined his larger vision for what he’d like to accomplish as the city’s new Chief Technology Officer in a phone call with Technically Baltimore Friday morning.
“I’m still getting up to speed and understanding how things work,” he says. “But I’m happy and excited to be there.”
While he doesn’t officially start his new gig until July 23, Tonjes has given thought to his eventual goals. Among other things, they include:

  • Helping the city upgrade its communication infrastructure. (Yes, he is aware of the VoIP battle taking place.)
  • Improving city applications to collect revenue.
  • “Re-architecting” the city’s existing infrastructure to get it ready for cloud computing.
  • Making broadband availability more prevalent and ubiquitous, chiefly to alleviate the digital divide that exists in Baltimore.
  • Rebooting some of the efforts around civic data and Open Baltimore

“I want to bring a solution-oriented, fast, startup mentality to an IT department,” Tonjes says. Baltimore, he says, is positioned rather well to take advantage of new digital technologies. As Tonjes puts it, the city is “shifting into fifth gear.”
“I wouldn’t have taken the job if I didn’t think really good things were happening,” he says.

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