A photo of an SIB Resident using a soofa smart bench.

Mayor’s Challenge: Technology Initiatives in Sunny Isles Beach

By George “Bud” Scholl, Mayor

(June 29, 2016) – Everyone seems to have their own special relationship with technology. Some of us love it, some of us hate it and some of us have just accepted it as a new part of our everyday life. One thing is for certain, technology is all around us and in many cases has made our lives easier and more productive. We have strong Information Technology (“IT”) leadership and staff at city hall. Given these excellent resources, we established a mandate with our IT staff that has been coined the Mayor’s Technology Challenge. They were asked to come up with their top ten ideas that utilize technology to enhance the quality of life and convenience for our residents and/or make City staff more efficient.

I am pleased to report that, as expected, our staff rose to the occasion and came up with several great ideas. Some of these ideas have already been or are in the process of being implemented. Perhaps you have already noticed in key locations around the city are Soofa park benches. These special benches utilize solar energy to provide a remote charging station for your portable phone or tablet.

Our IT folks implemented tracking devices on our shuttle buses that will enable us to know where they are at all times. Riders can now download a mobile app to their smart phone that will tell them when the bus will arrive at their bus stop. We do our best to have our buses run on schedule, but it will be great to know when the bus is coming in real time. Especially on hot or rainy days!

Future enhancements may be outdoor displays at our bus stops that can tell riders when the bus will arrive and free WiFi on our buses. The above describes just two examples, which we are implementing, of some of the great ideas that came out of the Mayor’s Technology Challenge. Stay tuned for more as our IT Department and city staff continue to use technology to enhance our collective quality of life.