Lone Star Innovation The article "Knowledge Management: A Bright Idea Moves Slowly Through Government" in the July 16 issue prompted me to write about our experience in Austin, Texas.
In a move to keep Austin's communications policy proactive, Austin/Travis County and the state of Texas recently joined forces to ensure all citizens have access to the National Information Infrastructure.
Construction has begun on a fiber-optic cable network linking virtually every local and state government office in Austin.
The $15 million Greater Austin Area Telecommunications Network will be completed by the end of 1998, and it will provide telephone, data and video services for seven members of the Austin Independent School District, Austin Community College, the city of Austin, the Lower Colorado River Authority, Travis County, the state of Texas and the University of Texas at Austin.
The 285 miles of cable connecting more than 300 public facilities will be the largest cooperative telecommunications system in the nation. Austin students will be able to use the network for everything from accessing library materials located across town to communicating with pen pals around the world.
Taking data and information and turning it into knowledge is one of the most critical challenges facing communities today. Technology is a gateway to the future as well as to the past.
Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce
Crunch the Numbers In your July 2 issue, the Datastream chart regarding the report by RelevantKnowledge, "NASA Web Site Rockets Ahead," claims the site had 1.8 million unique visitors. However, the chart fails to note three of the Web sites belong to the Department of Commerce (www.doc.gov). They are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Census Bureau and the National Technical Information Service. The unique visitors of www.doc.gov are thus 2.1 million.
We just received an award for the best Web site in government. We are far ahead of the others in this regard.
Department of Commerce
Time to Change As John Makulowich suggests in his Aug. 13 Net Log column ["IT and Conferences ? Now There's An Idea"], the conference management world is slow to consider anything that , in outward appearances, looks like it may eat into their baseline business ? bringing buyers to exhibit booths. Slowly they will come around, but vendors of virtual event solutions will have to come up with clever ways to engage vendor, sponsor and user. In fact, the argument can be made that the existing intermediaries in that dynamic may go away if they don't adjust somewhat.
We can't replace personal networking nor touch a tangible product, clearly, but we can rearrange that process.