LARGO — The Prince George’s County Office of Information Technology announced on Aug. 12 that the county was named one of the top 10 digital counties in the country as part of the 17th annual Digital Counties Survey conducted by the Center for Digital Government (CDG) and the National Association of Counties (NACo).
Prince George’s County was ranked number four among counties within the 500,000 – 999,999 population category for being a leader in the technology categories of predictive modeling, cybersecurity, collaboration and shared services.
“This important national recognition is further evidence that Prince George’s County is a leader in our region, state and nation. Digital innovation is a fundamental strategy and technology is integral to the success of education, public safety, economic development priorities and provision of government services,” said County Executive Angela Alsobrooks in a statement following the announcement.
Counties from Maryland were winners in almost every population category this year. Montgomery County ranked first place in the 1,000,000 or more category and Charles County ranked second in the 150,000 – 249,999 population category. No county from Maryland placed in the 250,000 – 499,999 population category or the 150,000 and under population category.
The Office of Information Technology applied for the award in April of this year allowing Prince George’s County to place once again and receive the highest ranking yet after finding a place on the list for the past few years.
In 2017 and 2018, Prince George’s County placed fifth in the 500,000 – 999,999 population category. In 2016, the county was grouped into the 500,000 or higher category and placed sixth, tying with Baltimore County and coming behind Montgomery County who placed second. Prince George’s placed for the first time in 2009 coming in fifth in a tie between Anne Arundel County and Alameda County, California.
“I am proud of our Office of Information Technology and all of our county stakeholders for ensuring we have a modern, 21st-century government to improve the quality of life for our residents,” Alsobrooks said.
CDG, a division of e.Republic which is the only media and research company in the country that focuses entirely on state and local government and education, is a nationwide research and advisory institute which focuses on technology policy and best practices in state and local government.
NACo represents the 3,069 county governments in the U.S. Bringing together leaders from every county, they bring together county officials to advocate for a national policy that benefits all counties and exchange ideas, build leadership skills, look for county solutions and enhance the public’s understanding of county government.
The organization previously recognized Prince George’s County in July when they gave achievement awards to the Department of Corrections, the Department of the Environment and the Office of Community Relations for their innovative programs.
CDG and NACo partner to conduct the survey every year to discover the best practices among counties in the U.S. This includes initiatives which serve to streamline the delivery of government services to residents, encourage open data, collaboration and shared services, enhance cybersecurity as well as contribute to disaster response and recovery efforts.
“Innovative counties across the U.S. are leveraging technology and data to complete unique projects that better serve citizens, save taxpayer money and protect citizen data,” said CDG Executive Director Teri Takai. “The Center for Digital Government congratulates this year’s winners for their accomplishments to make government work for the citizens and businesses they serve.”
In addition to choosing the top ten winners around the country among different population sizes, CDG and NACo make predictions based on the survey results of what technologies and initiatives local governments will most likely focus on in the upcoming year.
The top selection was cybersecurity, which has been the number one focus for the last three years in a row.
Other predictions for next year include citizen experience/e-service provision, hiring and retaining competent information technology (IT) personnel, business intelligence/analytics, disaster recovery/continuity of operations and data governance.
Last year’s survey pointed to drones, internet of things (IoT) or edge computing, artificial intelligence and voice messaging apps as emerging technologies with between 11 and 21% of counties planning to implement these things within the next two years.
They also mentioned transparency, collaboration, secure cybersecurity measures and initiatives, well-equipped IT personnel, connected broadband and wireless infrastructure, efficiency and resiliency as some of the characteristics that make up the best digital counties.
“We applaud this year’s Digital Counties Survey winners for maximizing the value of technology in serving our residents,” said NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase. “Technology plays an important role in achieving healthy, safe, and vibrant counties. The Digital Counties Survey demonstrates how we embrace cutting-edge approaches to strengthening our communities.”