VivaScoop - August 2023
Welcome to VivaScoop, your monthly rundown on everything Vivacity Technologies.
Just like that, it’s time for us to say goodbye to the last full month of summer. While it may be the end of the scorching heat, it isn’t the end of the fire season unfortunately. Our thoughts are with those who are still on evacuation order or who may have lost their homes in this devastating fire season. However, in hard times we often see the best of people. It has been heartwarming to see how communities have come together to give support to those who need it the most.
In amongst the smoke, the VivaTeam has been hard at work on a number of projects. Our business team completed our IT assessment for Saulteau First Nations and our engineering team has been working diligently on developing our new data platform for Intelligent Cities, VivaCitadel (read more below). We’re excited to share our progress with you, and tell you a bit more about what we’ve been up to in the last month!
And now, on with the show e.g., VivaScoop for August!
VivaCitadel - a platform for Intelligent Cities
Over the last few months, the engineering team has been hard at work building out our Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for VivaCitadel. This is the culmination of our work in the Intelligent City space, where we found that cities today face significant challenges around what data is available, how trustworthy it is, and how to access it. This is commonly referred to as data siloing.
With our MVP, we’ll initially tackle this problem by providing a single search interface for all SharePoint sites within an organization. This will help employees and other internal stakeholders find and access the data they need faster, while also providing external users (citizens, businesses) with the ability to pay to access certain value-added data (e.g., data on properties, businesses, permits, taxes, utilities, etc).
Over time, we envision this platform evolving to generate non-tax revenue and supporting a community Living Lab. In addition, we’ll be showcasing this MVP at MISA BC 2023 in early October, so we're heads down gearing up for the main event!
Cybersecurity protection; when is enough enough?
The simple, and unfortunate, answer is likely ‘never’. The cybersecurity landscape continues to evolve, but every organization should have a strategy on how to protect themselves today and in the future. It's not just large organizations being targeted, but smaller firms are certainly in the target sight of cyber criminals.
So what can be done against this continual threat? Firstly, there is not a one-size fits all, since a number of factors have to be considered. These include no. of employees, budgets, IT infrastructure, application hosting, cloud strategies, etc. Once an assessment of this is complete, firms need to review some of the fundamental protection methods, such as multi-factor authentication, endpoint protection, network monitoring, and response procedures for the eventual attack.
For one of our clients, we recently undertook a cybersecurity roadmap, which we’re now helping to deliver on. We found one of the best guiding lights is the cybersecurity insurance requirements now being imposed on firms. Whether you eventually apply for cybersecurity insurance, or not, the process required to be eligible is extremely beneficial.
So if you’re needing some guidance on cybersecurity, reach out to your insurance company and get their guidelines. It's a quick checklist of what to do. But if you need further assistance, then the Viva Team would be happy to help.
Mini podcast series and a deep dive into Smart Cities
As you may have noticed, we have recently been talking a lot about smart cities and how technology, when used correctly, can improve the lives for municipalities and their citizens. This is an industry we are very passionate about as there are many neat initiatives going on in this space and it aligns very closely with our purpose: to use technology to build a better future for cities, organizations, and citizens.
Our most recent smart city blog, “Exploring LoRaWAN for smart cities” looks at how the unique features of Long Range Wide Area Networks could present an exciting opportunity for the advancement of smart cities.
In addition to our articles on various aspects of smart cities, we are working on building our own Intelligent City platform (VivaCitadel, mentioned previously), and we are excited to share it with you. That’s why we decided to film a mini podcast series on Vivacity, VivaCitadel, and how we came to be where we are today.
Keep your eyes on our LinkedIn and blog to follow along as our CEO George Emery and Technical Product Manager Stefano Stamato talk through the foundations of our company and the work we do to bring our purpose to life. Our first video will be coming out sooner than you think!
Going Agile (note, its not a straight line)
Late last year the Viva Team identified a few issues in our project delivery. The major concerns were around efficiency, transparency and increasing workflow/productivity. During this time Stefano, Vivacity’s Technical Product Manager, took on the role of seeking project management improvements for the entire organization. In this journey, we ultimately decided on Agile as a modern framework to support our operations. With this in mind, here’s an overview of our journey and some of the benefits we’re now seeing.
In January 2023, we had a lot to figure out in terms of meeting schedules, standups, sprint cycles, project management software, etc. There was a ton to work on, but we took our time, iterated, and eventually landed on a cycle that aligned with our specific operations.
This iteration and learning process never stops, and recently we met with the awesome team at BCLC to discuss their Agile environment and any insights we could gather. The session with BCLC was great and they’re clearly several giant steps ahead of us, but we learnt a huge amount about effort estimation and how to potentially scale this framework out in the future as the VivaTeam grows.
The journey to an Agile environment is not over, but overall the upside has been great. Today we have much better transparency within the organization, alignment on long-term goals, better team communication, and a stronger ability to plan and implement large scale projects. If you’re ever interested in learning more about our Agile journey, do let us know. We’d be happy to help.
Thank you so much for tuning in and don't hesitate to reach out to the Viva team with any thoughts or questions.
Vivacity Technologies Ltd., Fraser St., Kamloops, British Columbia