22-Jul-2019

The inaugural IT Vanguard awards uncovered some outstanding projects that are striving connect people more than even before.

The inaugural IT Vanguard awards uncovered some outstanding projects that are striving to keep people connected, now more than ever. As we profile each of the 11 winners recognized for customer-centric IT innovations that are driving the customer experience, our first winner brings a unique perspective of connectivity and nature.

The Santa Clara County area in Northern California is lush with a world-class parks system made up of approximately 50,000 acres spread across 28 parks. It is also home to Silicon Valley and the cutting edge of technology development in North America. Residents and visitors to the parks – approximately 3 million each year - experience beautiful scenery, well-maintained facilities, and a variety of activities. They also bring high expectations for modern conveniences when visiting the parks, including Wi-Fi connectivity.

Neelam Saini joined the Santa Clara Parks leadership team in 2015 as a Business Relationship Manager for IT Services. She saw straight away a need for better high-speed connectivity as the remote and rugged areas of the parks presented a challenge with limited cellular access for visitors, and for park field staff trying to get their job done.  

And this is where her IT Vanguard badge of honor starts. She came in and took the lead in developing a strategy to build greater connectivity throughout the parks system. Neelam began analyzing the reality of the ease and affordability in assembling an enhanced communication service across the parks. She identified operational needs, connectivity gaps and coverage requirements.  She then led a team in designing an optimal use of mixed technologies to deliver better connectivity to key areas within Parks.

What’s special about this? Within local government circles, Neelam’s efforts were unique on many levels. First, her approach was a business-led initiative that challenged the IT-centric status quo of what was considered an acceptable approach. In addition, it required multiple County departments and outside agencies to work together in a way that wasn’t all that common. The outcome? The resulting architecture - utilization of existing County public safety radio towers for the transmission of internet traffic - maximizes coverage and ensures a sustainable TCO for Parks in order to provide an ideal mobile experience for staff and visitors.

IT Vanguard Neelam Saini

Neelam helped build a new vision of connectivity for the Parks system by bringing together the various groups needed to create and deliver a better experience. The project also paved the way for future use of IoT, GIS and immersive interpretive experiences where visitors can enjoy the parks with the aid of digital content including trail maps or on demand location specific information.   

At the forefront of this transformational effort within the County, Neelam is well-deserving of recognition as a vanguard for her determination in challenging the County’s status quo, focusing on delivering exceptional results to County residents, and her leadership in using technology in innovative ways for the benefit of both Parks employees and visitors. Congratulations, Neelam for your innovated success and making a change for your community!   Read more about Neelam’s award-winning initiative and other IT Vanguards at https://itvanguardawards.com/

Tags - Digital Transformation

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Tracy Dupree blog author image

Tracy Dupree

Ambassador of Customer Happiness, ALE, North America

Tracy Duprée is the Ambassador of Customer Happiness at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise in North America. Her passion lies in storytelling, social media and assuring all are having a good time and experience along their journey of life.

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