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For Release — December 14, 2017

Business Council leads tech stakeholder discussion on innovation

ALBANY, N.Y.—The Business Council of New York State Inc., building off its September Annual Meeting which focused on the “Future of New York State Business”, today convened the leading voices in the state’s tech and innovation community for a broad-based discussion on the next steps for New York State. The Information Technology & Telecommunications Forum, subtitled, “Next Steps for New York Tech: Continuing the innovation momentum”, brought dozens of industry experts under the same roof in an effort to ensure New York State does not get left behind. From protecting business and consumers from increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, to fostering a cooperative regulatory environment that embraces private sector investments in new communications technology, to working with our state’s educators to make sure today’s students are taught the skills needed for tomorrow’s jobs, the forum was designed to spur discussion among interested parties and our state’s political leaders.

“AT&T’s support for technology innovation across New York--encouraging start-up companies, engaging established employers and partnering with research institutions--stems from our understanding that high-speed, high-capacity connectivity is essential for sustaining economic growth, particularly in Upstate,” said Marissa Shorenstein, president, AT&T-Northeast Region.  “That's why we are eager to work with policymakers to ensure our industry can deploy the latest technologies for New York businesses and residents and ensure the Empire State remains a national innovation leader.”

“We are incredibly fortunate that many of the leading voices in the world’s technology community have a significant footprint right here in New York,” said Heather C. Briccetti Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. “However our state’s elected officials must harness that power and recognize that we have to foster an environment that encourages innovation and creativity and provides the workforce needed to allow these companies to continue to thrive. The only way we will continue to grow our tech economy, and ensure New York leads the way, is by having discussions like today’s forum. We must bring all the stakeholders together in a spirit of cooperation, understanding and trust.

In addition to today’s forum, The Business Council of New York State and its ITT Committee members will actively pursue the following agenda items during next year’s legislative session:

Cyber security/data breach regulations - Recognizing that the interconnectivity of today’s world brings with is heightened risk of cyberattacks and data breaches, we strongly urge the adoption of federal standards to fight the risks. A federal solution is far preferable to the adoption of piecemeal state-by-state regulations which would only serve to give individuals a false sense of security while doing little to actually mitigate future attacks.

Workforce development - Education initiatives that focus on STEM, coding, and security training should be an integral part of New York State’s educational curriculum. As more and more businesses become victim to cyberattacks and reliant on data storage and analytics, IT departments will play a greater role in companies of all sizes. Combining the Governor’s Excelsior Program with either new incentives for school districts to adopt tech-based learning programs or a reform of the SED’s designed learning standards to increase focus on basic coding skills would propel New York’s next generation workforce forward in filling needed job roles in IT, encryption, financial technology, and cybersecurity/data brokering.

Technology procurement reform and best practices - Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent by state and local government on technology acquisition. We support adopting a form of procurement that incorporates best value and expertise, as well as state-local joint ventures. Doing so will allow governments to achieve savings while at the same time acquiring state-of-the-art technology across a broad-spectrum of services.

E-commerce - Government must be cognizant of new economies, marketplaces and computer platforms driving consumerism. Unnecessary regulations, taxation, and government uncertainty run the risk of stifling these new markets and crippling innovation.

The Business Council’s ITT Committee, which held its inaugural meeting earlier this year, is committed to achieving the above agenda items and will look to continue the momentum of an incredibly successful 2017.