The newly graduated class of the California Department of Technology’s Digital Services Innovation Academy (DSIA) produced three “very pertinent and unique apps” as their class project, and there’s a good chance they’ll be developed for rollout.

DSIA is one of four academies offered by the California Department of Technology (CDT), the others being the flagship Information Technology Leadership Academy (ITLA), the Project Management Leadership Academy (PMLA) and the Information Security Leadership Academy.  

As part of DSIA’s 10-week course, participants worked on three projects, according to CDT spokesman Bob Andosca:

  • Digital currency, or CalCoin, is a cryptocurrency that can assist California in its pursuit of public health. Those receiving public assistance would be able to use CalCoin, with their smartphone, instead of relying on vouchers or a debit card system. CalCoin deposits into an account that the user can access via a smartphone scan app and the purchase is made — easy, safe and secure.
  • A new Amber Alert approach called eAmber is an enhanced, cloud-based approach that would help citizens and law enforcement in the recovery of an abducted child. It allows users to take advantage of mobile devices by using GIS, social media and crowdsourcing to share information quickly and widely in order to find the abducted child as fast as possible.
  • A homeless assistance app named CALiAM takes advantage of blockchain technology to verify identification and offers citizens access to services such as housing, medical assistance and food. Future iterations could take advantage of artificial intelligence and biometric scanning.

The innovation academy “introduces the tools and skills required to transform a business problem from concept to product using modern design and development principles,” according to Andosca. The class graduation was last Thursday in Sacramento.

“DSIA is open to developers, web designers, graphic artists, program managers, data analysts, data scientists, project managers and communication specialists,” according to CDT.

“This year’s cohort came from both state and local government,” Andosca told Techwire in an email. “Course topics included UI/UX, Human Centered Design, DevOps and Data Visualization. All students participated in a digital services team challenge where they had the opportunity to apply concepts and knowledge learned. The program includes 18 days of formal instruction in addition to designated lab days to prepare for the challenge.” 

He added: "We are expecting these apps will be developed in the near future."

Techwire will follow the development process on the three products.

CDT's flagship academy, ITLA, has been a training ground for many state IT workers who’ve moved up the ranks to become chief information officers and agency information officers.