Cities and other government agencies often struggle to keep up with technology. And IT systems don’t always transfer well from one city to another. That’s a challenge the city of St. Louis and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) want to solve. So the two teamed up for a technology pilot called Smart City Interoperability Reference Architecture, or SCIRA. The DHS describes SCIRA as “a framework to facilitate the integration and operability of disparate IT systems.”

SCIRA has two main goals: to make sure city IT systems communicate with each other and to make those technology advancements available to small towns as well as large cities. City systems under scrutiny include major efforts like life-saving emergency response systems as well as everyday public services that citizens depend on.