One of the great challenges every municipality faces is how to deliver higher quality services to its citizens and businesses while their budgets consistently seem to shrink. Several of Canada’s leading communities are taking a pro-active role and are experimenting with shared services (an outsourcing or regional consolidation model); and almost all of them are looking at the Internet to be a low-cost channel for services delivery. Both these and other strategies are all the right steps towards a smarter and connected reality. Municipal leaders, however, recognized that one can’t quite eliminate the much needed face to face interactions with its constituents while delivering high-touch services–both from a quality and a security perspective.
Surely, the transformation of governmental services can’t be a burden that should solely rest on the shoulders of the municipality, although it is understood that they are the closest connected to the real needs and concerns of citizens and businesses in Canada. But what about the Federal services for which I have to go to Service Canada (I truthfully sat in their waiting room this week for 90 minutes so I could submit paperwork for a passport renewal)? Or Provincial services for which I need to go to Service Ontario? Passports, driver licenses, health cards, marriage certificates…does anyone still know for what to go where? Add to this Canada Post with its 6,500 services outlets. Or the municipal library systems (where there is more than books). And community centers all around the country for outreach and engagement.
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Tags: 21st Century Government, citizen services, cloud, intelligent communities, local government, remote expert, remote expert for government services, shared services
The Taiwan city of Taichung was in the spotlight twice this year. Not bad for a place few had heard of in most parts of the Western world -- at least until the Academy Awards broadcast in February. During that event, Asian-born director Ang Lee, after being named the recipient of four Oscars for his film Life of Pi, thanked Taichung in his acceptance speech for its technical prowess. Those bragging rights were celebrated. Four months later the city had something else to claim. In June, the city’s Secretary-General (the equivalent of City Manager in the United States), Ms Ching-Chih Liao, stood on the stage at Steiner Film Studios in New York to accept the Intelligent Community of the Year award on behalf of Taichung’s 2.7 million citizens and its charismatic mayor, Jason Hu. An international jury and a research company had ranked this city higher (by a few hundredths of a point) than the six other communities that had been invited to New York for their impressive achievement as innovative, job-creating places which used technology to enable growth.
Madame Liao noted the hard work that her community has done to balance its rural and urban economies, and the role that both broadband and the cloud play to support an infrastructure upon which innovation and technology companies thrive and add value in a place once known as “The Mechanical Kingdom.”
To understand why Taichung went so far in the awards program, it is important to understand that it first grasped the basic importance of the layer of physical infrastructure (telecommunications) and how it would next lead to its ability to exceed at ICF’s other five criteria, including innovation and a knowledge workforce poised to grow its middle-class.
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Tags: broadband, cloud, economic development, intelligent communities, local government, rural and urban economic balance, rural imperative, taichung, Technology innovation and development
This week at Cisco Live!, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles spoke on a government customer roundtable. Rob Fields, the CIO for the Department provided insight into the challenges that he faced with legacy equipment, the organization’s technology vision and plans for the future.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety had purchased lowest bid, low-quality networking equipment prior to Fields’ appointment as CIO. He knew that before he could accomplish any of his technology goals he had to rebuild the network with Cisco from the ground up.
Around this time the State of Florida imposed a travel ban, which was negatively affecting personnel throughout the department. Fields and his team had already been looking at video solutions following the network upgrade, but the travel ban gave them an even greater sense of urgency. “We installed video solutions at 15 locations and began conducting Florida Highway Patrol command staff meetings, remote interviews, and field manager meetings, over video and immediately saw ROI. It was a huge success,” said Fields. Read More »
Tags: #CLUS, Borderless Networks, govtech, TelePresence, unified workspace, videoconferencing, voice over IP
The verdict is in. The Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida’s innovative interpretation services are revolutionizing the legal system throughout the Sunshine State.
On a public sector roundtable today at Cisco Live!, the Ninth Circuit’s Trial Court Administrator Matt Benefiel shared insights on the Florida court system and the challenges the state faced in providing equal services to its culturally and demographically diverse communities.
With citizens speaking English, Spanish, Creole, Mandarin, Russian, Vietnamese and a number of other languages, including those who communicate through American Sign Language (ASL), the state of Florida was spending millions of dollars each year on court interpretation services. Read More »
Tags: Connected Justice, remote appearance, remote interpretation, translation
While at Cisco Live! in Orlando, Fla., I had the pleasure of leading a tour of the future Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center at Lake Nona, along with Dr. Kenneth Goldberg, the center’s new chief of staff.
This amazing facility will be the first new VA hospital to be built in the U.S. in nearly 20 years. When complete, it will be a state-of-the-art medical center that will care for many of the approximately 400,000 veterans and their families living in Central Florida (1.8 million veterans call Florida home).
The 1.2 million square-foot facility in Orange County will be one of the largest hospitals in the VA system. It will have a large multispecialty outpatient clinic, a 134-bed inpatient diagnostic and treatment hospital, a 118-bed nursing home, a 60-bed domiciliary, and a veterans benefit mini service center. Its campus will also include the Simulation Learning Education and Research Network, which is a high-technology, immersive environment that uses simulation to train VA medical personnel. Read More »
Tags: #CLUS, govtech, healthcare, telehealth, telemedicine, Veterans Administration