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#SmartConnectedCity Series: Accessing Remote Experts for Government Services

June 24, 2014 at 1:17 pm PST

Following last week’s New Cities Summit, I have renewed interest in some of the technologies being implemented to improve citizen services. For example, as a citizen of the Dallas metroplex, I was intrigued by many of the solutions and applications the City of Dallas has put into place on its quest to become a smart and connected city.

With so many cities being pressured with the need to spend less yet meet growing citizen needs, we are seeing a growing interest in solutions such as the Remote Expert Smart Solution for Government Services (REGS). Many of us don’t have frequent need to engage with a city expert or professional, but when I have, the experience has been less than stellar. Too often, citizens end up in lines, waiting, having to take off work and in the worst case scenario – leaving without the information we needed.

Let’s say my grandfather needed to renew his driver’s license. With the REGS solution, the city could place a REGS units (or POD) inside a REGS_podlocal commercial complex, within the public library or even the local bank. My grandfather wouldn’t have to go all the way to the Department of Motor Vehicles.  He could simply go to the local POD location, enter the POD, be greeted and start a virtual face-to-face consultation immediately with an expert who would walk him through the process. The expert and my grandfather could see one another and the expert could share a browser or document and even print off any forms my grandfather needs before he leaves.

REGS_howitworksAs Cecile Willems wrote yesterday, citizen engagement is critical to making our cities better. With solutions that make services easier to access, easier to use, and more effective for both the citizen and the city, we may just see that  an engaged citizen is a happy citizen.

 

Is your city taking steps to improve citizen services? (check out what they are doing with REGS in Brisbane, Australia, by the way)

Interested in learning more about Smart+Connected Solutions such as REGS? 

To learn more about what cities are doing to create new possibilities for improved citizen engagement and a better citizen experience, register  for the entire #SmartConnectedCity blog series, or visit Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities page and Government page on Cisco.com.

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Forget Looking in the Mirror, It’s Your Digital Image That Truly Matters

It’s great to stay in shape at the gym and pick out stylish clothes. But more and more, the personal image that really counts is digital.

That’s because the Internet of Everything (IoE) era demands new ways of looking at, well, just about everything. And everything includes you. In an expanding universe of new connections, each of us needs to ask, just where do I fit? And how am I being viewed?

In short, what is my digital persona?

The ways in which we are seen online have assumed acute importance in recent years, and that only stands to increase. Therefore, our digital personas have to be cultivated and maintained, just as we care for our images in the physical world.

In career terms, for example, you may be known in your daily work life as a good leader. But the physical world has limited reach.  If there is no evidence of that in the digital world, you will be in trouble, especially if you happen to be looking for a new job. Recruiters, of course, know that they can do an instant search and start compiling your digital profile within seconds. If you say you’re an expert or a good manager, your digital persona had better back it.

According to some recent research, job recruiters are turning more and more to Facebook, which by some measures is becoming even more impactful for employment purposes than LinkedIn. So, if the personal social media site can actually trump the professional social media site, think twice before you post those Spring Break photos.

As the consumerization of IT extends ever further into the workplace — via personal devices, social media, and so forth — the blurring of the personal and the professional will only continue.  As a result, everyone must be aware that personal actions have an impact comparable to professional achievements. And the digital trail that you leave behind every day influences how you are perceived in the marketplace.

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#SmartConnectedCity Series: IoE-fficiency through Interactive Citizen Services

One of the key themes that emerged this year from local government leaders at the New Cities Summit is that citizen engagement is a critical component to make our cities better. This theme was reiterated over and over throughout the sessions to really underscore its importance: more effective citizen engagement leads to better outcomes for cities and communities.

Customer Experience in the 21st Century and IoE

Technology is enabling a changing customer engagement model across the city landscape. There are now new options to get information and to create engagement. To engage citizens effectively and to improve the citizen experience, local government leaders and cities have to provide a compelling user experience and relevant information and services anytime, anywhere.

This brings in the concept of the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the catalyst that can transform the citizen services of yesterday into interactive, citizen engagement for today. It’s a platform to connect the previously unconnected thereby creating smarter, more connected, more efficient government agencies and cities that deliver better, faster, real-time services through improved citizen engagement.

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Open Innovation Everywhere: Extending Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence to Innovation Hubs across the U.S

Back in March, I wrote about Cisco’s continued focus on innovation and my personal goal of accelerating innovation by making openness part of our DNA. Similarly, at the recent Cisco Live event in San Francisco, I talked about the incredible Inertnet of Everything (IoE) journey in front of us and offered a few examples of what that future might hold. The IoE future of hyper-connected devices, people, data and processes will see retail, manufacturing, public services and health care fundamentally changed—and our lives made richer and safer. Today, we stand at the dawn of a revolution, and innovation will continue to lead the way.

With both internal and external programs to feed innovation, Cisco aims to nurture disruptive ideas. In this light, we are using our new startup innovation program, Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR), to spur open innovation and drive Cisco’s own leadership position in the emerging IoE opportunity.

The Entrepreneurs in Residence program offers financial support, access to a co-working space, basic software tools and a potential opportunity to collaborate with Cisco product or engineering teams. Each cohort lasts six months, and startups are selected through a rigorous multi-phase selection process that evaluates the viability of their business plans, the strength of their teams and their alignment with Cisco’s strategic focus.

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Imagine the Possibilities with IoT and IoE

Cisco customers have asked me how the Internet of Everything and the Internet of Things are going to affect their everyday life.  My answer:  it can be mind-boggling how interconnected sensors and devices are going to impact our daily lives.

Specifically, in the industrial space, I get to work daily with our manufacturing and mining customers who want to understand best practices and deployments, and figure out how to implement various solutions to add value to their business.  Some of this may be tracking adjacent or similar markets with the nuanced changes to apply to their particular situation.

For example, one customer I have been working with is in the process of integrating 4-5 completely different systems into one tool to do correlation events.  In the past, one person had to have the intelligence to look at each of these disparate systems and then start to tie all of this together.  The issue is with the fact is the single person who has this intelligence is the only one who knows what to do.  This may have been job security for that individual, but the situation creates bottlenecks.

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