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
One of the questions I was asked about the awards given by the Intelligent Community Forum is what does it take to become an intelligent community. I’ll try to summarize what I’ve learned from participating in the ICF as a keynoter, juror and (before Cisco) a leader of a Top 7 community.
Among the few hundred communities that apply in this contest, it is clear the first step is make sure the community has sufficient broadband. Almost all of the things that intelligent communities can do for and with their residents depend upon that connectivity in one way or the other.
Second, high-speed connectivity is not enough to stand out in this global competition. The next question is what a community does with the technology. Is it transforming:
- The way that residents interact with their government?
- How residents — from pre-kindergarteners to seniors — are educated?
- How well the physical aspects of the community are managed?
- How residents are kept healthy and safe?
- The local economy and the income opportunities for residents?
… Just to name some of the evidence that ICF is looking for.
Intelligent Communities Forum Co-Founder Louis Zacharilla preparing to announce the 2013 winner. Read More »
Tags: intelligent communities, intelligent communities forum, intelligent communities summit, local government, S+CC, safe cities, Smart Cities
I can hardly wait. In two days the suspense will be over and the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) will have selected its 2013 Intelligent Community of the Year. With so many extraordinary and innovative communities in the running, I’m glad it’s not up to me to choose one. But I do have the thrill and privilege of seeing it all happen, live in New York City at the ICF Summit this week.
I and the other attendees will no doubt listen in awe to the inspiring leaders from all around the world as they talk about the way their organizations are changing the way people in their communities or regions work, live, play, and learn. Who will be this year’s winner? One strong candidate is Toronto Canada, one of this year’s Top7 communities. Learn more about their initiatives in the video below:
Later today, we’ll hear from Toronto’s Councillor, Michael Thompson, and have the opportunity to pick his brain during a group Q&A session to learn more about how Toronto is improving their economic and social environment by providing community network services to its constituents, with its energy-reducing smart and connected buildings to link residents and businesses, with portals and kiosks to provide real-time services to citizens, and with smart sensors and surveillance for public safety. I’d say they’re a pretty tough contender!
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Tags: cloud, intelligent communities forum, intelligent communities summit, intelligent community award, local government, smart and connected communities, Smart Cities, top7
There’s an increasing drumbeat of news about the “Internet of Everything” (IoE)— the confluence of people, process, data, and things that makes networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before.
IoE comprises the ubiquitous ways that billions of people and numerous devices on the Internet communicate and report on their status and location. This covers everything from the location of your smartphone, to where a package might be, to the rate of your pulse or your arrival on a street corner, to the condition of a highway.
The Internet of Everything isn’t way off in the future. Today, the number of physical devices connected to the Internet is already six times the number of people on the Internet, even though there are 2 billion of those people. By 2020, there will be 50 billion connected devices.
These devices will come to dominate the “cloud.” Of course, the complexity of a global system that connects all these devices and people is mind-boggling. This global system has the potential for unpredictable and perhaps disastrous behavior. That alone should get the attention of public leaders.
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Tags: Cisco, cloud, Connected, devices, IBSG, Internet of Everything, Internet of Things (IoT), IoE, local government, state government