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Request your Marriage Certificate at the Mall: Transforming the Delivery of Government Services

Government services and convenience are rarely seen within the same sentence; more often than not, the thought of making the trip down to city hall is a sure-fire way to increase one’s blood pressure. Cisco’s efforts around Smart+Connected Communities have continuously focused on identifying these types of pain points – advocating the need to design cities with technology at the core to improve delivery of new citizen services.

Nice1

Citizen services in France

This month, efforts around the world in France, Spain, Germany, Canada and the United States have showcased the pivotal role of technology in the development of modern-day cities. More and more, the network has become an essential part of a city infrastructure – much like gas and water. When we’re able to implement a scalable intelligent network to create tangible service-delivery points for citizens, what we essentially create is an entirely new business model that promotes a shift in how public services are delivered.

The initiatives detailed throughout this post are not only exciting as an indicator of global acceptance from large communities around the world, but they also serve as a key initial step towards what we can provide with a full suite of transformational services. Through utilizing key technologies that bring access closer to the community, Cisco and its partners are transforming the means in which cities deliver government services.

Nice, France

Spot Mairie in Nice

Spot Mairie in Nice

Cisco is working together with the city and the Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolitan Area to deploy the world’s first fully operational Cisco Remote Expert for Government Services (REGS) solution. Installed at the Nice Étoile shopping mall, a cabin has been fully equipped with a Cisco TelePresence system and collaboration tools to bring government services closer to communities.

Named the ‘Spot Mairie’, this deployment provides real-time access to key services such as certification requests, voter registration, requests for public services and a host of other offerings during regular business hours. Once inside the cabin, citizens interact face-to-face with a remote agent over video and are sent necessary forms remotely via a printer. A mailbox and document scanner is also provided for easy access. Spot Mairie aims to change how citizens perceive the delivery of public services and falls right in line with an agreement signed between the Nice Metropolitan Area and Cisco France for digital development efforts within the area.

 

Barcelona, Spain

Casa Del Mig, Barcelona

Casa Del Mig, Barcelona

Traveling a little farther south, Barcelona City Hall and Cisco recently announced Spain’s first remote expert for government services deployment. As we’ve seen with Nice, Cisco TelePresence technology and collaboration tools have been installed in a booth at the Casa del Mig area of the city, providing citizens with remote access to a variety of government services (customized for that specific region).

This pilot program is a first for Spain and furthers Cisco’s collaboration agreement with the Barcelona City Hall to transform Barcelona into a global reference model for urban innovation.

Addressing the ‘blank spots’ in Germany

At the February meeting of the largest association of German telecommunications operators (BREKO), the Cisco Industry Solutions Group presented a live demo of the remote expert for government services solution to an audience of city and regional carriers – as well as municipal utilities. For a bit of background, the 140 members of BREKO help provide high quality optical fiber access to urban, as well as rural areas – covering the “blank spots.” As a result of the demonstration, we are working now to include the feedback from the association with ideas for improvement and more use cases. At the same time, a collaboration was announced between Cisco and ODR Technologie Services GmBH to help bring this solution to market; making them the first partner in Germany to do so. ODR TSG is developing an initial pilot in the county of Aalen. Stay tuned for more updates on how the solution could be rolled out in the German market.

Municipalities in Ontario, Canada

In Canada, the City of Stratford has been making major strides towards becoming a leader in digital media and infrastructure and was short-listed as one of the top intelligent cities by the ICF. Partnering with Cisco to help deliver the proper networking infrastructure, Stratford is focused on driving investment and innovation to transform the city’s future. Cisco has begun working with several progressive municipalities in Ontario to deploy REGS solution pilots. Forward-thinking municipalities – including Stratford – will trial remote expert for government services kiosks to deliver access to municipal government services/information and help further drive Smart+Connected Communities initiatives in the area. By utilizing technology to improve citizen services and provide greater ease of access, these pilots are another glimpse into what the future holds for a Smart+Connected Canada.

Remote Expert 1.8 Introduced

Building on the momentum we’ve seen globally with Cisco’s overall remote expert solutions across several vertical industries, we’re also excited to announce a solution update with Remote Expert 1.8. New capabilities continue our efforts around enabling partners to better connect customers with subject matter experts via immersive, virtual environments. These new features include scalable support, video in queue functionality for TelePresence and the integration of Cisco MediaSense to deliver audio recording, in addition to others. Furthermore, a newly enhanced Remote Expert Services Portfolio includes planning, building and management services to support a secure solution that effectively integrates with customers’ existing process and infrastructures – and to deliver the highest quality experience.

Connected Justice in Texas

Kiosk Touch Pad

Interactive Touch Pad. Photo: BILLY CALZADA, San Antonio Express-News

In other areas around the world, we’ve also seen how other Cisco technologies have been used to address the pressing challenge of delivering new citizen services. We turn now to the great state of Texas, where the Cisco Connected Justice solution is transforming the administration of routine court tasks and allowing city officials to improve court processes.

San Antonio Connected Justice Kiosk

Connected Justice Kiosk. Photo: BILLY CALZADA, San Antonio Express-News

Last year, the city of San Antonio, Texas announced the deployment of interactive video kiosks for citizens to resolve Municipal Court offenses from right in their own neighborhood. Devised by Municipal Court Presiding Judge John Bull, court manager Jason Tabor and Cisco, these remote expert kiosks enable a live, interactive video feed where residents can speak with Judge Alfredo Tavera about their cases and the options available to them. The service allows up to 20 people to be linked via Cisco TelePresence to the court at one time and a touch screen with interactive pad is provided for ease of use.

This month, residents in San Antonio will find an up-and-running kiosk right in their own neighborhood grocery store. Resolving a traffic ticket won’t ever be pleasant, but at least it’ll be more convenient now. Additional kiosks are already available within a local community center outside of downtown. Collin County, TX has also explored the use of kiosks in their court system and is in the midst of deployment. All in all, these services are helping transform the means in which we deal with every day circumstances like traffic violations.

Delivering citizen services remotely in Barcelona

Delivering citizen services remotely in Barcelona

The Bigger Picture

The developments in these global regions provide a crucial step in the broader effort to transform cities around the world. Having the ability to access government services from somewhere as casual and accessible as a shopping mall is an important indicator of what’s possible. In Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities vision, the Internet can be the key platform in city planning and development efforts. As we see it, the Internet of Everything has a pivotal role in powering an amazing future – one in which the intelligent connection of people, process, data and things on the network will transform our cities and the way in which we conduct our day-to-day lives.

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Cisco NRF 2013 — Cisco Remote Expert Smart Solution for Retail Demonstration

January 30, 2013 at 9:46 am PST

“Great show!” That’s what we’ve been hearing from retailers who visited Cisco’s booth and attended our Big Ideas Sessions at NRF 2013.

I led the demonstration of the Cisco Remote Expert Smart Solution for Retail in our booth. This solution transforms how you connect and interact with your customers. It offers a superior video and collaboration experience between shoppers and remote experts from any location within your store. It can help you entice shoppers to buy and more easily up-sell additional products and services while improving customer service.

Our retail customers were engaged and excited by this demo. Every time a live video call was placed to our Remote Expert in the booth, they immediately began discussing how this solution could be applied in their store environments to enhance the customer experience and train employees. Multiple customers returned to the demo several times, each time bringing different colleagues to re-experience the demo and discuss options for deploying it in their stores.

Visit our recently launched Cisco Remote Expert Smart Solution for Retail at  www.cisco.com/go/retail-remoteexpert for more information:

Read more about the solution in our brochure.

Watch the video of our NRF demonstration and share it with your colleagues:

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21st century government work…how is your workspace changing?

This week the Whitehouse released a Presidential Memorandum — Building a 21st Century Digital Government and unveiled a new mobile initiative intended to reshape how government agencies utilize mobile platforms to serve the public. 

The strategy focuses on providing citizens and an increasingly mobile government workforce access to digital government information and services anywhere, anytime, on any device.

I have the opportunity to work with global government leaders around the world from cities and counties to national government agencies including public safety, the courts, civilian agencies, and national security.  Many are seeing a shift to mobile communications and information sharing and a shift from fixed desktop PCs to smart phones, laptops, and tablets.

A mobile government workforce is more productive, helps government achieve key initiatives such as telework, and enhances the employee experience. 

Remote teleworker initiatives are driving not only a change in where government work is done but also a  shift towards bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives. 

A benefit for this change in the government workspace is the productivity improvements and cost savings that result. Recently, the Telework Exchange and Cisco hosted the “Ramp Up Your Savings: Measuring the Telework Returns” with best practices and tools to measure the benefits of Telework including cost savings.   

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