The guidance also covers the importance of embracing digital inclusion so all citizens have access to services
The Smart Cities Council, the world’s largest smart cities network, has updated its Smart Cities Readiness Guide which outlines the necessary steps towards a successful digital transformation.
Originally launched in 2013 as a downloadable PDF, the handbook is now a living online document used by thousands of cities, counties, states and provinces to shape their future initiatives, according to the council. Cities are urged to follow eight best practices developed by leading practitioners.
New material on digital city services – services delivered by browser or smartphone ‒ sets out why and how cities are “going digital” to gain competitive advantage.
“Going digital is more than a trend ‒ it’s a race,” said Jesse Berst, chairman of the Smart Cities Council. “Cities that successfully make the transition are able to achieve ‘happier for less’ ‒ spending less to increase citizen satisfaction.”
The new digital services section of the handbook details the compelling benefits both cities and citizens accrue when leaders make digital services a priority. Among them; increased citizen engagement; increased employee productivity; increased competitiveness; increased customer satisfaction; and reduced costs.
The guide points out that an online interaction can cost as much as 50 times less than face-to-face. Yet most citizens greatly prefer the convenience of 24-7 self-service access from a web browser or phone.
The guidance also covers the importance of embracing digital inclusion so all citizens have access to services, the characteristics of customer-centric solutions and the move toward digital solutions as a service, which allows budget-strapped cities to lease a solution month-by-month.
“Becoming ‘digital by default’ involves far more than creating a few smartphone apps,” added Berst. “It also creates the opportunity ‒ some would say the requirement – to streamline operations and enhance interdepartmental collaboration. To help cities make this essential transformation, we’ve gathered the best ideas and lessons learned from those who’ve gone before.”
Growing populations, growing expectations and shrinking budgets are driving more and more cities to make their services available by web or smartphone. The new chapter includes a comprehensive list of the digital services cities can implement. It also highlights numerous real-life examples and sets forth eight best practices gathered from the council’s network of experts.
Singapore’s SingPass system, for example, gives citizens a single site and single password to interact with nearly five dozen government agencies that provide nearly 300 digital services. And in Boston, the BOS:311 app lets citizens report things that need fixing, such as potholes or public lighting. Once fixed, a city worker snaps a photo of the repair and sends it to whoever reported the problem.
If you liked this, you may wish to view the following:
Trailblazing start-ups awarded
Smart Cities Council names winners of its innovation awards in Smart Cities Week in the US
San Antonio advances smart cities initiatives
San Antonio City Council approved funding to support smart city initiatives in the areas of transportation, sustainability and digital connected living.
Smart Cities Council announces challenge winners
Austin, Indianapolis, Miami, Orlando and Philadelphia will receive Readiness Workshops, products and services in 2017