The Path to Smart Governance

We can’t solve tomorrow’s problems with today’s economic models. Every country has created a digital agenda, and most have a roadmap in place. Digital agendas evolve into Digital Transformation programs, which give structure and direction to smart services (often under the Smart City rubric), which power both governments and industries into the Industry 4.0 era.

We view this transformation as a four-step process.

Step 1: First Safe Then Smart

The focus here is on creating a safe living environment by transforming police and first-response (more on this below). With this in place, you’ve made your city a more attractive target for investors. You’ve also created demand amongst citizens for other social services to catch up.

Step 2: Government Cloud

This is where government siloes are broken down, enabling a more collaborative attitude both between departments, and between departments & citizens, while also enabling a speed of operations more like what’s expected in the private sector, thus laying the foundation for the next two stages.

Step 3: Digitized Public Services

Now that government is more accustomed to a faster pace of work, it’ll be much easier to cope with online provision of services. This means greater efficiency and less cost, and a more satisfied citizenry to boot.

Step 4: Industry Acceleration

And now that the government has a nice digital infrastructure in place, it can be shared with private industry. And now that government has a faster way-of-working in place, Public-Private Partnerships become that much easier.

These steps add up to a future where services are more efficient, citizens and businesses are more productive, and governments can do more to stimulate their economies than traditional measures like tax breaks.

It All Begins With Safety

The very first target in any Smart City initiative should be safety. After all, how economically viable is any digital agenda if a city or region isn’t safe and secure? People don’t want to live or work in an unsafe environment. Areas with high crime are characterized by a lack of unity, poor citizenship, and low quality of life. In the numbeo.com index, the highest-scoring countries for living standards also tend to be the safest. Crime also doesn’t pay ─ it’s estimated that violent crime, for example, costs the UK economy £124 billion per year. As such, does it make sense to invest in Smart City initiatives without resolving the safety issue first?

Safe Cities in Action

Connected devices and IoT benefit public safety and policing. Authorities can combine their own video surveillance networks with other public and private security systems alongside vehicle-mounted and portable solutions. With zero blind spots, these systems can monitor incidents like theft, civic unrest, and unauthorized access much more easily.

With smart devices running on private broadband networks, officers can pick up a live feed of shoplifting in progress from CCTV before arriving at the scene, or they can receive feeds of criminals escaping a crime scene from cameras fixed to patrol cars or drones. Responses can be coordinated between central command and local patrols, while incident reports can be filed on the spot via mobile apps – all on a single device.

Police can store and organize surveillance data in a Video Cloud solution, and access, share and query vast video datasets with greater ease and accuracy. Sophisticated analytics tools improve the ability to identify, classify, and match stored video. These Safe City solutions are secure against cyber attack and cost effective as new infrastructure, especially when rolled out as part of broader Smart City initiatives.

Making a Difference in Kenya

Tourism contributes around 14% of Kenya’s GDP and accounts for 12% of total employment, making it the second-largest industry in the country. But attacks on its cities and coastal towns, as well as ongoing conflicts in Somalia and Sudan, have resulted in warnings to avoid the nation.

Its National Police Service Commission now has a high-speed private broadband network based in part on Huawei’s wireless eLTE solution. The new infrastructure links its command centers with surveillance cameras in downtown Nairobi, and cameras at city checkpoints, and any mobile or wireless device in the hands of officers in the field.

Authorities now have panoramic video surveillance of Nairobi’s urban center, and a highly agile converged command control and dispatch setup, running on satellite-based GPS and software-based GIS, the geographic information system designed to store and manipulate GPS data.

An intelligent video analysis platform has been established to manage video resources and meet a variety of service needs, including real-time surveillance, video browsing, data sharing, and evidence collection. The new system has enhanced police collaboration and field coordination, and shortened decision-making and response times significantly.

Embracing Government Cloud

Governments have started transitioning from manual and paper processes to digital processes for all public services such as taxing, visas, housing, and citizen registration.

Paperless offices, high-performance workplaces, and self-service portals provide each government department with a unique system to digitally support its work. But, all these systems are verticalized. They’re information silos, they’re proprietary, they block progress, and they cannot seamlessly integrate with other systems.

Overlaying cloud architecture can remove barriers between government functions and siloes without necessarily upgrading or replacing existing infrastructure. Departments can access integrated, cross-functional application systems, and staff can transfer access permissions to other departments.

Removing siloes can make a once-only model possible for individuals and businesses to access government services. Instead of having to register multiple times across government departments for different services, doing so once covers all services. Re-using information can also guarantee a much more personal experience. The same principle applies to contacting multiple departments for a single issue like registering a business, applying for citizenship or registering a birth.

eGovernment bridges information siloes and makes them work together without replacement or forklift upgrade. Digital Transformation is built on open standards and carried by Business-driven ICT Infrastructure (BDII). With a focus on innovating around customers, BDII is leading the way into the next industrial revolution by deeply integrating ICT infrastructure with software applications, developing innovative infrastructure, and enabling joint innovation with partners.

As the engine of Digital Transformation, Government Cloud has a series of benefits:

  • Shared data across departments while enabling service collaboration and diversification.
  • Reduced cost and complexity in terms of networking and computing resource duplication when each government agency maintains its own IT resources.
  • Secured information from a growing number of internal and external security threats.
  • Scalability to expand or downsize government functions.

Big Data Analytics and IoT

Cloud-enabled mining and analysis of huge datasets can reveal insights that can help governments with extremely complex decision-making, especially when AI solutions add precision and insight to analytics. Data mining tools can process structured numeric data in traditional databases or extract relevance from semi-structured and unstructured data, such as text, graphics, images, and web data.

IoT and smart sensors have huge potential for making connections everywhere in eGovernment and serving as the source of an incredible amount of data. While the most publicized applications of IoT tend to be in the areas of transportation and health, less obvious applications include wildlife protection, flood monitoring, and earthquake protection.

Once safe cities, digital infrastructure, and eGovernment solutions are in place, Digital Transformation can be more easily replicated in other scenarios such as transportation, agriculture, healthcare, and education, while also encouraging Public-Private Partnerships (PPP).

Explore the latest trends in eGovernment and Smart Cities here.

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