With the world getting progressively smarter, there’s no reason our cities should not step onto the bandwagon. Mass migration from the rural into urban areas, driven by the motive of a better livelihood, is a challenge several cities face in the 21st Century. Those at the helm of administrative affairs have no option but to work their way around this, and smart cities often come to the rescue.
First Off, What Makes A City Smarter Than Others?
These areas, referred to as smart cities, aim for sustainable economic development, efficient utilization of natural resources, and citizen participation in governance. The eventual goal is to extend to citizens a higher quality of life. BPM and ECM can integrate with IOT Devices, core/legacy applications and ERP systems, as well as capitalise on latest new-age disruptive technologies that citizens might embrace in future. Technological investments in digital platforms- ECM and BPM empowered by mobility is the sure-shot path to a smart city.
Rampant urbanization massively affects quality of life. Smart cities are seen as a way to counter the challenges urbanization brings with it, through its heavy usage of Information and Communication Technology. The smart city concept allows direct communication between those responsible for administration and citizens, thereby ensuring open access and dissemination of information to the citizens. Among the necessary parameters that establish a city as a smart one are:
- Smart phone penetration levels
- Investments in clean energy technologies
- Digital access to government services
- Transportation & Mobility Infrastructure
- Availability of High Speed Internet
Key Challenges that Government faces while Building a Smart City
Considering the whole idea of smart cities is centred around a better life for citizens, governments obviously cannot be left out of the narrative. Any smart city is the outcome of the combined and coordinated efforts made by local governments, industry players, technology vendors, and citizen participation. Smart cities need smart governments to lay out favourable policies, laws and regulations.
However, this is definitely not as easy as it sounds. Ensuring transparency in administration along with citizen participation comes with its own set of challenges. Following are the top six challenges any government faces when it starts out on the blue print for a smart city.
- Decentralization of information– Information is stored in disparate legacy systems of the existing city infrastructure. To centralize the same, and mould it into the smart format is a massive challenge.
- Multi-party collaboration– Smart cities require smooth and effective flow of information and coordination amongst the key players. Hence, a lot depends on how effective the collaboration between multiple stakeholders is.
- Transparency in Projects– Smart cities need efficient processes, as they rely on technologically driven projects. Completion of projects on time, along with efficient tracking of status, which is visible to key stakeholders when needed, becomes an essential area of concern.
- Documentation management– Government projects and interfaces are heavily documented and are paper-intensive with manual hand-offs. Processes are dependent on documentation, giving birth to a challenge which needs to be navigated.
- Tracking of Benefits disbursed during services-When Smart cities promise improved quality of life to citizens, it translates to benefits extended to them from government beneficiary programmes. Hence, automation of processes and easy availability of information to citizens and stakeholders becomes crucial.
- e-Service delivery channels– Smart cities are heavily dependent on municipal bodies for essential services, known as basic utilities. And no city can claim to be smart unless the basics are covered. It is here that e-service delivery channels can empower citizens, and fix gaps.
A blueprint that integrates various processes across the Government business architecture, using BPM and ECM platforms, can serve as a strong foundation for digitized processes across smart cities. Once that is in place, no governing body is very far from their dreams of a smart city.