It’s been a few years now since the term ‘smart city’ started to gain popularity in public policies and the interaction between governments and citizens.
It refers to cities in which authorities use information and communication technologies to not only disseminate information or make services available online, but also foster citizen engagement through multichannel contact platforms that offer immediate solutions and a completely digital community.
Smart City Structure
One of the core elements in smart cities is a broadband network. It is capable of supplying a large percentage of the population with Internet and encouraging the adoption of technology.
However, that’s not all it takes for a city to transition to the digital world. Governments must take a series of measures when modernizing and transforming a community. They can promote the use of information technologies through training programs that bring people closer and bridge the digital divide.
Another element that proves essential to digital or smart cities is a set of physical systems operated and managed remotely by unified control centers; for instance, traffic lights, surveillance cameras, and some mobile applications that improve the use of public roads and facilities.
Connectivity and Multichannel Communication
Government departments and agencies in a digital environment are expected to offer assistance through the means most commonly used by citizens so they can provide for immediate interactions and answers, streamline and follow up on standard procedures, resolve doubts efficiently, and become more accessible.
That’s why most of them are implementing multichannel strategies for connecting with a larger number of people in different ways. To produce positive results, multichannel communication must be subject to a unified system where information can be exchanged via inbound and outbound channels uninterruptedly.
The quality and speed of public services depend largely on the ease with which governments manage information. Therefore, they must use tools for unifying their contact channels and be receptive to the population’s needs.
Such tools must be both digital and physical and have some of the following characteristics:
- User-friendly features
- High-performance systems for processing and managing data inputs and outputs
- Compatibility with different solutions or applications and adaptability to multiple operating systems
- Support for multichannel interactions
- Options understandable and accessible to citizens
- Two-way data transmission
- Real-time operation
These characteristics may vary according to the purpose of government departments or agencies.
Digital cities are built based on the structure of real-life communities, hence they’re complex. To be successful and continue evolving, they must follow a strategy that encompasses all the services required by citizens along with all the schemes of today’s public sectors (health care, transportation, education, telecommunications, environmental protection, etc.).
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