Innovative Cities for the Next Generation (ICING)

Innovative Cities for the Next Generation

Innovative Cities for the Next Generation

Some time ago I had the opportunity to participate in the closing event of the ICING (Innovative Cities for the Next Generation) european project in which T-Systems has participated, together with other companies and public institutions.

The project has taken place simultaneously in three european cities (Barcelona, Dublin and Helsinki) with the objetive of developing a bi-directional and multimodal communication platform within the citizens and between them and the public administration, aming also at developing some ground work for other cities that wish to apply innovative solutions to improve the life of its citizens.

In this occasion, I would like to share with everyone some of the conclusions that have been exposed and also to give my opinions, especially with regard to mobile technologies.

For the ICING project there was a city model defined that was called a “thin-skinned” city and which consisted in:

  • Making the cities more sensitive with their citizens and the environment.
  • Provide a new type of IT infrastructure services, that allow the development of new interaction models among citizens and between them and the public administration.
  • Improve the strategic planning, by establishing a continual improvement process based on the new feedback obtained by the usage of new technologies.
  • Promote the creation of virtual communities, which can facilitate the integration of the citizens, by further developing the existing communities.
  • Improve the quality and reduce the costs of the public services, by incorporating new technologies.

All of the previous points have a final goal of improving the life quality of the citizens that live in our cities.

To be able to have a successful deployment of these new services, there are certain dimensions of e-government that need to be considered:

4 dimensions of e-government

4 dimensions of e-government

ICING city model seeks to break donw the barriers that currently exist between the different actors, by changing the role of the cities into a facilitator of interactions.

These new services have to be ubiquitous, based on the citizen’s contextual information available (which can include location, interests, time of day, etc.)

The public servants also have to be taken into consideration, as they will need to focus their efforts in providing “added value” to the citizens, by incorporating the capabilities provided by the use of these new technologies.

Companies are also a key player in the development of the cities, and they should be provided with new and efficient services, as well as facilitating them new IT infrastructures that help them to further develop the business network around the cities.

Finally, the collaboration between different public administrations can be increased thanks to adoption of new technologies and open standards, so that of all different actors can be benefitted from the resulting sinergies.

At a technological level, I would like to stress some key aspects:

  • Develop services that are independent from the different devices and from the access network.
  • Based on open architectures and open standards, that simplify the integration and can guarantee and protect the investments done.
  • Develop user centric solutions, with intelligent and intuitive interfases, that assure the adoption of these new technologies.
  • Provide non-intrusive solutions, that don’t interfere with the public spaces and that don’t require additional efforts from citizens to use them.

In this sense, we can see a very big similarity with the concept of 2.0 where thanks to the new technologies we can turn to the edges of the network (the citizens), where we can find the biggest value. We have to stop thinking of the different actors as mere “service consumiders”, but more like “collaborators” or “prosumers”.

To sum up, I think that the ICING project has been an interesting contribution to promote certain basic criteria on top of which we can develop new services using the new technologies available. I believe that if we have this criteria into account, we will be able to benefit from the full potential that mobile technologies provide in order to reach a more efficient and accesible public administration, strengthening the citizen participation and improving the life of the people who live in the cities.

During the event, the “ICING Cookbook” was distributed, with the intention of explaining briefly of what consisted the project and to provide some guidelines for the deployment of new services based on new technologies.

If you want more information you can also download my presentation from the event’s web page.

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