By Virender Jeet, Sr. Vice President (Technology), Newgen Software Technologies Limited
The challenge of urbanization can be solved when cities get smart and change the way they operate. However, they need BPM and ECM platforms to address the multiple problems of managing the millions of digital interactions that take place in them. ‘Smart cities’, as they are often referred to, are urban areas that create sustainable economic development and extend a high quality of life to its’ citizens with efficient management of natural resources and participatory governance. There is open access and dissemination of information to the citizens as a consequence. They rely extensively on Information and Communication technology investments that are aimed to connect all its’ citizens, government institutions and infrastructure for improved living.
Role of Governments in Smart City
When a city is ‘smart’, it is more than smart technology shaping up everyday lives of city dwellers. It is the outcome of concerted efforts of local governments, industry players, technology vendors and citizen participation. Hence governments across the globe are charting out strategies and framing policies to transition world cities into smart and sustainable ones. Smart cities need smart governments to lay out favourable policies, laws and regulations.
According to United Nations ESCWA report on “The Government Summit Thought Leadership Series” February 2015 Report, there are three components in the ecosystem in a smart city that should be well-connected with technology to ensure a comfortable and happy life to its citizens.
Smart City Ecosystem Components
• Physical aspects
Roads, bridges, schools, public places, government institutions, offices, buildings, hospitals, transportation, water-supply, waste management, electricity and so on.
• Potential for Innovation
Creative and innovative activities that are geared to sustain a smart city.
• Applications and embedded systems
Development of applications and embedded systems to support the technologically driven city.
Current Challenges in Transforming Cities into Smart Cities
Citizens are offered high quality of life, a clean and sustainable environment and a secure core infrastructure based on smart solutions in smart cities. However, cities face multiple challenges in their “smart city” objective.
The top 6 are listed below-
• Decentralised Information: Information is locked in disparate legacy systems of the existing city infrastructure.
• Multi-party Collaboration: Smart cities require a smooth and effective flow of information and coordination amongst the key players- industry, technology vendors, citizens, municipalities, local government, state government, central government on multiple issues such as service delivery processes, sharing of best practices, financing etc.
• Transparency in Projects: Smart cities desire process efficiency as they rely on technologically driven big and small projects.
• Documentation management: Government projects and interfaces are heavily documented and are paper with manual hand-offs.
• Tracking of Benefits disbursed during services: Smart cities promise improved quality of life to its’ citizens and that refers to benefits extended to them from government beneficiary programmes.
• e-Service delivery channels In most of the cities of the world today, the current infrastructure is not equipped to handle such requirements. There is a lack of e-service delivery channels that can empower citizens.
BPM and ECM are game changers for Smart Cities
Rapid urbanisation is paving way to Smart Cities. Smart city governance aims to handle the pressing urban-challenges and improve citizen lives. The services offered as a part of smart city initiative bring their own unique problems thanks to involvement of several players such as governments, citizen bodies, municipalities, transport departments, hospitals, technological vendors and industries to name a few. The solution to build a smart city lies in a comprehensive application that can deploy Business Process Management (BPM) and Enterprise content management to overcome its challenges.
BPM with its intelligent engine supports definition, subscription and handling of all the internal and external events triggered by sensors, devices or external applications is all set to address the peculiar challenges of a smart city. It offers extensive capabilities to define process exceptions and trigger actions associated with each event, allowing responsive and enhanced service delivery.
Leveraging BPM, you have the power to capture and decipher key insights from both past patterns and emerging trends to develop actionable intelligence and be future ready. Moreover, BPM platform would be most suited to adapt to the ever-changing needs of the tech-savvy smart citizens, dynamic political and social environments. With BPM as the underlying platform these processes can be easily and cost-effectively adapted without incurring too much analysis, simulation, effort and cost.
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