Five Smart City Development Bottlenecks and How to Overcome Them

By : |March 13, 2019 0

By Virender Jeet, Senior Vice President (Sales & Marketing / Products) Newgen Software

While urbanisation of cities has been an ongoing process for several decades now, the advent of technology has changed the ways in which we deal with the challenges it brings. Urban population is bursting at its seams and the pressure on civic infrastructure for the provision of basic utilities is immense and growing. With their capability to deal with all of this efficiently, it is no surprise that Smart Cities are seen as technology's answer to all these woes.

First things first: What are Smart Cities?

Rampant urbanization massively affects quality of life, and Smart cities are seen as an effective way to counter the challenges urbanisation brings along. Through its heavy usage of Information and Communication Technology, the smart city concept allows direct communication between those responsible for administration and the citizens, thereby ensuring open access and dissemination of information to the citizens.

Smart cities aim to ensure sustainable economic development, efficient utilization of natural resources, and a higher level of citizen participation in governance. The eventual goal is to extend to citizens a higher quality of life. Business Process Management (BPM) and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technologies integrate with IoT Devices, core/legacy applications and ERP systems, and make the best use of new-age disruptive technologies that citizens might embrace in future, in order to put in place an efficient Smart City

Virender Jeet, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing / Products, Newgen Software

Virender Jeet, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing / Products, Newgen Software

The route to a Smart City is similar to that of a hurdle race. What are the hurdles, though?

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The whole concept of smart cities is built around the aim for a better life for citizens, and governments obviously cannot be left out of the narrative. Any successful smart city is the outcome of 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, and ensuring this comes with its own set of challenges. Here are a few of the challenges faced while trying to establish a Smart City:

Decentralization of information: Traditionally, information related to cities has been stored in disparate legacy systems within the existing city infrastructure. To centralize all available information and mould it into a smart, digitized format is a massive challenge facing any government that takes up the task of establishing a Smart City.

Multi-party collaboration: Smart cities require smooth and effective flow of information and coordination amongst the key players responsible for building a smart city, such as, technology vendors, citizens, municipalities, local government, state government, central government. A lot depends on how effective and efficient the collaboration between these key stakeholders is.

Transparency in Projects and Benefits: Smart cities need efficient processes, as they rely on technologically driven projects. Completion of projects on time, along with efficient tracking of status, and ensuring this is visible to key stakeholders when needed, is essential.

Smart cities promise improved quality of life to citizens, and this translates to benefits extended to them through government beneficiary programmes. Hence, automation of processes and easy availability of information to citizens and stakeholders becomes crucial.

Documentation management: Government projects and interfaces are heavily documented and are paper-intensive with manual hand-offs. Processes are dependent on this documentation, giving birth to another challenge that needs to be navigated to ensure the successful establishment of a Smart City.

E-Service delivery channels: Smart cities are heavily dependent on municipal bodies for essential services, known as basic utilities. However, in most cities of the world today, there is a lack of e-service delivery channels that can empower citizens.

How does one make it to the finish line of this hurdle race?

A smart city project is heavily process-centric and banks on how the content is being managed. Given the extensive involvement of several players, the solution lies in a comprehensive application that can deploy BPM and ECM on a mobility framework.

BPM helps address the peculiar challenges of a smart city. It offers extensive capabilities to define process exceptions and trigger actions associated with events, thereby allowing responsive and enhanced service delivery. With BPM as the underlying platform, processes can be easily and cost-effectively adopted without incurring too much analysis, simulation, effort and cost.

When it comes to building a smart city, the key focus areas that help bring real impact are-health care, transport management, citizen services and government operations. BPM and ECM can seamlessly integrate with IOT Devices, core/legacy applications and ERP systems and when empowered with mobility can result in high success rates in establishing a Smart City within a short period of time.

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