Our cities are getting digital. There is public Wi-Fi and apps that not only provide real-time local information about parking options, but also provide local information such as events, news, or rental offers. But a smart city can do much more than just surf the web. At least theoretically.
But how developed are “smart cities” in Germany? Are digital offerings already known and when yes, have they prevailed? Where’s the biggest potential?
Forwards to the smart city
According to the latest study by the market research institute Splendid Research, called Smart City Monitor 2018, 74 percent of city dwellers currently use smart city offerings. Citizens use digital services mainly because they simplify life in the city, save a lot of time and also protect the environment. However, only 17 percent of city dwellers know what is behind the concept of a smart city. That number can be increased.
The most popular offerings are public Wi-Fi (60 percent) and local transport apps (38 percent). Basics first. The main barrier between citizens and these services is the collection of personal data. Transparency and communication are therefore required.
In fact, digital identification is high on the agenda. In Germany in particular, however, this still arouses some suspicion due to privacy concerns. If the effective implementation is not yet clear, there are already interesting initiatives, Verimi, NetID, and Europe-wide alliances. These offerings are privacy-friendly, since European identity platforms designed to provide a master key to the Internet.
The study also showed which areas have more potential in the future. 65 percent state that automated waste disposal could have a very positive impact on city life. Keyword: Smart waste.
In addition, 86 percent of respondents would like to be able to handle administrative procedures online. E-Government. But to what extent is the state already digital?
E-Government: Expectations versus reality
Register cars, renew a passport, or apply for the child benefits – citizens wish to be able to make their concerns easily online. Just as easily as shopping online.
According to the current E-Government Monitor, the use of digital government business in Switzerland and Germany has decreased. Is it therefore reasonable to assume that existing digital offerings will not be sufficient, despite recent developments? Without question, a visit to the office is still needed.
The problem is mainly that offerings are not consistently digital. Added to this is the confusing amount of available information. Unfortunately, according to the study mentioned, there are not enough opportunities to handle all the concerns online.
Estland geht hier mit gutem Beispiel voran. Only weddings, divorces and real estate transactions require a personal appointment with a government official: All other requests can be handled digitally.
In Germany, certain processes, such as completing or submitting a form, can only be partially completed online because an “analogue” signature is needed. The high expectations of usability and user-friendliness are therefore far from being met.
Excite with digital services
It is true that digital offerings have simplified and shortened the interactions with offices in recent years. But the digital divide between e-commerce and e-government is still immense. Fast, convenient, personalised, user-friendly — the customer journey that is already used and expected by the user when browsing and shopping is still being sought in vain for the state-wide offer of digital services.
To deliver complete and seamless digital services, governments need to properly implement a digital transformation. Government must take an active role and develop a high willingness to change. A close cooperation of all actors is a prerequisite — also in order to strengthen the networked feeling. Key phrase: Government as a service.
How this can look concrete, our five reading tips demonstrate.
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