Usman Ghani (April 25, 2014)
The Government Summit earlier this year played host to a very interesting announcement. Dubai is on its way to becoming a smarter city with the Dubai Government Initiative 2021. The project hopes to kick Dubai into the fast lane to integrating technology into everyday life. The perks? In the digital era, better tech makes for a significantly easier life.
Smart cities are all about infusing aspects of daily life with technology to make everyday living easier in general. There is no one definition that can do justice in explaining precisely what a smart city is. For some places, it means adding a touch of tech into just about everything, while for others it could mean infusing IT based elements into a specific spectrum of the city.
For Dubai, becoming a smart city is centered on turning up the heat on the progress that the eTransformation of government services have made till date. This means that Dubai will most likely be using a lot of advanced information and communication technology. The government’s ultimate aim is to create a holistic system that connects different services through one easily accessible network.
Work has already begun, and the change seems welcome.
— Ahmad bin Byat (@ahmadbinbyat) March 5, 2014
Initiative 2021 in effect is going to change how the people of Dubai interact with the government. The main emphasis is on efficiency and speed of delivery. Their role will not be just that of people living in the city, but rather that of customers who are signed up for different government services. A citizen of Dubai will be able to access any number of government services through one identification number. You wouldn’t have to run around from one government office to the other, with a bulk of documents accompanying your every step anymore. You would just have to go through the trouble once and get yourself registered for that one specific number that serves as your ID.
To put it into perspective, it would be similar to how we access all our Google products with a single username and password, be it Gmail or YouTube. Similarly, under provisions of Initiative 2021, the need to manage multiple government documentations, accounts and applications, would go out the window. One portal can do it all – from paying your telephone bill to electricity bill.
This portal is also expected to create an Account Manager Service that will allot a representative or staff member to customers with a large number of transactions. These representatives will be able to help customers with their applications or transactions with greater efficacy because they will have studied their past applications and/or transactions. Personalized service can go a long way and the Initiative 2021 is headed into that direction.
Some people are loving the idea of more tech in their lives:
— Ahmad Salkida (@ContactSalkida) February 13, 2014
The government is also developing apps for smartphones so that the entire process can be kept mobile.
The 2021 Initiative is aiming to change the dynamics of the manner in which the public interacts with the government. To ensure that they are able to turn the masses into actively participating “customers” initiatives should be set in place for ensuring excellent customer service delivery.
It is vital that customer service call and chat centers be setup in multiple languages to facilitate people. The flow of information from customer to management and back needs to be unified and smooth. Mobile access should also be made possible, not only in the form of a cell phone app, but also through digital access via tweets, web chats, and email.
Customers will further need a platform for community engagement that can help digitize the process of feedback as well. Social media comments, for instance, can offer great insight into what’s good and what’s not about a new project – if a community can be built then not only will it help with keeping customers happy but it will also be possible to assess which problems are more prevalent and need to be addressed faster.
It would also be helpful if an open source of information was established with which customers can get information and tutorials on different aspects of the new system. Help portals are a great idea for speedy adaptation.
In essence, all technological initiatives and ideas must be implemented keeping the customer as the focus and providing all the necessary support and customer service help.
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