The best is yet to come
As technologies mature, they will bring new capabilities and meanings to the concept ofCity-as-a-Service . For example, cities are beginning to leverage augmented reality as a way of imbuing an interactive and experiential flavor to city-resident touchpoints. Mantua in Italy bills itself as the first “Phygital City” and is experimenting with adding digital overlays to enhance the physical interactions its residents have with the city while traversing its various neighborhoods. These services are delivered through a smartphone-based digital assistant powered by machine learning where the ultimate objective is to gain more and more understanding of individual user preferences in order to anticipate and deliver highly tailored and relevant offerings. The promise of AI platform adoption by cities is anticipating and proactively shaping a wide array of services across integrated domains (e.g., health care, mobility and education) for individual residents.
Use cases for the adoption of blockchain technology by city governments are also beginning to emerge. For residents, complexity will be reduced even as trust and transparency are enhanced when cities begin to manage public records such as land titles, vehicle registries, business licenses, passports, voter identifications, death certificates and proof of insurance on distributed ledger technology.
These examples provide just a taste of what’s to come with the City-as-a-Service model. Functionality, as well as the creative applications of technology, stands to get better and better. Just as mass customization and the “market of one” has become the private sector’s “holy grail,” the notion of the “government of one” could soon be realized in a municipal context. The good news is that traditional frictions between residents and their public sector providers will significantly lessen and perhaps dissolve. As a result, cities will become more livable even as they grow. With the City-as-a-Service model, the era of superfluid government is dawning.
How city leaders should approach the City-as-a-Service:
- Engage the private sector as a key partner and collaborator in developing solutions. As a start, cities can issue "requests for innovation" ahead of standard requests for proposal to elicit new ideas.
- Learn from the experiences of cities that are first adopters of the City-as-a-Service approach. Prototype and “road test” new ideas rapidly to see what makes a digitally delivered service experience a quality one for your residents.
- Involve citizens in co-developing and designing the user experience around specific services.
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- On average, for OECD economies. Including spending on general public services; defense; social protection; education; health; recreation; housing and community amenities; environment; economic affairs and public order. Source: OECD Stat, August 2017.
- On average, for OECD economies. Source: OECD Stat, August 2017.
This article was generated by EYQ, an EY think tank that explores leading and emerging trends, focusing on “what’s after what’s next?”
The City-as-a-Service model is dissolving traditional frictions between residents and their public sector and improving urban quality of life.