The Smart City and its digital technologies offer a great opportunity to improve the relationship with users through public services that keep getting more innovative and efficient to meet the expectations of citizens and companies.

Download the Smart Cities ebook

Smart City and the e-citizen

The issues that concern cities today are budget control, the satisfaction and well-being of their citizens, respect for the environment, and economic and tourist attractiveness. While connected cities are facing numerous challenges, two phenomena will irrevocably accelerate the adoption of Smart Cities. One is technological with the advent of digital solutions, the cloud, big data and the increasingly huge number of mobile uses. The other is societal, with behavioural changes among citizens who expect the same degree of efficiency and customisation in their local and municipal services than they see in their private environment.

More in general, these trends involve all stakeholders in civic life, whether they are elected representatives, officials, associations, or public and private partners of local authorities. Digital transformation offers an opportunity to improve user relationships with the associated financial and human resources. But we should look further than a mere technological challenge. The implementation of innovative tools must be based on actual user experience.

Collecting and analysing data

Relying on our long-standing presence in managing services for regional governments using our business knowledge and customer-relationship expertise, we are now entering a new development phase in smart cities with the optimisation of public services in transport, water and power distribution. Citizen-demand data can be collected in real time and compared with public service management data. Municipal service data platforms can thus be created that local municipalities and their major operators can share in order to improve the quality they offer citizens and companies.

With this kind of data available in a secure environment, one can also imagine the creation of new, even more innovative services in these fields, but also in healthcare and social services, local stores, or participatory democracy.

Securing data

Information technologies for Smart Cities involve two imperatives: 24/7 availability of critical systems (imagine a computer failure in the transport or power systems!), and the security of manipulated data, sensitive data of all the city’s operators, and above all, the confidential data of citizens. At the same time, the vast number of information access routes (Internet, mobile, professional and personal workstations) and connected objects has considerably increased the amount of data as well as security risks and loopholes.

Gfi is a major IT production operator on the French market, and we incorporated the security issue at a very early stage in our industrial tool. Today, we secure the data of a city, its partners and its citizens from our industrial Data Centres that are protected according to the ANSSI (National Cybersecurity Agency of France) recommendations for vital operators, as well as through our own security solutions that come from our R&D and innovation centres.

We are also mobilised alongside CIGREF, ANSSI and the Ministry of Home Affairs to raise public awareness of risk behaviour through the Hack Academy campaign. 

New ways of working

A successful customer experience for citizens is also a matter of equipping local representatives and officials with modern, innovative tools that increase efficiency and cross-cutting collaboration, orchestrate mobile work, and coordinate and optimise municipal resources. This is what Gfi’s citizen-relationship offer aims to do, by means of four solutions:

  • Gfi Public CRM – a depository of relevant people that orchestrates processes in order to optimise the coordination of services provided by the community.
  • Gfi City Hub – the mobile platform and App Store of the community that puts public services in the smartphones of civic-life stakeholders.
  • Gfi ConnectiCité – a SaaS and e-service platform for citizens, local representatives and officials.
  • Gfi Smart Transport 3.0 – optimises the functioning of the urban transport ecosystem by improving the user experience and cost efficiency of multimodal transport operations (bus, train, bicycle-, car- or scooter-sharing …). Our offer today addresses public and school transport needs in all the regions of France. It offers numerous applications to facilitate interaction between users, municipalities, local authorities and operators.

An application to optimise urban transport time

Developed by Gfi in partnership with Tata Consulting Services and its subsidiary, Digital Software and Solutions, this application improves bus fleet management and meets a specific demand from travellers. The application is a first step in the transport sector with solutions for multimodal transport, car-park optimisation and the management of electric vehicles that will improve users’ quality of life. Future applications will include the management of waste and water systems, and of course energy which is the biggest market. In each sector, the community can open up its data to citizens and operators as well as any company that wants to create a new service in the interest of the city or its inhabitants.

Linked articles