We live in a world where, in developed countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, the relationship between the lay person, and the public and local authorities can be kept efficient from home, via Internet, without walking piles of papers and documents in between offices, without the need to take days off or a leave of absence to solve bureaucratic issues. There are cities where printed documents are not required at all because the performant IT systems ensure control across all activities. Therefore, these things should not be "Science-Fiction" for Romania.
The Cluj IT Cluster is an association which includes a large number of companies that are experienced in developing software, as well academic institutions, research institutions and public administration institutions. The Cluj IT Cluster showed a consistent and continuous interest in enhancing the efficiency of the public administration through IT. Moreover the Cluster is actively involved in making the "Smart City" concept real. This includes the extended promotion of IT services in administration, information technology and communication (IT&C), intelligent technologies in areas which define the urban ecosystem (traffic and mobility, public safety, health services and education, culture and entertainment, tourism, infrastructure for utilities, energy, work space and residential areas etc.). These are all means of enhancing the quality of life and the safety of the citizens. The Cluj IT Cluster advocates in favor of an integrated approach, oriented towards the lifecycle of any Smart City project.
In addition to specific projects and initiatives, such as the "Brained City" project, which enabled the Cluster to implement applications and prototypes for an intelligent city, and in addition to the strategic projects it is a member of (ex. The integrated IT strategy for Oradea), the members of the Cluj IT Cluster are devoted to an ethical and sustainable policy. The policy promotes the development of Smart City architectures and technologies that enable the contribution of several suppliers, at any time, innovative start-ups included. The long-term success of a Smart City initiative lies in the fact that anyone can contribute to an intelligent urban ecosystem, not in keeping the beneficiaries trapped by one supplier. To do this, the public administration, a key player in initiating and developing Smart City projects must promote and respect, from the get-go, a series of principles in selecting the IT&C solutions. The following principles are essential to the task:
Standardization of the service models used by the citizens - The steps that need to be taken, in order for every service to address citizens, must be standardized, documented and easily adaptable in case of legal or internal policy changes. This can be done by using open standards, such as: standard BPMN 2.0 for defining process workflows, ECMA-404 for online forms, ISO/IEC 26300 (ODF) for documents.
Information ownership and control - For all the information in the database or in electronic format, the beneficiary (the institution) must have ownership over the information involved, as well as accessibility and the possibility to reuse the information independently of the platform of the technical portal. The data structures must be documented, the access to information - for further consultation and processing - must be performed through other IT systems than the system itself, without additional costs (licenses etc.).
Independence from the development services supplier - The technical solutions must not create a state of "captive" customer" for the institutions integrated in the ecosystem. The solutions must rely on public and accessible technologies and standards (e.g. Open Source), which can ensure that the maintenance, the updates, and the further development can be achieved by any supplier.
Modularity and openness - Further development (especially for launching new services in relation to the citizen and the other contributors) should be managed and integrated by third parties as well, based on the adopted rules and standards.
The risk prevails: even when good intentions are at stake, the choice of suppliers and winning offers via the public acquisition process may lead to suboptimal results. For this reason, the IT Cluj Cluster recommends beneficiaries to take all the preemptive measures, at procedure level. From this point of view, it is useful to apply the following principles, even when direct acquisition is allowed:
The access of potential suppliers to information (irrespective of the acquisition value) must be ensured.
A transparent response system to clarification requests must be ensured.
There should be enough time for fleshing out and submitting all offers.
The following principles should be observed "the best quality-cost balance" and "the smallest cost throughout the investment period", with details regarding the evaluation criteria, the weight of each criterion and the evaluation formula and process.
In terms of the IT platforms designed to mediate the interaction between the citizens and the public administration, the Cluj IT Cluster advocates for the following principles:
Platforms should allow the easy communication with the citizens (informing the citizens, receiving feedback, maintaining dialogue, getting the citizen involved in solving the city's problems, reporting and managing the incidents that occur in the city).
Platforms should integrate the services of the public administrative institutions at a local, regional, governmental and European level, by offering assistance in the events and life-related processes citizens and companies need.
Platforms should facilitate the exchange of information within and between public institutions, with the possibility of extending its services to various bodies (economic, educational, cultural, medical etc.), in the context of delivering the services for all contributors (citizens and companies).
We hope that this set of principles will serve the local Romanian administrative bodies in a useful way, that it will make them more efficient, that it will help them serve their citizens better and that it will help them implement the Smart City of tomorrow.
Cluj-Napoca, 18th of July 2016. The Cluj IT Association develops the integrated IT strategy for Oradea. This is the most complex Romanian project, and the strategy will be finalized this year. There are 10 areas concerned: administration, infrastructure, mobility, energy, business, habitation, education, culture, medicine and information security. This is the first structured approach in Romania and it aims at developing a Smart City. The project will give Oradea a competitive edge in sustainable development and investment opportunities. The implementation period will last for 6 months at the end of which Oradea will have the necessary system in order to connect, in an integrated manner, all the services and the online databases of local institutions. The project was presented at the Oradea City Hall by city-manager Eduard Florea, mayor Ilie Bolojan, general Marcel Opriș - head of the Special Telcommunications Service (STS) and the president of the Cluj IT Cluster, Stelian Brad.
"The integrated IT strategy for Oradea is the most complex project of its kind in Romania and it will lead to creating the first Smart City of our country. We are convinced that this project will open up doors for an increased number of innovations at a local level and we are proud that Oradea trusts our association's expertise", Stelian Brad, the president of the Cluj IT Cluster, stated.
According to the representatives of Oradea city hall, one of the major goals of this project is to increase the quality of life for its inhabitants. "When citizens depend on the time table of a cashier to pay a tax or to file a complaint, the quality of life is not a very good one. Technology can help us be independent of the time and space restrictions when interacting with a public institution. This is the most complex project in Romania from the point of view of this approach and it makes Oradea an example of best practice", Oradea's city-manager, Eduard Florea, states. His ideas were supported by the head of STS, general Marcel Opriș, who also mentioned the digital project used at the local elections - the quick check of the voters with the help of special tablets, and he emphasized the importance of developing such technology-based projects.
The IT strategy for Oradea will maintain a record of all the steps and the procedures necessary for transforming the city in the first Romanian Smart City. The process will include the city's entire set of resources, public and private: institutions, business environment, and inhabitants. The programs will aim at simultaneously integrating ten areas of interest. Intelligent administrating systems will connect the services and the databases of all the institutions in the city; intelligent mobility will include the digital solutions for traffic and parking in public spaces, and intelligent habitation systems will cover smart homes and digital medicine. Education and culture are also concerned, as they are an integral part of the community. The intelligent infrastructure will also tackle the buildings, while the energy problem will be approached via cogeneration and the combination of complementary sources of energy. The environment, business and information security also represent strategic domains.
The initiative proposed by Oradea city hall was developed at the beginning of this year, using Luxemburg as a model, which is wide-spread in Western Europe. The Cluj IT Association won the auction organized by the Oradea administration for this project and which had 7 bidding offers. The contract value is 132.000 RON plus VAT. The experts Oradea city hall resorted to for choosing the best bidder were the Special Telecommunications Service in Bihor and Oradea Tech Hub.
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