When it comes to climate and sustainability issues, cities are a paradox. On the one hand, cities consume as much as 80 percent of energy production worldwide and account for a roughly equal share of global greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, cities are under increasing scrutiny over their impact on climate change.
On the other hand, cities are well-positioned to tackle sustainability issues on a large scale. As Exela’s President of Americas and APAC, Srini Murali, points out, with so many people living in cities (i.e., half of the global population), change can happen much faster than in rural locales. Indeed, cities everywhere are embracing their role in sustainability, with many finding technology, and in particular, automation and digital transformation, to be a powerful ally. Here are a few examples:
Connecting data silos for efficiency
Certain life events--like a birth or a death in the family, a move from one address to another, or leaving a job--require us to fill out multiple forms that ask us for the same information, over and over. It’s a time suck, and it’s infuriating, especially when various forms are all meant to end up in the same office, as so often happens with governmental forms, and it’s a terrible waste of paper, printing, postage, and/or fuel. When city governments embrace digital transformation and automation initiatives, information disclosed on, say, an application for unemployment benefits, will also be available for use by the government department in charge of reviewing public healthcare assistance and benefits.
Here’s why data silos aren’t the real enemy in digital transformation.
Letting predictive cognitive automation predict future requirements
“What if you could predict the general area where crime is likely to occur and deploy police officers as a precaution?” Murali asks in the article he wrote for Smart Cities Dive. “What if you could predict where a roadway would need to be repaired and send a crew out before the damage gets out of hand? Digital transformation initiatives hold the promise of using current and historical data to model and predict future events with enough accuracy that it becomes possible to nip problems in the bud before they can even manifest as problems”. For example, Exela’s Data Aggregation and Data Visualization solutions can help city governments to mine raw data for patterns for the purpose of generating actionable insight.
Learn how office automation, including predictive facilities management, can improve your business’s bottom line.
Digital portals for more efficient workflows
Cities send out a large amount of paper mail each month for such things as tax bills, license renewal notices, and reminders from various departments. But why does it have to be paper? And for such simple communications, why does a human have to be involved at all? Finally, wouldn’t rote tasks of this kind be more trustworthy if executed by a programmed machine? Those are just some of the reasons for adopting digital user platforms.
Learn where “user interface” fits into the seven layers of digital transformation.
Moving beyond Alexa
The Internet of Things has been shaping up to make life much easier. We can vacuum our bedroom while we’re in a meeting at the office. While sitting at our desk in the office, we can bring a filet mignon to precisely the temperature we wish for it to be in our kitchen at home. But the Internet of Things isn’t just for leisure time. It’s already at work in offices everywhere, adjusting the brightness of overhead lights, setting the thermostat, and smart-tracking shipments, to name a few. At the same time, it’s collecting valuable data about your workforce and your workspace--data you can leverage to your advantage using advanced data analytics tools such as those underpinning Exela’s Concierge and Corporate Hospitality Solutions.
In short, even though cities are a major source of emissions, they’re also ripe for digital transformation and automation initiatives. Moreover, the concentrated population of cities means that more people will become part of the change sooner than in rural areas.