Microsoft CityNext hits Cape Town

The innovative CityNext initiative from Microsoft has hit Cape Town and will make its way across South Africa, but what is CityNext?

At a time when all you hear is "do more with less,” CityNext helps cities take advantage of existing resources to build a sustainable model of innovation and support eight critical functions: government administration, public safety, healthcare, buildings, tourism, education, transportation, and energy and water.

CityNext provides comprehensive solutions that improve operations and quality-of-life now and in the future. From automated building management systems that increase energy efficiency to online solutions that improve healthcare and access to education, Microsoft and its partners are helping cities worldwide to thrive. The solutions do more than help cities modernize infrastructure, improve operations, and control costs. Equally important, CityNext initiatives encourage active collaboration between citizens, businesses, and governments. For example, citizens can find and share information easily through their favorite mobile devices and social-media. In turn, governments can respond faster to requests and feedback, and work with citizens to implement new services that benefit everyone.

Create stronger communities with better access to services and increased citizen participation and satisfaction. Take advantage of CityNext solutions to:

  • Deliver personalized services. Simplify access to information and services with a central interface and single-sign on to multiple resources. Provide a "one-stop,” personalized resource for looking up records, applying for permits, paying taxes, and enrolling in schools. Citizens can find information, take advantage of services, and share information with their communities using the devices they choose, including PCs and mobile devices.
  • Enable real-time dialog through social media. Cities can promote deeper civic engagement and participation by using social media and mobile technologies. By integrating familiar social and communication apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Yammer with existing applications, city employees can easily share ideas and collaborate with citizens regardless of location. They can use social media and mobile devices to alert citizens about safety issues and emergency conditions anywhere in the city.
  • Increase transparency with open data. Using applications that expose public data and information to individual citizens and businesses, cities can increase insight and establish productive two-way communications. Cities collect a wealth of information from sensors, daily business processes, and citizen feedback. Now, both citizens and governments can gain insight into the accumulated data and drive initiatives for new solutions that improve quality-of-life.

Economic health depends on the availability of education, resources, and job-training. Cities need a workforce that is not only well-educated, but skilled in new technologies. A Microsoft city can:

  • Enable the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. To solve regional challenges and create a thriving local economy, governments need technology innovators and entrepreneurs. Help people turn ideas into businesses by creating valuable programs and partnerships. For example, local technology startups can benefit from the software, support, and community that Microsoft provides worldwide—at no charge—through Microsoft BizSpark. Or, help citizens connect with government, academic, and industry specialists at all levels through Microsoft Innovation Centers. In addition, Microsoft DreamSpark gives high school and college students, as well as educators, free access to Microsoft design and development tools.
  • Expanding digital inclusion and skills. To compete in the global economy, cities need an educated workforce that can work with the latest technology. By building public/private partnerships through programs such as Microsoft Shape the Future, cities can promote education reform and meet digital-access goals. In addition, multilingual resources such as the Microsoft Local Language Program and the Digital Literacy Curriculum help citizens build skills and gain access to technology in familiar languages.
  • Provide high-quality education. Take advantage of end-to-end solutions, including innovative learning management systems and Microsoft Office 365 for Education, which is offered to students and school faculty at no cost. And with Microsoft Partners in Learning, government leaders as well as educators can learn new approaches to helping students gain 21st century skills. Accredited schools can also use the Microsoft IT Academy digital curriculum and certifications to provide students with the technology skills needed for today's workplace.
  • To prosper, cities need to produce and attract world-class talent. People everywhere are attracted by the overarching quality-of-life, which includes educational opportunities, affordable healthcare, and safe and enjoyable living conditions. Microsoft CityNext can help you get there. Working together, Microsoft and city leaders can design solutions that generate new businesses and accelerate innovation. Imagine what's next for your city.

Download the CityNext Whitepaper here

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