26-03-2019 - Labels: News - Comments: 0
A new research project will use digital technologies to mine information and create virtual 3D models of Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges, inside and out. Read the full article here or on this website.
The initiatives in Flanders are part of the €1 million Time Machine project, which is being launched today in Brussels. Co-ordinated by the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, it involves 33 universities, archives and institutions from almost all European countries.
Earlier this month Time Machine was named one of six large-scale research initiatives to be supported under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme. It is particularly unusual for a project in the humanities to attract this kind of backing.
“This is an incredibly ambitious project,” said Mike Kestemont, a computational text analyst at Antwerp University and a member of the project steering committee. “The momentum that this initiative has managed to gain in a short period of time is just incredible.”
The universities of Antwerp and Ghent are both involved in the project, along with Belgian Royal Library and State Archives, and almost all of the museums and archives in Antwerp. “Through improved knowledge of our past, we can better understand the present and learn lessons for the future,” said Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever. “That’s why it’s important that we work together with the university in backing the Time Machine project. A better understanding of our city and our beautiful heritage will also lead to a more tightly knit urban community.”
Antwerp’s contribution to the project will involve exploring how mapping and language technology can be combined. “We’re going to link all possible historical sources, ranging from old maps and manuscripts to archives and visual material, based on location,” explained Ilja Van Damme of the university’s Centre for Urban History.
The result will be a three-dimensional recreation of the city, rather like Google Street View, linked to historical data. “With this kind of interface, you can pick a building in Antwerp’s city centre and find out who has lived there throughout the centuries, and what the purpose of the building was,” Van Damme goes on. “And thanks to floor plans and sources providing insight into the building’s interior, you can even enter a virtual reconstruction of it and see what sort of things people had in the era of Rubens, for example.”
The Antwerp Time Machine was one of the pilot projects set up in preparation for the bid for EU funds, and so is already well under way. Ghent University will follow its lead, building time machines for Ghent and Bruges, from the middle ages to the present day.
This will involve bringing together fundamental research in the humanities with information and communication technologies. “We see this project primarily as a lab for co-creation with both local heritage players and our colleagues in ICT research and cartography,” says Jeroen Deploige, of the university’s Henri Pirenne Institute for Medieval Studies. Ghent’s engineers and geographers will contribute expertise in web and database technologies that will help make heritage data accessible.
As well as drawing on material from archives, libraries and museums, the aim is also for members of the public to contribute to the time machines, for instance uploading family photos and documents. This will help fill in gaps, such as the stories of 20th-century immigration to Flanders, which can then be connected with specific locations.
More broadly the goal is to build an extensive Time Machine network throughout Europe. “Obviously, smaller cities don’t have the means to develop the technology themselves, but in the long term they will be able to participate through a franchise model,” Kestemont said.
As for users, the time machines will offer exciting new opportunities to educators, for example allowing students to experience events in virtual reality, such as the storming of the Bastille or the Battle of the Golden Spurs. The project is also expected to encourage local initiatives in tourism and cultural entertainment, and new approaches to urban planning.
Companies working with digital technologies have been quick to see the possibilities. Computer game developer Ubisoft is already on board,” said Van Damme. “The possibilities to create synergies are virtually endless.”
08-02-2019 - Labels: News - Comments: 0
The smart city meter is first and foremost an explorative exercise to the concept of smart cities and how this is experienced by citizens. It is exploratory because the concept has not been clearly defined so far and is not very tangible for the citizen. The playing field of smart cities is usually located at different levels within the city system and citizens are usually only fragmentarily confronted with this. Nevertheless, there are also a number of central components that form the basis of the smart city: the increasing use of technology, the increased use and exchange of (personal) data and the cooperation between various stakeholders in the so-called quadruple helix. The full report of iMec can be read here (in Dutch, contact us for a translation.)
iMec did a research for the second year now on how people in Flanders experience the concept of a smart city and the technologies behind it. It can be concluded that citizens are convinced of smart cities or at least in their potential. It is something in which the cities and municipalities have to invest. It is important to indicate that the smart city is no longer just synonymous with technology but rather with the idea of a utopian city. A city that is smarter and more efficient and that offers solutions for various urban problems. The question is whether the concept is able to meet those expectations.
By now, the 'smart city' concept already has the benefit of the doubt. It is also the belief in the smart city and the potential of technology as part of the solutions that currently gives a lot of credit to the various innovations and services that are set up in this context. However the smart city is already a connected city where data exchange is central, there is a great willingness to participate and data sharing, citizens only accept this if there is a clear added value and direct impact for the user. After all, people still remain worried about their privacy and are especially prepared to share 'impersonal' data (or at least the perception of this). This information exchange can go quite far, such as connecting the car, but also serves in two directions to happen. Citizens also expect access to this information. The smart city is clearly not limited to the (large) cities. The research shows that there are hardly any differences between big cities, (center) cities and municipalities. Themes such as safety, mobility and logistics are generally supported. The smart city must therefore focus on these themes, according to the citizens. The degree of acceptance for specific technologies is already considerably big.
More than half (51%) of the respondents think digital technology is a big help. This partly explains the strong belief in the concept of the smart city and the fact that this is considered a positive evolution. Where a small part (11%) indicates that it can not all be technological or digital enough, the majority is rather nuanced. The balance that exists today is more than enough. It does not need more or less. For some it may even be slightly less. 13.5% feel pressured to be technological, while 4.9% indicate that they feel increasingly more excluded. It is not remarkable that the latter two are mainly the older generation (65+). Citizens see the smart city as a positive evolution and also want to actively participate. However, this participation is provisionally limited in terms of engagement and may not require too much effort from the citizen. This explains why the willingness to automatic data sharing is quite high. However, when assessing personal details, the chances are that citizens will drop out. The smart city must also try to consolidate as much as possible with the existing instruments. The smartphone has already taken a central place in this. The interaction with the smart city, whether it is about consulting information, identification or transactions, is done via the mobile platform.
There is a strong belief in the concept of smart cities to address urban challenges. Evolution is seen as something positive, something that underlines the role of the smart city as a solution for everyday (urban) problems. Also although it is not entirely clear what the concept entails, it is certain that technology can play a central role in this. The affinity with and confidence in that technology is already great, as well as the willingness in the story of the smart city participate. However, the human aspect and responsibility that a city must take into account has. Despite the positive attitude towards ICT, about 1/5 (18.4%) of the respondents felt extra under pressure set by technological evolutions or even (more) excluded. This therefore argues for a (digital) inclusive approach or policy when working out solutions or services. Technology always remains a means that is not always central or allowed stand in the interaction with the user.
The role of the government in the smart city story is double. On the one hand, the government must play a pioneering role. Especially on those domains where there is still an insufficient or quality offer. For those domains from the business world already good products and / or services are offered (eg navigation) the role of the government is more limited. On the other hand, and in this connection, the government must fulfill a facilitator function. She should not only develop new ones make services and innovations possible, but they also need to determine the focus for which challenges these technologies will be deployed. The government is seen as a neutral and reliable partner in this game. It then serves in further development also to watch over the rights and freedoms of the citizen. The willingness to re-use data provided by the citizen is in those circumstances the greatest.
Another important element that emerges from the survey seems to be that citizens mainly want solutions that are direct impact on the problems it faces every day. If citizens see the result, their willingness to contribute actively (by sharing data among other things) is rather high. The acceptance level for the use of, for example, cameras to increase safety in the city or municipality seems to be considerably big.
The evolution towards the smart city is clearly seen as a positive trend. This is mainly due to the potential of the technology - or at least the belief in it - to offer a solution to various (urban) challenges. The acceptance level to use various digital technologies for this is (still) great. The expectation pattern is that these solutions also generate an effective result and preferably one of which the impact is immediately noticeable. Especially when offering all kinds of services or applications, the citizen expects such a direct effect. These should contribute to a more efficient and liveable city. The citizen is willing to play a part in this. But, as already mentioned above, the willingness is limited or at least subject to specific conditions. The high willingness to exchange information is limited to impersonal, factual information. Privacy remains a sensitive issue. When the balance between privacy and usability is not clear, the citizen will tend to stop. The government plays a major role in the smart city. Especially in data exchange she is considered an important partner. Citizens also see a role for the government to fill gaps in the supply. However, where there is an adequate commercial range of services, this role is less significant. This offers opportunities for various cooperation models and career opportunities, where the government can be an important initiator.
17-12-2018 - Labels: Uncategorized - Comments: 0
The ‘Blockchain on the Move’ project aims to return control to citizens over their identity data. Currently, information about citizens is stored in central databases managed by various organizations, often without the citizen having any control over the accuracy or usage of that data. With Self-Sovereign Identity or SSI, that can be realized with the help of blockchain technology. The project aims to make citizens the manager and owner of their own data and identity. As such, a citizen can share validated data faster and easier, and always check who has used their data at what time. The City of Antwerp, the Flemish Government and V-ICT-OR are taking the lead in Europe and working in ‘Blockchain on the Move’ together with private and international partners.
The protection and management of one’s personal data is becoming increasingly important in the digital world. One way to address this concern is to give people control over their own data. Individuals can then decide for themselves how, when, to whom, and for how long to share information.
Blockchain is a technology that makes it possible to store this data in a decentralized manner - with the individual, rather than in a central database - and also to share information decentrally with third parties. This not only means that no intermediary or authority is involved, but also that only those who have the correct key can open the ‘lock’ and access or use certain data. Moreover, blockchain offers the guarantee that the data is correct and that it has not been accidentally or deliberately altered.
‘Blockchain on the Move’ is supported by the Flemish Government within the Programme for Innovation Procurement (PIP) and is a consortium with the City of Antwerp, Digipolis, the Flemish Administration and V-ICT-OR as project partners and Jolocom, the technical partner selected via a market consultation. The consortium wants to use this project to demonstrate that blockchain technology is now sufficiently developed to be used in real situations, such as change of address...
Rolling Out Blockchain on the Move
Earlier this year, the project partners launched a market survey to find a supplier who could build a software application for digital identity and sharing identity data. Jolocom, a Berlin-based startup specialized in this domain, was selected to develop the Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) software as a first building block. The rollout of 'Blockchain on the Move' takes place in 4 phases:
At the end of phases 1 and 3, workshops will be organized for citizens, governments and companies - the future user groups - to present the project and brainstorm about SSI application possibilities. They will be able to use the application in real conditions and provide feedback.
More information about the Blockchain on the Move partners
Digipolis | antwerpen.digipolis.be
As ICT service provider for the city of Antwerp and coordinator of this project, Digipolis has for years been involved in innovative digital government services. The ACPaaS platform for microservices offered by Digipolis for microservices embeds this innovation in the core of public services.
The City of Antwerp | antwerpen.be
The City of Antwerp is the smart city of Flanders thanks to its collaborations with innovative knowledge and technology partners and the development of a testing ground for smart 'Internet of Things' technology. Antwerp is therefore an attractive city for developers of connected technology and software. ‘Blockchain on the Move’ is just one of many partnerships in which the city is involved in the digitization of its services.
"Through smart technology, Antwerp can become a more mobile and sustainable city for its residents and businesses, where user-friendly digital interactions, greater autonomy and less administration are central. Projects such as Blockchain on the Move, in which citizens can manage their own data and their interactions with the city in a simple and secure manner, are central to that ambition," explains mayor Bart De Wever.
Flemish Government | vlaanderen.be
AIV (Flemish Information Agency) and AFB (Agency for Facility Services) are participating in this project for the Flemish Government. 'Blockchain on the Move' is supported by the Flemish Government within the framework of the Programme for Innovation Procurement (PIP).
"As identity provider of the Flemish government, we ensure that this project takes into account and connects with the government's ‘electronic identity‘ schemes, so we stay in close contact with the Belgian federal services: the Belgian National Register, the federal authentic source for identity of citizens and the Federal Authentication Service," confirms Daniel Du Seuil, project manager Blockchain at Flanders Information Agency.
V-ICT-OR | v-ict-or.be
V-ICT-OR is the Flemish ICT organization for local authorities and has the role of project manager and communications in this project. In part thanks to experience in the practical development of digitization processes for cities and municipalities, V-ICT-OR is also the preferred organizational implementation partner once the developed technology has been thoroughly tested.
"The ambitions for this project are high, this time we leave the 'proof of concepts' behind us and go for real implementation as the final objective of the project. That is why we start today with the establishment of a consortium of local authorities and private organizations interested in implementing the results and knowledge of this project in their daily activities," says Eddy Van der Stock, Chairman of V-ICT-OR.
Jolocom | jolocom.io
Jolocom, a startup based in Berlin, builds 'open source' software for decentralized identity and access management with a focus on privacy, security, and interoperability. The company was selected to develop the ‘Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) Building Block’ during the first phase, which will run until the end of February 2019.
"The Jolocom team is on a mission to build a better system for identity management, a system that allows individuals, organisations, and smart agents to own & control their identity information and data. The opportunity to contribute to the first phase of ‘Blockchain on the Move’ together with the project partners is a huge motivation for us," says Joachim Lohkamp, founder and CEO of Jolocom.
BotM Project Manager
T +32 496 564360
Eddy Van der Stock
T +32 477 32 26 16
T +32 3 338 76 30
The City of Antwerp - Innovation and Technology Department
T +32 478 79 67 18
Flemish Government - Flanders Information Agency
Daniel Du Seuil
T +32 485 70 50 25
13-03-2018 - Labels: Uncategorized - Comments: 0
A delegation from Socitm, the body representing IT and digital professionals across the public sector, is heading to Australia to showcase innovation in UK local government.
The high-level delegation, which comprises Socitm president Geoff Connell, vice president Nicola Graham, and Martin Ferguson, director of policy and research, will attend the MAV Technology Annual Conference in Geelong, Australia, from 18 to 21 March.
More than 300 local government stakeholders from across Australia and around the world will attend the three-day event to discuss current technology trends, the digital maturity of councils, their challenges, the requirements of their communities and how to meet them.
Martin Ferguson will address the conference on how local government is using technology and digital tools to redesign its approach to delivering services that are targeted towards achieving better outcomes.
Geoff Connell will be exploring the role of place-based digital infrastructure in changing service delivery models and considering ways that councils can help communities to help themselves, while Nicola Graham will present aspects of the transformational work underway in Scotland, particularly through their shared Local Government Digital Programme.
The Socitm delegation will be joined by other members of the Linked Organisation of Local Authority ICT Societies (LOLA) including Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the US.
Each of the LOLA professional associations has been invited to nominate a project to represent their country at the International Awards for Excellence, which will be presented at the conference.
Socitm has nominated the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) Digital Transformation Service for the prestigious award. The Digital Transformation Service has used a Digital Transactional Toolkit (DTT) to implement more than 20 digital public services rapidly and cost effectively, saving £1.7 million and increasing the ability of the public to interact with Northern Ireland’s government online.
Speaking ahead of his address, Martin said: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to showcase examples of digital transformation in local, UK place-based public services to an international audience.
“Events like this are perfect to share knowledge, build contacts, adapt successful solutions pioneered elsewhere and expand the resources available to all our members.”
For more information about Socitm’s international work, please visit www.socitm.net/policy-influence
09-10-2017 - Labels: Conference - Comments: 0
Today’s reality shows that controlling access is a cornerstone for any organization, be it from a business or compliance perspective. E-commerce, e-business, e-government would all be impossible without knowing who is accessing your services. Topics like data and privacy protection are impossible without proper control of access up to a level of “need to know”. Therefore the topic access control is basically in every relevant security best practice or standard.
Looking forward to the upcoming European Trust Regulation it will change the game towards reliable and trustworthy e-Identities and cross-border authentication. Organizations start to understand that IAM and/or e-Identity are so vital that they have a chief IAM- or e-Identity-officer.
Good IAM solutions are key to stay in control, but do we fully understand IAM and has your organization a mature IAM-strategy? And what to do with the technical and architectural challenges of combining new technologies and old technologies in a user-friendly way.
Every day we are warned that simple passwords are no longer enough and strong authentication is a must… we get specific questions about privileged user access and compliance monitoring….
And just when you thought you tackled it there comes a new challenge called the “cloud”….
Controlling access is a cornerstone for any organization, be it from a business or compliance perspective. Indeed ecommerce, ebusiness, egovernment are all impossible without knowing who the person is who is accessing your services. Indeed topics like data & privacy protection are impossible without proper control of access up to a level of “need to know”. It is for a reason that the topic 'access control' is basicly in every relevant security best practice or standard. Access control is a key topic in ISO2700x, in NIST, in PCI, etc, etc. With the coming of the European Trust Regulation we are even upping the game towards reliable/trustworthy eIdenties and cross-border authentication. Some organizations consider IAM and/or eIdentity so vital that they even have a chief IAM- or eIdentity-officer.
The question is whether we already understand IAM fully and whether your organization has a full and mature IAM-strategy? Furthermore there is the technical / architectural challenge of combining new technologies and old technologies. At the same time people want to have user-friendly and convenient solutions and we get warned every day that simple passwords are no longer enough and strong authentication is a must. As if this is not enough, we get specific questions in the area of privileged user access and compliance monitoring…. And just when you thought you tackled it there comes a new challenge called the cloud…. And you need to start wondering what privileged user access and compliance management mean in the cloud.
The congress focuses on a senior level audience of end users (senior managers and specialists) who want to stay up to date on relevant trends and developments and know the importance of ongoing investment in IAM solutions.
Why should you attend?
More info: https://iam.heliview.be/
06-04-2017 - Labels: Uncategorized - Comments: 0
Each year, awards are presented at the LOLA Annual Conference. An awards panel selects the recipients based on submitted nomination forms.
The deadline for submissions is April 11, 2017. The award will be presented on June 5, 2017 during the annual banquet at the MISA Annual Conference and Trade Show in Windsor, ON.
To aid in the evaluation process please use this document as your submission template. Submissions will be accepted in a Word.doc/docx format with supporting information supplied separately in a PowerPoint or Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format.
Members are invited to submit their nominations by email using ‘MISA 2017 Awards’ in the subject line to the Executive Director at email@example.com for the following award categories:
LOLA – International Excellence In Municipal IT Award is for both a municipality and one or more individuals within the municipality who have successfully undertaken a significant initiative or set a new standard that other municipalities may follow. Additional criteria for an award in this category include:
• Furtherance of a municipality’s strategic objectives using information technology;
• Demonstrated improvement in service delivery to clients, citizens or businesses;
• High level of collaboration between IT and other City departments as shown for example in a joint submission between IT and client business unit.
Submissions can be previous winners in your associations awards program or be new submissions. Award will be accepted by the LOLA representatives from your association that are present at the conference as winners will not be announced in advance.
Below you will find a nomination form to be used as a guideline. Submit the amount of information you feel is necessary to tell the story, these criteria are only to help you with ideas on what you may want to include.
12-01-2017 - Labels: News - Comments: 0
Each year GMIS International continues to foster its International partnerships in LOLA, the Linked Organizations of Local Authorities by attending the International LOLA conference, this year sponsored by our friends in the UK through SOCITM.
This year’s conference was attended by three GMIS Members. Justin Heyman, GMIS International President, Jessica Middleton, Alabama GMIS, and me. This year’s meeting was quite busy, and very productive returning a great deal of value to GMIS International members.
During the LOLA meetings we were able to hear updates from all our sister organizations, with much synergy around data collection, security, accreditation and measurement efforts being sponsored by each association. Several were undergoing web site updates and redesigns, and several were insourcing management of their organizations while others were going through outsourcing efforts.
Eddy Van der Stock announced that LOLA has been awarded 80,000 Euros from the European Union to fund a training program focused on Open Data for the Public Sector, with materials due in May 2017 (waiting on Greece). This project will provide expanded benefit to GMIS International Members in free training as the program is developed.
LOLA also discussed promoting a web site platform based on Ruby on Rails, which would become a hosting solution and platform for members to utilize for web hosting needs. Examples can be seen at lokeren.be.
ALGIM, our sister association in New Zealand presented the ALGIM Linked Toolkit - which is a data integration platform which may be made available to other LOLA members as the product matures.
Our friends from KOMMITS (Sweden) brought forward news that they had met with members of IAIS which is our equivalent organization in Japan! LOLA member voted to extend an invitation to IAIS to join our community, and would grow LOLA to nine member countries!!
LOLA will also be rolling out an International Awards Program where member associations would feed annual awards into LOLA for consideration for the International LOLA awards. This is expected to debut during the LOLA conference hosted in Windsor, Canada during the MISA conference next June. For any GMIS members who may be interested in attending the MISA / LOLA conference please let me know and will be happy to provide additional information.
The 2018 LOLA conference will be hosted by MAV (Municipal Association of Victoria, Australia), date to be announced, with the 2019 conference in Sweden.
The LOLA website is about to get a refresh to include the following:
A list of presentations from the conference can be found at: www.socitmconference.com/presentations. As always it was a pleasure representing GMIS International during the annual LOLA conference, strengthening bonds, and expanding the resources available to all our members.
GMIS International Director
Public sector workers worldwide are facing new and sometimes opposing expectations when it comes to Open Data. Despite efforts to streamline Open Data policies, it often remains unclear when data can truly be considered open, how to deal with technical and legal issues, etc.
LOLA is strongly committed to helping the public sector to develop digital skills, including those required to build a successful Open Data strategy. Therefore, LOLA is launching the ODEdu project. This project will provide a unique training programme for civil servants, business leaders and academics alike. Starting in 2017, LOLA Members will have access to the most advanced problem-bases-learning materials to date, developed by 7 experts from 5 European countries, all leaders in the field of Open Data and education.
10-10-2016 - Labels: News - Comments: 0
Have you heard of a ‘blockchain’? It is the powerful enabling technology behind Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that enjoys a less than enviable reputation. But that does not mean we shouldn’t take blockchains seriously. On the contrary, it has big implications for the authority and reach of government and for others who make a living by being an authoritative intermediary to transactions. The opportunities for those who are envisaging new digitally-enabled policies, policy instruments and public services operating models just got enormously bigger.
Blockchain technology is a step in the evolution of the digital information economy. It could be enormously disruptive to many existing public and private sector business models and greatly encourage innovation. As did the internet, the World Wide Web and free/open source software, blockchains bring a potential shift in power away from historic control centres and out towards services users. That matters.
So what to do? For now, Socitm members should watch this space: look and learn, maybe experiment a little. It’s early days, but things move quickly. It may not be long before it is appropriate to include blockchain concepts and technologies in existing service redesign exercises or, more likely, in wholesale new policy instrument design.
Socitm Insight Programme
Andy Hopkirk Tel: 01604 709456 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
02-09-2016 - Labels: News - Comments: 0
The United Nations E-Government Survey presents a systematic assessment of the use and potential of information and communication technologies to transform the public sector by enhancing efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, accountability, access to public services and citizen participation in the 193 Member States of the United Nations, and at all levels of development.
The 2016 E-Government Survey is issued at the moment when countries are launching the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It provides new evidence and new analysis to reflect on the potential of e-government to support the implementation of the Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are at its core. The 2030 Agenda itself recognized that “the spread of information and communications technology and global interconnectedness has great potential to accelerate human progress, to bridge the digital divide and to develop knowledge societies, as does scientific and technological innovation across areas as diverse as medicine and energy” (United Nations, 2015, paragraph 15).
The General Assembly has recognized on several occasions the role of information and communications technology in promoting sustainable development and supporting public policies and service delivery.1 It has underscored that ICT have enabled breakthroughs “in Government and the provision of public services, education, healthcare and employment, as well as in business, agriculture and science, with greater numbers of people having access to services and data that might previously been out of reach or unaffordable” (United Nations, 2015c, para 16). The General Assembly has also specifically affirmed the “potential of e-government in promoting transparency, accountability, efficiency and citizen engagement in public service delivery” (United Nations 2015b). Resolutions adopted earlier by the General Assembly also provided the basis for the Survey.
(Source: United Nations)