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PRESS RELEASE

Barcelona City Hall Launches a pioneer Virtual Citizen Services Centre in Europe

Based on Cisco TelePresence and Collaboration Technologies, it allows Administrative Services to Be Provided through Remote Video Kiosks

 

Barcelona, March 7, 2013. – Barcelona City Hall has announced a pioneer Virtual Citizen Services Centre in Europe, using Cisco TelePresence® and collaboration technologies to allow citizens to remotely carry out various administrative processes without needing to appear at local offices. 

The first phase of the pilot programme, which takes a pioneering approach in Europe, consists of the implementation of a citizens' services booth at Casa del Mig (Parc de l'Espanya Industrial, Calle Muntadas 5 – 08014 Barcelona), which is freely accessible during business hours, from which citizens may interact face-to-face with public servants to share, sign and print documents and take care of multiple administrative processes as if they were at the office itself. 

The initiative forms part of a comprehensive collaboration agreement between Cisco and Barcelona City Council, which includes a variety of strategic initiatives based on the Cisco Smart+Connected Communities™ (S+CC) platform to help transform Barcelona into a European model for urban innovation, which is capable of optimizing the management of public spaces and generating new services for citizens. 

Key points of the announcement

  • The project is based on the Cisco Remote Expert for Government Services solution, specially designed so that local, regional and central administrations can offer economic and effective citizens' services through a truly immersive collaboration experience and from a more convenient location, close to residence, workplace and leisure centres.
  • This solution is comprised of a Cisco TelePresence system with high-definition video and high-quality audio; Cisco Remote Expert Manager and Cisco Unified Communications Manager administration software; a touch screen and virtual keyboard in order to display and fill out documents; a high-definition camera and scanner; a printer; a desktop Cisco TelePresence® system for each remote services agent and optimized network services using Cisco medianet technology, which provides a highly secure and reliable video communication experience. Unitronics, a Cisco Certified Gold Partner, has been entrusted with carrying out the implementation. 
  • Upon entering the booth, citizens need only press a button on the screen to connect with local agents. The system is very simple and intuitive, with the ease of interpersonal interaction and touch control and the ability to share documents, resolve issues and complete all processing on the spot with a corresponding printed receipt. Moreover, the booth can be installed at any Internet-enabled location such as shopping centres, libraries, and post offices.  
  • In an initial phase, this virtual services centre will allow numerous citizens' information services that the Barcelona City Hall currently offers in person, over the phone or by internet to be provided via the kiosk. Additional processes such as querying registries, obtaining construction licences or complaints regarding municipal services will soon be actionable using the virtual services centre.

Supporting quotes:

  • Antoni Vives, deputy mayor of the Barcelona City Hall:

"Barcelona City Hall is committed to being exemplary in the provision of citizen services thanks to the possibilities which new technologies are offering. The Virtual Citizen Services project contributes to being more efficient, reducing costs, bringing the administration to the citizen, and improving public services by avoiding, for example, travel."

  • Jose Petisco, general manager for Cisco Spain:

"Government offices are seeing a considerable reduction in costs, even while they have to provide higher-quality services to citizens, including legal consulting, tax management or Social Security processing. Cisco Remote Expert for Government Services optimizes citizens' assistance services, helping to "virtually" transfer the local offices to places nearer to citizens, broadening access to the services and business hours while providing personal and immersive interaction by combining the latest Collaboration, TelePresence and network technologies into one sole solution."

Cisco Smart+Connected Communities strategy

Cisco has collaborated for years with government offices and another partners on multiple projects in Spain using the principles of its Smart Connected Communities (S+CC) and related strategies, designed to respond to 21st-century needs of urban centres. Cities that rely on the Internet as a platform in order to improve planning, design and management of city services can obtain multiple benefits, including optimized administration, improved quality of life for citizens and greater economic, social and environmental sustainability. 

 Additional resources:

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