ISTANBUL, Turkey, Oct. 9, 2007 - Mayor Kadir Topbas of Istanbul and Paul Mountford, Cisco's senior vice president for emerging markets, launched today the new self-help content and services Web portal developed by Cisco and One Economy Corporation.
The community portal, known as the Turkey Beehive, was developed as part of Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group's (IBSG) Digital City initiative in Turkey, with the support from and in collaboration with Mayor Topbas, the Istanbul Municipality Information and Communications Department and local nongovernmental organizations. A series of interviews was conducted with community groups to determine the types of information citizens need most.
Accessible through all connected community centers and for citizens of Istanbul, the Beehive is constructed around eight key sections, titled Money, Health and Fitness, Education, Jobs, Starting Your Business, Family, Housing and Government.
"Our targeted e-transformation projects are helping us improve quality of life for all our 15 million citizens," said Topbas. "Becoming a digital city plays a vital role in fulfilling the wider vision of Istanbul as a great Eurasian metropolis," he added.
The Turkey Beehive contains practical information on such topics as managing a household budget, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, treating common diseases, and the best ways to help children to get ready for school. The portal content is customized to specific neighborhoods of Istanbul.
The Turkey Beehive was launched at the new BelNet community center in Tuzla district, one of the three high-tech pilot centers created in collaboration between Cisco and the Turkish Informatics Foundation. The new centers feature technology solutions such as:
- A central management system for increased security and operational efficiency among the centers and a portal for user authentication that will enable analysis of usage and demographics.
- A Cisco digital Signage solution that enables the municipality to distribute and present multimedia content for training and communication. The content is displayed on the LCD screens located in the community centers.
- A Cisco Unified Communications solution that enables community center managers to contact each other via voice or video calls or instant messaging.
"IT investments, especially in the network, are a great enabler for social inclusion and education and the Municipality of Istanbul community center initiative is a great example of how technology can truly impact people's lives," said Paul Mountford, Cisco's senior vice president for emerging markets. "Connectivity helps people interact more effectively, helps governments improve public services and enables businesses to reduce global barriers. Countries across emerging markets are increasingly investing in network infrastructures to improve the quality of life through new services that empower citizens and businesses and Cisco is playing a vital role to achieve this".
Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) has been working over the past 12 months with the municipality to define the roadmap of Istanbul's Digital City initiative. The Istanbul Digital City project is based on three key pillars: productivity, citizen and business services, and social and economic development, all supported by a wide-scale broadband deployment across the city.