YALOVA, Turkey, December 4, 2007 - Yalova's ongoing transformation into a digital city marked an important milestone today as the city launched its first Connected Community Center along with the Yalova Beehive, a local information and life portal for citizens. Both the Connected Community Center and the Yalova Beehive were developed as part of the municipality's Digital City initiatives in collaboration with Cisco's Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) and Cisco Corporate Affairs. Presiding at today's inauguration were Barbaros Binicioglu, mayor of Yalova and Erkan Akdemir, general manager of Cisco Turkey.
With a population of almost 200,000 inhabitants, Yalova is demonstrating how information and communications technology (ICT) applications and services, when tailored to local needs, can help to promote social inclusion. The Yalova Beehive was developed by One Economy and Cisco as a community-help content and services Web portal, the first of its kind outside Turkey's largest city, Istanbul. Content is grouped into sections such as Money, Health, Education, Jobs and Career, Entrepreneurship, Family, Home Rental/Sales and Civic Information. It uses language that readers from all cultural levels can understand and contains practical information on such topics as managing a household budget, maintaining a healthful lifestyle, treating common diseases, and helping children prepare to enter school.
The Yalova Beehive was presented at the opening of the Connected Community Center. Equipped with computers and networking equipment donated by Cisco, the center provides free-of-charge Internet access up to an hour a day per person, as well as on-site support to guide the public on using the computers and navigating through the new portal.
"The municipality is planning to open several new centers across the city. We're aiming to provide Internet access in a secure environment to people who lack this opportunity," said Mayor Binicio?lu. Talking about the portal, he added: "The Yalova Beehive provides information that will make the life of Yalova citizens easier. People from all ages, socio-cultural groups and income levels will be able to access the information they need. I hope this project will help bridge the economic and social gaps between different segments of the society".
"Yalova has taken important steps toward becoming a digital city. Cisco will continue to support Yalova in these efforts, and we hope its success will set a good example for other like-minded municipalities in Turkey," said Akdemir.
Moustafa Mourad, president of One Economy Corporation said that they are applying the experience gained in similar projects around the world to the Yalova Beehive portal. "Projects like the Yalova Beehive are critically important for their contribution to social peace and for increasing the quality of life of low-income people," he commented.
'Digital City' Yalova
Cisco IBSG has been working over the past two years with the Yalova municipality to define the Digital City initiative road map based on the principles of transparency, productivity and participation. Since then, Yalova has made important progress in the areas of mobile working, integrated citizen services via a citizen loyalty card, and a customer relationship management (CRM) system. The city also aims to develop a technology park to create high-value-added employment opportunities.
Yalova was the first Turkish city to join the EUROCITIES network of large European cities, and hosted the first meeting of EUROCITIES' Knowledge Society Forum ever held in Turkey. By being the first Turkish member to host a EUROCITIES meeting, Yalova put itself on the international map, whilst aligning key digital city projects with Turkey's national e-transformation strategy. Yalova aspires to be the pilot city for wireless broadband services with its own technology park.
About One Economy Corporation
One Economy Corporation is a global nonprofit organization that uses innovative approaches to deliver the power of technology and information to low-income people, giving them valuable tools for building better lives and entering the economic mainstream. One Economy Corporation helps bring broadband into the homes of low-income people, employ youth to train their community members to use technology effectively, and provide socially responsible media properties that offer a wealth of information on education, jobs, health care and other vital issues. For more information, visit www.one-economy.com