DigiTel (Tel Aviv - Israel)
DigiTel is an e-government and citizen engagement initiative that was launched in the beginning of 2013, to address all kinds of issues that the citizens of Tel Aviv face. A smart city vision was defined, to achieve the global goals of the municipality: “Incorporating information and advanced technologies, and promoting the involvement of residents and other parties, to improve operational efficiency, quality of life, local economy and a sustainable environment”. Water & Energy, Sanitation, Security, Education, Community, Transportation, Infrastructure, The Free Market, and Start-ups were defined as the pillars of the smart city strategy and operating model. Its focal points and founding principles are: engagement in the urban experience and in decision-making processes, crowd-sourced wisdom, public participation, and collaboration between residents, businesses, NGO’s and municipal administration. DigiTel is the key project to achieve the vision and meet the defined targets.
DigiTel Residents Club is a personalised web and mobile communication platform which provides residents with individually tailored, location-specific information and services, like managing municipal bills or reporting hazards in the city. The platform facilitates a direct and all-inclusive connection between the city and its residents, being able to alert each resident about all the topics that matter to her/him (like providing them with an alternative route home in case of neighbourhood road works, the nearest bicycle-sharing station, reminders for school registration, or discounts to cultural events in the city). The user receives the information through push notifications via different channels: personal e-mails, text messages, and the personal resident account.
Interview with a local government official (Municipality of Tel Aviv) at the Smart City Expo World Congress Barcelona 2017.
Improved e-Governance and citizen services.
Description of the specific objectives:
- Engage citizens in the daily life of Tel Aviv;
- Provide improved municipal services;
- Enhance the urban quality of life;
- Use ICT to manage the existing resources and save costs.
Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality.
- Discovering more benefits;
- Data security issues;
- Budget and costs;
- Thinking ahead (predict possible problems with the technologies involved).
- DigiTel web and mobile communication platform.
- Applications: application contest (competition in which residents developed mobile apps for public use based on open databases), view municipal tax charges by e-mail, consultation arena, online construction licensing, community centre, computerization of schools.
- Logical infrastructure: Open Data, digital signature, formal e-mail infrastructure, social networking channels, mobile app, geographical information iView (renders geo-spatial information available and easily usable for all), residence club and membership card.
To be part of DigiTel, residents just have to be over the age of 13 and register at the municipality. Government officials have also been going directly to residents’ homes to make the process of registration easier.
Citizens can use the app to pay 20% less fee in the registration for a marathon. If there is a theatre show, DigiTel gives some of the tickets away for free or makes them available for a reduced price. When doing an outdoor event, like opera in the park for 50,000 people, the VIP ring is restricted to citizens registered in DigiTel. The municipality is giving increasingly more information to the citizens through DigiTel. For instance, if there is a problem in a street nearby the citizen's house, and the road will be closed, they send a push notification to that citizen to warn her/him. Connectivity is essential to improve the quality of services. For example, Tel-O-Fun is a bicycle rental project in Tel Aviv. In the DigiTel app, users can see which bicycle station is near to them, how many bicycles there are, and report any possible problem to the operator.
- Being smart is all about the benefits, knowing which information to send and what the citizens need. That is why, in 2014, Tel Aviv was awarded the title “Best Smart City in the World” in the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, based on the DigiTel project;
- More than 60% of the residents voluntarily registered in DigiTel;
- More than 32,000 downloads of the mobile app;
- 80 free Wi-Fi zones in the city and more than 200 Access Points;
- The municipality obtains plenty and secure data about the registered citizens.