Smart cities are possible and, indeed, inevitable with smart management from governments.
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These include healthcare, transportation, public safety, supply chains, water and energy/grid. Add another layer to this with the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), and it’s clear that many communities will have smart capabilities in the next few years. With the rise of smart cities, however, comes the associated danger of bad actors seizing control of critical systems through IoT or other vulnerabilities. The cities of tomorrow are here today and hacking isn’t a futuristic, science fiction idea, it’s a reality that governments and its citizens need to consider as part of their day-to-day living. Just over two years ago hackers seized control of the power systems in several cities in Estonia, knocking out the electricity for over 100,000 residents. Compounding the problem was that the hackers were able to remotely trip circuit breakers forcing power plant workers to visit substations and manually flip a switch to restore energy services. It’s with the rise of IoT that we will see cities move from simple interconnection to being ‘smart’. Gartner estimates that by 2020, there will be in excess of 20 billion internet connected devices around the globe, and that number will only grow. Where the danger lies is in the nature of IoT devices, which are defined by function and connectivity, not security. IoT devices are designed to be inexpensive, ubiquitous, fast and highly connected, but little thought has gone into making them ‘security aware’, to monitor and detect for threats from bad actors. So where is the problem? With the rise of smart cities, IoT devices are being used as sensors for traffic monitoring, to keep track of pedestrian numbers, air quality, urban congestion and flag when public garbage bins are reaching capacity. Street lamps are linked into the public information system to turn themselves on when pedestrians are around. Traffic lights report back on road congestion, and the list goes on. Put simply, if there’s a function that can be made smarter, then it probably will be. As we’ve discovered, however, these sensors are designed to be cheap, fast and interconnected. Not secure. So a traffic system could have a critical integration point to a power system. A garbage monitor could provide a sensor pathway into water treatment, while air quality monitors could eventually provide an insecure path back into a city’s core ERP and financials. Gaps in security could allow hackers to take control of financials, effectively shutting down the city because workers can’t be paid and taxes can’t be remitted. Good security means good practices The way to monitor and defend against risks and threats is to apply good security practices to IoT. Just because an air quality sensor isn’t a core system, doesn’t mean that it is exempt from the very information security practices that keep a city’s ERP, financials and disaster recovery safe. Where progress needs to be made is in adapting current effective security protocols and practices at scale to federate to the massively growing world of IoT. This means examining where security blind spots could be, designing smart cities by function, monitoring functional relationships between IoT sensors, moving to IoT specific device and data authentication, access, authorisation relationships and detecting for and responding to behavioural anomalies across sensors from core information systems in a centrally controlled manner… the IoT ‘map of the earth’. Legislation is also an important tool in protecting cities against IoT vulnerabilities. Recent laws proposed in the United States have called for baseline IoT security for equipment being sold to the US federal government. These laws would stipulate that there are no hard-coded universal passwords, and that IoT devices are standardised to meet certain security requirements such as being patch capable against flaws discovered in the future. In Australia, where the Australian Government has declared that the nation should become a leader in smart cities via its 2016 Smart Cities program, laws about the security aspects of IoT haven’t been contemplated. The closest Australia has come is with a study from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner looking at the privacy aspects of IoT devices, which was conducted during 2016. This review of privacy could provide the basis for IoT laws governing security, however that remains something that hasn’t yet been proposed domestically. In essence, Australia is slip-streaming global moves on IoT security, and hoping that moves like the proposed legislation in the US will also provide protection for devices being sold and installed in the domestic market. Looking for the upside It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to smart cities and IoT. Security aside – and we can’t forget security is a major issue – smart cities have the potential to radically improve the quality of life of its citizens. This could come through the better and timelier provision of current and new connected living services and more efficient provision of government and private sector services. The IoT could, for example, be a literal life-saver when it comes to natural disasters in Australia and around the globe. Sensors installed in communities could pinpoint areas that are no-go zones, conduct audits of the movement of traffic and streamline evacuations, as well as identify areas of damage due to wind, water or fire as well as geolocation of citizens in need of emergency rescue. What’s clear is that the door has opened onto smart cities and IoT. The proliferation of IoT devices and their interconnection with city systems means that, with little planning, communities will become smart by default. The key to making this transition work is twofold. First and top of mind, security considerations needs to be addressed. This is something that can happen using existing security best-practice and protocols. It’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel when it comes to IoT security. Instead, what needs to happen is that security must become part of the design of smart cities, and security needs to be an ongoing life cycle of IoT, not something that is a ‘one hit wonder’. The second aspect and equally important of becoming a smart city is data integrity. Sensors generate masses of data, and smart cities need to have technology and processes put in place to analyse data in the context of smart city critical function, in order to directly align to the connected lives of its citizens and determine in real time if there are indications of compromise and/or risk. With those two aspects in place, smart cities are achievable, quality life enhancing, safe and cyber secure. Peter Tran is GM and Sr. Director of Worldwide Advance Cyber Defence Practice, RSA. [post_title] => The rise and risks of smart cities [post_excerpt] => Smart cities are possible and, indeed, inevitable with smart management from governments. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => rise-risks-smart-cities [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-21 21:12:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-21 11:12:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28084 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28078 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-21 20:49:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-21 10:49:44 [post_content] => The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has released the findings of a national survey on Australians’ attitudes towards technology and its impact on future employment opportunities. While nearly all Australians believe that innovation is important to Australia’s future prosperity (99%) and feel positive about future work and job opportunities (97%), only one in four attribute their positive outlook to the belief that government will develop the right policies in areas such as education and training. Instead, people were more likely to attribute their positive attitude about the future to the fact that technological revolutions throughout history have always resulted in the emergence of new industries and jobs (54%), Australia is a strong, stable country that will be able to adapt to change (52%), and because Australian entrepreneurs will take advantage of emerging opportunities in new industries (45%). The survey on Australians’ attitude towards innovation, jobs and future employment was conducted by Galaxy Research on behalf of AIIA*. “There is widespread commentary that technological disruption will cause job loss without job replacement. However, our poll indicates the majority of Australians are actually positive about the future, despite fear mongering about loss of jobs as technology develops,” said Rob Fitzpatrick, CEO of AIIA. “The survey also found that the majority of Australians believe they will need to take charge of their own careers and reskilling as jobs evolve due to technology advancements, irrespective of the industry in which they are working.” To adapt to technological change, Australians say workers need to stay up to date with changing technology in their industry (76%), undertake self-learning/further education (55%), access professional development through their workplace (53%), and be prepared to change careers or jobs as new roles emerge (51%). “History has demonstrated that technology and automation have increased productivity, improved the quality of goods and services, reduced prices and led to improved standards of living. It’s great that people are prepared to manage their own careers, however, it’s crucial that industry and government also respond appropriately to ensure Australians are well positioned to take advantage of new jobs and industries that will emerge on the back of new technologies,” said Mr Fitzpatrick. The survey indicated many Australians believe it is vitally important to support young people so they are prepared for the jobs of the future. The most popular approach is to improve education standards and the curriculum in STEM subjects (68%), while large numbers also said Australia should provide more workplace training opportunities for university and high school students (64%), develop more relevant vocational and education training programs (59%), and develop programs that promote resilience and confidence in young people (53%). Areas respondents would like to see embracing innovation and technology include medical research and development to deliver cures and better health management (72%), helping disadvantaged people gain better access to appropriate support services (65%), and investing in technological change in existing Australian industries such as manufacturing and agriculture (58%). The survey results coincide with the release of AIIA's Skills for Today, Jobs for Tomorrow whitepaper, which focuses on the urgent need for a practical strategy and action plan for the future of jobs. “ICT and digital leaders must work proactively with governments and communities to develop practical strategies to build Australia’s digital literacy capabilities to prevent social and economic dislocation,” said Mr Fitzpatrick. “While history shows technology will ultimately add productivity and economic growth, our whitepaper is the start of what needs to be an ongoing conversation about developing an action plan to ensure Australians are adequately prepared for the jobs of the future,” he said. * The Galaxy Poll was conducted online among a nationally representative sample of 1,004 Australians 18 years and older. [post_title] => Technology, jobs, and government input [post_excerpt] => What impact will new technologies have on future employment, and what's the government's role? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => future-jobs-technology-government-input [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-21 20:52:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-21 10:52:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28078 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28068 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-18 16:17:32 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-18 06:17:32 [post_content] => Alan IvoryWith more and more government departments looking at ways they can digitally transform their practices, many are looking at software as a service (SaaS) providers as a core part of that strategy. Previously only consistent in their disparate approaches, a clear set of procurement practices are now emerging to ensure the successful integration of SaaS and maximise ROI. Working with the biggest brands in the world, I have spent thousands of hours with both government and enterprise procurement teams. Over the last year, this has involved facing over 20 different procurement departments in Asia Pacific and globally across the finance, technology, telecommunications, retail, government and travel sectors. Based on that experience, below are my top tips for a smooth procurement process.
SaaS procurement has changed the very nature of procurement teams and their core skillsets. Today’s best teams are no longer just looking at contract value or the software as a platform – they are looking at how the software will be adopted more widely by the organisation or department. This is so relevant in government where teams are often large and diversely skilled, getting the whole team on board early is essential. The success of a project depends upon the integrity of the implementation, hence executing this phase flawlessly can prevent issues from creeping up further down the line.
- Implementation first
SaaS will inevitably impact multiple teams and departments. Staying involved and engaged throughout all the stakeholder reviews is the only way procurement can meaningfully understand the requirements unique to each unit. Where we used to see procurement collecting opinions, this deeper level of understanding provides a more balanced overview of the suppliers competing for the contract, so you are comparing apples with apples. For our business, this generally starts with the event team, then moves through marketing, finance and IT.
- End to end ownership
The single truth of a SaaS is it should improve your efficiency, ideally reducing the number of vendors you use. This, in turn, reduces risk, contracts, manual processes and overheads. To drive a more efficient procurement timeline, with stakeholder engagement still high at the critical onboarding phase, government organisations need to invest in personnel with a unique skillset. They will need to repeatedly bring multiple stakeholders across numerous teams together and extract the complex ways SaaS will impact, improve or challenge them. It’s a common mistake to have a ‘techy’ run this process. While they may understand the technical implications, we frequently see the engagement efforts derail due to the lack of experience in meeting facilitation.
- The skill set
Procurement based on contract terms and price is setting itself up for failure. Conversely, striving for operational excellence hallmarks the most successful outcomes. We are seeing the best procurement teams asking to complete pilots. Most SaaS providers will have a testing platform alongside their production platform.
- Operationally centric
Integrations are a critical part of the SaaS procurement process. Look at how the software works within your own software climate - often something difficult to change within government. Determine the short term and long term goals and ask how the platform can fit into that. How will the data flow? What are the advantages and the costs to deploy? Leaders in this field are testing the integrations in pilot phases, ensuring they work with existing software, CRM, MA, financials, membership software, etc. Integration teams from the vendor and client agree on the integration piece and test with dummy data for a full end to end review. It’s also important to ask: what is the ROI of those integrations and what are the cost savings? Cost of implementation is no longer the primary focus, as organisations instead look to cost reductions of replacing manual processes and headcount reductions. The value inherent in provision of real-time analytics and big data enable further cost savings or revenue generation.
- Don’t just test the software, test the integrations too
If you want the SaaS vendor to provide a project team to assist in the deployment, meet the team – not just the sales team. Make sure the team is local, has the resources, and will be dedicated to your organisation during the process. Ask who is running the project. If utilising the vendor’s professional services team, make sure there is an alignment between procurement so the expectations are unambiguous.
- Work in partnership
Make sure all of your internal stakeholders understand the contract. Previously a tightly-held document, we are seeing an evolution into contract transparency from the top tier procurement teams. The best implementations occur when significant time is invested in multi-team consultation and onboarding after the contract is signed, with positive uptake and a sense of ownership driving optimal engagement. Conversely, where stakeholders are given no sense of ownership or empowerment we are seeing poor adoption rates, departmental stand-offs and resentment from lack of buy-in.
- Contract transparency
Most successful procurement teams have KPI linked to the successful outcome of the project implementation, not the contract value. There has never been better reason for procurement to have a part of the onboarding process, involving multi-team training of all stakeholders and any third-party agencies that may have interactions with the SaaS. If this process is not driven powerfully internally, then the project will stall here, no matter how motivated the vendor is. Disenfranchised stakeholders, under-skilled users, and lack of internal project management will quickly derail any SaaS uptake into your business.
- Own the onboarding
Surprisingly, software RFP have not evolved well with the digital era. Often they are a technically focused generic checklist of features, as opposed to focusing on organisational objectives. Make sure your RFP is up to date, has had input from the various departments and stakeholders, and is aligned with the its overall needs. Here are some of the more important, but often omitted, questions from RFP:
- Security and compliance
- Where is the data stored?
- What level of data security standards have you reached?
- What level of encryption do you hold your data to?
- Team location
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- Six in ten governments recognise regulatory constraints as the greatest barrier to the adoption of blockchains, followed closely by what they perceive as immature technology and lack of executive buy-in
- Recreational Fishing Fee.
- Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) Competency Card.
- Responsible Conduct of Gambling (RCG) Competency Card.
- Engage people with disability about their needs.
- Plan, implement and measure outcomes.
- Build collaborative networks and partnerships.
- Advocate within and outside the sector.
- Boost local employment.
What impact will new technologies have on future employment, and what’s the government’s role?
The procurement practices that lead to successful integration.
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