SMART Government welcomed over 80 public and private sector delegates to its 2019 conference on 17.1.2019 at the Titanic Hotel. The conference focused on initiatives to innovate and digitise our cities, enhance economic prospects and make sure that citizens are at the heart of service provision. Representatives came from a wide variety of sectors, from banking through to local government organisations, in addition to a number of stalls from other local businesses.
Deirdre Ferguson from Belfast City Council gave an update on the SMART Cities initiative for Belfast and contributed to the discussion on infrastructure, connectivity and utilities. The SMART Cities initiative plans to mould Belfast into a more connected city, a SMART city.
Further talks covered vital issues such as data democratisation – and its pros and cons – banking and Brexit. Caron Alexander from NI Direct talked about their proactive MyNI app and website which will make use of Facebook ads to target different areas and provide citizens with articles on topics such as recycling.
Photo by Northern Slant. Jonah McLachlan at SMARTGov19 conference [digital image]. Retrieved from Twitter.
Jonah contributed to the panel discussion on the necessity, challenges and opportunities which come with digital transformation, joining representatives from Tourism NI, Discover NI, and Danske Bank. He reflected the focus of the day on the needs of citizens to emphasise:
- the importance of understanding how different we are from our users and the need to step out of our ivory towers
- the need to align the technology we are building with the needs of our users (and how that is discovered by research)
- the new legislation on accessibility and the need to design experiences for everyone.