As most of you probably know by now I’ve taken on a new role in the company. I am now working with the DPE team as an Architect Advisor and bringing my security background to our Cloud Services offerings and Windows Phone 7 platform. The crux of my job is to help our customers innovate with Cloud and Mobile technologies. I’m pretty excited about doing this kind of work. I love both of these technologies and especially how they can be combined to produce the amazing results that we’d expect from a 21st Century society.
In our current connected society, we are connected all the time. We have access to more data, and more ways of consuming that data that we ever have before in the history of data. We have the technologies, and capabilities now to take advantage of that on a global scale. We are now positioned to Enable the Digital Society.
In my view, Enabling Digital Society has several core aspects:
- Government and Citizen relations (People to Gov)
- Enabling Government to provide data and services to its citizens regardless of device, location, or time of day (Crime Finder, ABS Median Age, City of Edmonton Data Catalogue )
- Enabling Citizens to interact with their government on unprecedented scale and depth through live service requests such as street conditions, rubbish, graffiti, and emergency reporting. (Miami 311, City Sourced, Love Clean Streets)
- Government and Citizen Accountability ( Eye On Earth, Freedom Speaks)
- Government sharing information from a common pool to reduce the need for the repeated entry of common data (name, address, birth date)
- Emergency warning, reporting and response from any device at any time
- Medical Practitioners and Healthcare
- Digital Economy (People to Retailers and Service Providers)
- Digital Workforce (People to Employers)
- A workforce that is enabled to work from anyplace and any time zone
- Seamlessly connected via mobile computing devices (Windows Phone, Slate, iPhone, iPad, Android)
- Completely virtual offices where productivity applications, customer relations applications, etc are hosted in the Cloud so location is irrelevant. (Office 365, CRM Online)
- Digital Lifestyle (People to People)
- Social media and networking (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Messenger, Skype)
- News, Music and Video whenever, wherever (CNN, BBC, ABC, Zune, iTunes, YouTube, etc)
- Location aware, relevant notifications and guidance ( Bingmaps, Google maps, Foursquare)
- Personal Productivity (Live.com [Office Web Apps, Skydrive, Hotmail], GMail, Google docs ]
So you may be saying, “Well you have examples of each of these things already so it sounds like we’re there!” No, we’re not. All of these are disparate systems at the moment. There are some connections happening in the Digital Lifestyle space, and in the Digital Economy space, but the Digital Workforce is lagging, and Digital Government is way behind.
There are a couple key aspects to all of this that revolve around making this a ubiquitous and seamless part of our lives. While there may be some web pages and even online transactions services for Government, they are all separate and isolated experiences. We need to take a more Citizen or People view on things. People see government as one large entity. They do not care that there is a separate agency for driver’s licenses, and one for building permits and one for taxes and one for picking up the trash. It’s all ‘The Government’ and should be treated as such.
The digital workforce should be able to open up their computer of choice, and be able to work. They should even be able to bring their own computer when they are hired and use it to do their work if they prefer. We are getting closer to this, but it’s still not quite there.
I the commercial world digital retailers have seen the light and are lowering the friction to the point where online purchases are pain free for the most part. The retailers and commercial organisations have put their money into facilitating this. In the Digital Lifestyle space, the netizens themselves have created the tools and systems to facilitate what they see as their way of communicating and staying in touch with other netizens. But in Government and the Workforce, we have a lot of catching up to do.
This is going to take a combination of technologies including Cloud Computing, Mobile Applications, Cross Platform Applications, and of course Network connectivity. The future is applications backed by the cloud with a device independent UI capability. The device should call a common back-end service and it should use whatever UI is appropriate, automatically.
These are the concepts and vision that I will be focusing on in this blog from now on. These are things that I believe are relevant to all of us, and can truly enable the digital society.