Building Smart Cities With BPM

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The term ‘Smart City’ is no longer new today, but it still feels like a concept out of a science fiction novel. In reality, a city that thinks, adapts to change, and meets the dynamic needs of its resident population fits into this category. Although still an emerging concept, there has been a lot of talk of recent around this ‘promised’ smart and ‘empowered’ future of our burgeoning urban dwellings. In simple terms, a smart city is a type of urban development that leverages the latest in technology to deliver a smart, responsive, eco-sustainable and highly connected living experience to its residents.

So how will this sort of technological utopia be achieved and what does it entail? Needless to say that technology will be at the center of this evolution from cities to smart cities. Some features that we can expect to see in these cities will range from 24/7 video surveillance, driverless public transit systems, biometric readers in homes, offices, metro stations. Street lights with movement sensors that alternate intensity depending on footfall and thereby save electricity. The Internet of Things (IOT) will play a galvanizing role in turning this vision into reality. Using Internet-connected devices and good process management, every aspect of a city’s daily tasks will be enhanced, optimized and automated. Smart cities will however need strong government participation and support to ensure sustainable economic-environmental development.

But where does Business Process Management (BPM) fit in? We all understand that automation saves money and resources. These savings and efficient use of resources will create efficient cities. That is what BPM does and has been doing in the enterprise space for decades. It has only been improving, each iteration being more intuitive, streamlined, responsive and delivering continuous innovation, flexibility, and process improvement. BPM aligns an organization’s business processes with the wants and needs of its clients. In the case of smart cities, the clients are its citizens.

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How will BPM help build smarter cities? Let’s find out.

1) Enhanced eGovernance: Smart cities will ensure that government and citizens will be connected like never before. Government departments will have access to a huge volume of data that can be stored and then sliced and diced with the help of smart content analytics to extract contextual information. This information can then be used to improve the quality of life for citizens by improving the responsiveness of services offered, driving transparency and assigning responsibility across the board.  

2)  Drive collaboration: For a smart city to work efficiently, all its systems need to communicate and collaborate seamlessly. These systems needs to address a number of key challenges that include but are not limited to health, transport, infrastructure, waste management, and air pollution etc. BPM enables process and work flow among these systems. It supports day to day business operations and allows for optimal utilization of city resources. BPM enables effective decision making by ensuring that all key decision makers in the system are provided consistent and complete information and therefore can approve, disapprove, revise or delegate key decisions and actions. 

3) Real-time Information: Smart cities need to take decision and solve problems on an everyday basis. From energy consumption and transport to lighting and enhancing public safety.  But to keep these cities working seamlessly they need to access, process and comprehend data in real time. BPM not only helps to foster operational intelligence through improved process visibility and business responsiveness, but helps in better decision making. The platform is able to assess trends in real time and help cities to respond to emerging opportunities and threats. 

4) Continuous Improvement

A smart city will constantly need to keep evolving and adapting depending on the needs of its citizens, industry best practices, economic climate, socio-political scene and technological advancements. What that means is there will be a perpetual need to optimize and continuously improve implemented processes. With BPM as the underlying platform these processes can be easily and cost-effectively adapted without incurring too much analysis, simulation, effort and cost. 

Simultaneously running multiple processes integrated with each other requires a Process Management platform as the back bone of the entire system. Newgen’s scalable Business Process Management (BPM) platform furnishes the flexible Process Management backbone to a smart city environment and renders easy creation/modifications in business rules, real-time process monitoring through interactive dashboards and document workflows with ability to add content of any type to the processes.

 

To drive a smart city, smart governance is what a BPM technology provides to its citizens with a systematic approach of making an effective digital environment making way to a Smart Nation.