First and foremost, the "Internet of Services" as it is known is what enables the state and administration to be a new smart government. The aim is an intelligent and networked government that optimises its administrative tasks and simplifies and facilitates them for citizens. Different governments around the world are pursuing different approaches and ideas. However, it is noticeable that digitisation is almost everywhere and is changing the nature of administration.
Industry 4.0 and government affairs
Considered by many as a new form of the industrial revolution, digitisation is the issue in all large companies and is still far from being completed. Governments also have to stay with the times and be involved in these changes. Production and value creation processes are networked and digitised. Since 2006, the German government has been promoting research in the field of digitisation. Since 2011, there is both the Internet of Things and the Internet of Services in Germany.
The Internet of Things refers to objects that are intelligently networked. These objects can be equipped with sensors or chips, which means that products/machines/technical devices can be integrated into IT systems.
Things get an identity in the network and can exchange information. Real objects can also be connected to virtual objects. Through different technologies, these systems are getting smarter. As part of Industry 4.0, highly automated and highly customisable systems are now being developed: products and processes are becoming intelligent.
In industry, orders can control and process orders themselves as it were. For government business, this technology means that large amounts of data can be personalised and processed more quickly. Administrative processes such as allocating tax numbers, issuing permits or processing pension applications or tax returns can be optimised thanks to digital processes.
Public administration and governments are therefore paying attention to Industry 4.0, the Internet is integrated into a wide range of administrative processes. Each state or state institution must define for itself the extent to which digitisation can be used.
In the face of rapid changes in the services sector and in industry, citizens are also calling for the procedures of government bodies to be developed faster. If large corporations are able to work more efficiently and faster using the Internet, then the government is expected to do the same. The collection of data and the digitisation of files has now been introduced almost everywhere. In most states of the industrialised world, numerous notifications are processed and sent digitally. An example of smart documents is the passport, which stores so much different data such that checks at the airport can ascertain whether the passport “fits” the person in question. This is a smart document in the truest sense of the word.
The purpose of intelligent administrative procedures
The model and goal of smart government is a world in which information is processed and decisions are made fully automatically and humans have hardly to intervene in certain processes. The processing of massive amounts data and information can thus be significantly accelerated. Invoices and permissions are automatically created and sent, computers control the processes and work increasingly autonomously. Paper can soon be entirely done away with.
Portals replace administrative offices and this makes administration much more efficient. An enormous advantage of digitisation is that there can be no more information gaps between the individual authorities. What the system knows, can also be applied to other processes. Networking within authorities and among different authorities prevents duplication and prohibits mistakes and fraud.
The major drawback of a fully automatic administrative apparatus is apparent when mistakes occur for some reason or when data is entered incorrectly. Getting to the bottom of the error is often complicated, which is one of the reasons why a lot of research and development is still required.
On the one hand, the existing systems are revised and improved; on the other hand, new systems and programs are being worked on. Security and data protection are also topics of research. At the same time, lawyers are dealing with the different legal aspects of the new administrative methods, as many legal issues are still unresolved and laws that deal with smart systems are still largely lacking. It is clear that smart government is the future, and it is becoming increasingly important for project managers who deal with government procedures, such as approval requests, spatial plans, decisions and regulations for example, to become familiar with the new structures.
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