The future of the Smart City is constantly being redefined, and by extension our relationship with citizens. The advent of the Smart Home offers an opportunity to connect with our constituents in new and exciting ways that weren’t previously possible. The following projects illustrate our strategy of testing different technologies to democratize open government data and put it in useful contextual applications for our citizens.
American Printing House for the Blind, Indoor Navigation
We have partnered with the American Printing House for the Blind to install low power, bluetooth beacons in public buildings, and map these indoor spaces for accessibility and public usage, with all data generated contributed to OpenStreetMap. It is an exciting and innovative opportunity to improve public buildings for all in our community through their Indoor Explorer platform.
This technology was recently promoted and demonstrated to an audience from the NewDEAL organization (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), a national network of progressive state and local leaders.
In December 2017, the Louisville International Airport (SDF) became the first fully accessible airport to travelers who are blind or visually impaired and in January 2018, the Kentucky Center for the Arts became the first fully accessible performing arts venue to patrons who are blind or visually impaired.
IFTTT Resident Notifications
Innovation has built a connection to the free service IFTTT (IF This, Then That) that lets residents get notifications from the city the way they want them. Things like emergency alerts, air quality, city jobs, city news, and Metro Council meeting agendas, minutes, videos, and bills can be sent to residents via text message, email, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, Hue light bulbs, and other smart devices. These can be mixed and matched in countless ways, helping get the information you need in the manner you need, and is of particular value for visually or audibly impaired residents. Louisville is the first government on the platform, which initiated IFTTT’s creation of the government Data Access Project.
An open source project, our IFTTT code is freely available and licensed on GitHub. We have created a new channel for governments to deliver light touch digital services, that empower the citizen to customize their interaction with government while maintaining respect for their privacy. The IFTTT service has a tightly controlled user experience that allows us to present a consistent service to our citizens, in an era of poorly designed government app experiences. It allows us to democratize and operationalize data to our citizens, solving a historic issue with Open Data, providing immediate and applicable value to the initiative.
Smart Assistant Skills (Alexa, Google Assistant)
Our citizen’s expectations are being set by the pace and responsiveness of private industry. The future of government is not behind paper forms, or labyrinth processes but instead the future of our government is ubiquitous service and availability. The citizen expectation is to be able to solve their problems quickly, efficiently and with as little energy as possible.
To accomplish this effort, the Office of Civic Innovation is experimenting with several Smart Assistants, and Voice User Interfaces (VUIs). By engaging with our local Code for America chapter, we have created a number of community developed skills, primarily for (but not limited to) the Amazon Alexa digital assistant. This allows us to experiment with voice interaction, a new channel for digital citizen services.
As these technologies have a greater impact and influence on our lives, and are developed for citizens by their local government, it is important the citizens have the capability and option to review the code of this software. You can review this project, and many others on our organization page on GitHub.
As all citizens leverage and use technology platforms differently, we currently have a multi-platform digital assistant solution in development that will address the need for a platform agnostic solution.