Since its beginning, just over five years ago, this start-up has always kept in mind that it is the citizens who create the city, and not the other way around.
The cities are the human work par excellence where reality of coexistence undresses and the most immediate needs, such as eat, living indoors or watch your children grow, have a walk, dream; it is also a place where people is able to find their way of life, in which a diverse relationship environment is build. Even so, it is assertive that public management is more direct and, even, truer in social terms.
In this sense, a process of digital transformation and improvement of city management must count on citizen participation and be carried out in a perfect harmony with their daily experience. Then, it is not worth to look for arguments for failed projects in the digital incapacity of citizens or allude to this false aphorism, so much manipulated, of “resistance to change”. Nowadays everyone knows how to send a WhatsApp photo, and knows what is good for them; therefor, if something is not being used there is no need to look for mere excuses, it is vital to focus on the way innovation is taking place and technology is implanted, so it has complete acceptance of citizenship.
When we say “MuniDigital as the Spotify of Smart Cities”, we refer to the idea that we will only know we are successful if the services of MuniDigital do not present any difficulty of implantation for the City Council, nor effort of adoption for the citizens.
Accordingly, within the diversity of solutions and projects that fit under the Smart City concept, MuniDigital is configured as a cloud service platform divided into two areas perfectly distinguished, but interconnected between each other at the same time; a bit like the “left brain” and the “right brain” intercommunicated by the “corpus callosum”.
a) MuniGestion: provides tools for efficient management of any City Council operating processes: planning, monitoring and execution construction works, inspection campaigns, digitalization of forms, geolocation of scheduled tasks and complaints, comprehensive management of social aid, environmental control and woodland inventory, etc... As if it were the left brain, this area executes the logic of the processes based on data analytics and algorithms, looking for the path of maximum efficiency.
b) MuniCiudadano: enables personalized communication with the citizens, so that they have access to the progress of actions and events that this City Council may be carrying out, and which, therefore, concern them. Citizens can be a source of data generation, either on objects (for example: woodland) or on incidents reported. With this, there is the possibility of scheduling push notifications on events, giving their opinion on any action, making complaints or requests, arranging appointments to urban services, etc.… As occurs in the right side of the brain, which performs activities promoted by the emotions and motivates creativity. In this area, multiple social applications can be accommodated such as support networks between neighbors, promoting a cultural identity by shearing stories, etc.
We are convinced that the key to success lies in creating a connected world between the actions of the City Council and the experiences of the neighbors, so that they feel heard and considered by the government team that meets their demands effectively. If the use of the two parts is done in a balanced way, it will be much easier move in a straight line towards a goal.
The proof is in the recognition of our clients. Nowadays, MuniDigital has more than 100 success stories. For instance, Villa Carlos Paz (Argentina), one of the most important truistic place of Sierra de Cordoba mountains, uses the MuniSocial module for geo-referenced management of families and small business social assistance. The tool, of very simple operation, maintains a database with details of the families receiving the aids, these aids can be governmental, provincial or municipal, with data of concrete individuals and specific validated requirements. Today the system registers food aid from different government programs, delivery of sanitary kits, deliveries of seeds for cultivation and other aids, resulting in a complete statistical dataset by area and neighborhood. In addition to de social function, the analysis of the data by the system makes possible to obtain heat maps to represent where the most critical areas are in which there is a need to carry out concrete actions: improvement works, food aid distribution logistics, etc. This application allows the municipal manager to make decisions based on geolocated data from census of families, small business and individuals. So, families and businesses feel the close attention of their City Councils. No one misses the importance of a tool like this to face the challenges of increasing attention in the municipalities that are causing the pandemic.
In relation to the care of the environment, MuniDigital has developed an extraordinarily successful and a great significance application to preserve the future of the planet, called MuniArbol*. This application allows the citizens to actively collaborate with the municipality to create a database with all the trees in the city. the importance of having a forest census lies in the fact that the City Council can carry out a preventive and productive maintenance of the groves and avoids serious accidents in public via by falling branches or collapses; also, planning pruning, organizing participatory reforestation campaigns, having an inventory of native or millenary singularities typical of the acquis culture, etc.. Once again, the existence of these data is very important and will be the key to feed into official studies, aggregated or comparative, impact and contribution to the reduction of the carbon footprint, through the capture of CO2 by trees, for example.
MuniDigital’s success is because of having more than 2 Million trees registered among its customers. But there is a much more ambitious challenge: to get more than 100 Million trees registered in the next year; the largest census of trees ever conducted in history. To this end, and as a sign of its commitment to sustainability, MuniDigital offers the MuniArbol* application free of charge to all municipalities in Spain. Of course, within the corresponding administrative legal framework that dictates the rule, taking into account the laws and modalities of public procurement in force in Spain. We believe that this type of proposals and others in modalities like "try&buy" are going to be more and more necessary to dynamize the innovation in the Public Sector facilitating the release of Startup’s of the TechLab or the Hub of open innovation towards the experience of the real world where it is tested in front of the problem to solve. In this sense, the development of flexible forms of public-private relationship that allow "active innovation" and empirical will be key.
In conclusion, the digital transformation of a city, in favor of achieving a greater social quality, is not only a matter of "planting" technologies here and there, but of finding which is the thelos, the ultimate end that moves us, the problem to solve, and from here, easily, intelligently and securely configure the technologies to achieve that end. Exquisite care should be taken in the usability of the interfaces and seek integration, through the use of API s, with any information system that is operating in the City Council. Technology is only a means -currently abundant- and the value of a good project lies only in the definition of the ends and in the configuration of the technological, operational and human means for its achievement. This is the ultimate task that concerns everyone: the municipal managers in coexistence with their neighbors, and to us in MuniDigital to the extent that it is considered useful by the respective administrations.
Valentin Gonzalez Villas
Country manager Spain and Portugal, at MuniDigital
More than 30 years of experience in the information and communication technology sector where he has held various Senior Management positions at Telefónica in charge of sales and business development in Large Clients and Multinationals. Passionate about digital technologies and their impact on the transformation of society, his activity has always been closely linked to the development, commercialization and implementation of very relevant transformation projects in different sectors of activity: Public Administrations, Banking, Education, Health, Industry , etc.
He is a Senior Telecommunications Engineer from UPM (1987), PDD from IESE (1998). Professional Coach (CCPC) Certified by ICF certificate and final year student of Degree in Philosophy.