The Greater Toronto Area city has put forward a new IT Master Plan, which represents a complete overhaul of the city’s tech and digital strategy in an effort to streamline city operations.
“The city has established itself as a leader in the use of technology to engage citizens and deliver services through innovation and partnerships,” Shawn Slack, Mississauga’s director of IT and CIO, said in a statement. “Through the IT Master Plan process, a whole new set of inspiring possibilities has been established forming a new and exciting vision for the future. This plan ensures the city is using technology and resources strategically to efficiently deliver the best service possible.”
Created in consultation with industry experts and staff, the overarching aim of this new master plan is to foster engagement with residents and businesses, as well as offer more transparency in government processes. According to the plan, the city will renovate its digital presence to allow residents to have online access to records from public meetings, community planning documents, as well as information on city services.
“The city has had many successes in the adoption and use of technology and has developed the IT Master Plan to remain a leader in the use of technology recognizing that the pace of change and use of technology has shifted significantly through the consumerization of technology,” said Gary Kent, commissioner of Corporate Services Department and CFO at the City Mississauga. “The IT Master Plan is a well-informed vision for the adoption of technology that will enable the transformation of the City of Mississauga into an engaged and connected city.”
The master plan encompasses 21 initiatives the city plans to implement over the next three to five years.
In addition to helping build a transparent government through technology, the master plan embraces four key strategies:
- Foster open and accessible government. Use technology to enable easy and convenient access to services and information, host an Open Data hackathon in 2016, implement the digital strategy and increase mobile accessibility.
- Enable decisions through research and analytics. Develop a Big Data framework that enables analytics, dashboards and data visualizations providing timely and relevant management information.
- Create a connected and engaged workplace. Connect services and collect information through sensors and connected devices by implementing Smart City initiatives that will allow the city to better manage services with visibility on how they are performing and the ability to affect changes on services in real time.
- Improve services through innovation and partnerships. Provide opportunity and access to technology in the community that spark innovation and partnerships to provide and enhance services.
According to city officials, Mississauga businesses will also directly benefit from this shift in the city’s focus. Kent says the plan includes “a public-private partnership that enhances and connects services” in districts where small business, tourism, entertainment and city services are highly concentrated.
“The proof of concept will be designed to build the required components for a public-private partnership that will support small business, innovation, start-ups and also introduce enhanced Smart City services in the area defined by the district,” he said.
If all goes as planned, Mississauga could serve as an example for other Canadian Smart City initiatives.