February 29, 2024

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Los Angeles to Boost Smart City Digital Services

Technology Abstract with Futuristic Lines as Art

Departments and experts from the City of Los Angeles highlighted several strategic hurdles to overcome as they work to expand the capabilities of Smart City Digital Services by 2028. The city is committed to continually improving its digital user experiences and customer journey services. Among their identified difficulties are: Improving User Experience (UX) Across L.A. Digital Services; Accessibility and Awareness of L.A. Digital Services; and Privacy & Ethical Concerns.

In the City of Los Angeles, technology is fundamental to how we function in managing traffic, planning our communities, engaging our constituencies, and protecting our residents through the coordination of both existing and emerging Smart City Technologies, we are positioned to transform the way we live.

– Ted Ross, Chief Information Officer, City of Los Angeles/General Manager, Information Technology Agency

Ted added that technology enables the city of LA to improve the quality of life efficiently and ethically for the residents, businesses and other stakeholders. The city governance ensures that all communities and businesses have access to the internet. It includes the distribution of over 5,000 computers by the City of LA to families in need. However, it has identified some difficulties such as limited use of emerging technologies like Blockchain and Robotic Process Automation, which limits the public’s access to new technology.

City departments have varying levels of skill in providing digital services and experiences to their clients, resulting in inequitable digital experiences for the general population, particularly during natural disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Procurement and contracting difficulties, resulting in sluggish IT adoption and limited access to emerging technologies. The public must juggle various digital identities due to the lack of a centralised, single user ID and password to access multiple City of Los Angeles digital services.

The lack of uniformity and misunderstanding among the public is due to varying functioning across several City of Los Angeles digital services in addition to the lack of timely and detailed customer input on the wide range of digital services offered by the City.

The LA City also experienced a lack of public understanding of the multiple, innovative digital services that are accessible to them for free; it has also limited access to public places including bus stops, walkways, and tourist sites.

In addition, limited access to digital services provided by the City of Los Angeles in Angelenos’ preferred language is also identified as a barrier the same with the lack of a regional procurement gateway that allows small and large enterprises to compete for contracts with the City of Los Angeles; and limited controls are in place to verify that all digital services conform with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

As people become more digital, they are also becoming more sceptical of digital technology due to privacy concerns, data breaches, and other issues. As a government that relies heavily on technology, the City of Los Angeles recognises the importance of digital services that are both innovative and ethical.

As the solution to these difficulties, the City of Los Angeles sought to create a digital public services toolkit for city departments to improve their expertise and constituents’ digital experiences; write and publish an ‘L.A. The Digital Code of Ethics includes technology guidelines that address public concerns about online privacy, unethical use of developing technologies such as facial recognition, and equal access to City of Los Angeles digital services.

Part of this endeavour is to design and deploy Robotic Process Automation (RPA) as an emerging technology for intelligent document processing starting with data entry for vendor bills and expanding to other City activities. The City aims to create and use blockchain as an emerging technology for smart contracts and small business registration in the years 2022-2023 to establish an innovative, secure record-keeping system.

The government is also working with the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) to streamline and improve flexibility in the City’s IT procurement; designing and deploying an “Angeleno Account” that allows all residents easy access to City of Los Angeles digital services utilising a single digital identity and login.

Among other plans of the local government are to start a citywide advertising campaign using LA Cityview to promote increased public knowledge and use of popular, innovative City of Los Angeles digital services; create a regional procurement portal; add automated survey tools to gather timely user input and enable ongoing improvement.


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