To plan and guide the transformation journey towards the Smart Limerick and the Digital City, an initial capability assessment has been completed in 2016 with the support of researchers from LERO - The Irish Software Research Centre and IVI - The Innovation Value Institute, Maynooth.
To provide a systematic means to frame, evaluate and manage the sustainable development of cities and to help guide decisions about people, policy, infrastructure, investment, and the use of computing technologies, a combination of two capability based view (CBV) frameworks was leveraged to provide a stable view of the entity under investigation. While a city’s administration, management hierarchies, processes, technologies or people might reorganise, a capability is more enduring and constant. Capabilities possess properties such as the people, processes, and technologies that are used to instantiate the capability. They can be hierarchical; containing nested relationships, as well as horizontal connections.
Overall, the objectives of this assessment were to:
- Unwrap the complex ecosystem of Limerick into domains for tackling sustainability
- Provide a common language between diverse stakeholders to set goals, evaluate improvements and benchmark over time
- Offer scenarios that are vendor independent and technology implementation neutral
- Define improvement roadmaps using milestones and reference landmarks
This assessment enables the definition of the current status or the “as-is” situation and a common understanding between stakeholders of how this transformation is being tackled. It also enabled the definition of a clear set of goals to be reached in the next 3-5 years and the desired “to-be” situation, across the defining factors of Smart Limerick and the Digital City.
There are many models that can be used to undergo maturity assessments, each model having various levels of maturity and capabilities associated with these levels. As research in this area is still ongoing and different models claim various adoption rates, a hybrid approach has been used for Limerick’s digital capabilities assessment. This hybrid approach ensures that cross examination of key insights about Limerick’s digital capabilities provide a clear understanding of the current position from where Limerick can start its transformation journey.
While there are many assessment models in this strategy the following models are used:
- The Sustainable Connected Cities Capability Maturity Framework developed by Intel Labs Europe, the Innovation Value Institute at Maynooth University, and the Business Informatics Group at Dublin City University, in collaboration with Dublin City Council .
- The Smart City Maturity Model developed by TM Forum, a non-proft international industry association that carries out industry research and develops benchmarks, technology road-maps, best-practice guidebooks, software standards and interfaces .
The Digital City Enabling Platform defines five levels of maturity across seven dimensions that collectively and exhaustively describe enabling capabilities for Digital Cities:
- Digital City Governance: Promoting unified governance to how resources are applied across city departments and municipalities can be a key enabler for management towards sustainable connected cities. It includes aspects of leadership, management, monitoring, control, and performance management.
- Digital Access & Skills Proficiency: To advance human and social capital to leverage the IT revolution requires promoting digital inclusion and savviness for both city dwellers and city employees.
- Building Ubiquitous City Network: Underlying this concept are the fundamentals of instrumentation (e.g. sensors) and interconnectedness (many networked devices integrated to a city network or network of networks) to provide the necessary integrated and interoperable city network infrastructure.
- Leveraging Urban Data: Promotion of open standards for data management across city departments is the catalysing platform for city-wide integration and leveraging of urban data.
- Fostering Digital Service Capabilities: New capabilities are needed across all levels, to envision and transform city services by applying information technologies in more innovative ways.
- City Impact Realisation: Moving towards triple bottom line accounting expands traditional reporting by acknowledging, in addition to the economic performance, also the ecological and social impact when measuring success.
- Stakeholder Engagement and Citizens Focus: This dimension underlines how efective digital cities are not just about strong top-down governance, but also ensuring: (1) that these initiatives are built upon citizens needs and aspirations; and (2) that the city fosters the formation of ecosystems including public bodies, community organisations, and other businesses in the area.
The assessment in September 2016 of Limerick’s digital capabilities placed Limerick at “Level 2. Basic”
The Smart Limerick Roadmap aims to increase Limerick’s Digital Capability aturity to “Level 3 Intermediate” by 2018 and “Level 4 Advanced” by 2020 through a suite of co-ordinated initiatives under the leadership of local council and its partners. For Limerick to reach an “Intermediate” level by 2018 the following capabilities need to be present
1. Multi-sector collaboration targeting digital education & access
2. Near real-time network sense & respond management
3. City data platform, data mash-ups from diverse sources
4. Integrated city-wide digital services platform, citizen feedback loops present
5. Managed use of city resources, informed city operations management
6. Collective Digital City vision, policies & resourcing
7. Quadruple helix initiatives are developed in some domains