AventiaNews January 2013
08/01/2013 |
We need to go from Electronic Government to Efficient Government through new technology
Borja Adsuara, CEO at Red.es
 
Borja Adsuara Red.esWhat are the main areas Red.es is working in? What high-level challenges have you flagged as goals to be achieved?

Our three challenges, which are also shared by this Government, are jobs for people, competitiveness for companies and efficiency for government. These challenges are linked to three strategic areas: shared services, public-private partnerships and internationalisation.


One of the main areas that Red.es operates in involves the public authorities delivering shared services, which is particularly important in the search for efficiency improvements at both the national and regional level. What are you working on in this respect? What are you planning to do?

That’s right. Here at Red.es we help with the efficient delivery of electronic public services and shared e-government services so that public spending cuts do not lead to reductions in public services. That’s because new technology can help us to be more efficient in the provision of these services: we need to go from Electronic Government to Efficient Government. Red.es seeks to serve society and has demonstrated its worth as a support agency for both the national government and its regional counterparts in ICT projects. We want to be a kind of “housekeeper” for Ministries, helping in the design, commissioning and implementation, in conjunction with the private sector, of new online public services and shared e-government services (which come under the remit of the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration).




Education has always been one of the areas to which Red.es has dedicated a lot of time and investment in a number of programmes over the years. Recently the Ministry of Education announced its intention to modernise Spain’s education system through building ICT into teaching, extra studies and learning support. What is Red.es’s role in this change?

The effective integration of ICT in education requires equipment and connectivity for users, teacher training and digital resources and services. To ensure that investment in these areas actually does lead to improvements in education, schools and colleges delivering teaching and learning services need to build ICT into their education plans. To date we have made significant investments in equipment and connectivity, in teacher training and in developing educational digital content and services. However, we also need to drive some sectors of the industry and connect supply and demand between the industry and schools as ICT integrators, and we are working on that.


Another emerging development area is smart management of cities by sponsoring programmes that use technology to help improve people’s quality of life. How does Red.es view the growing number of initiatives being put in place by local councils across the country to turn their towns into smart cities? How does Red.es help towards that?

We are facing a challenge, a new world scenario in which 75% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas by 2050. So at the State Secretariat for Telecommunications and the Information Society (SETSI) and Red.es we are already working on building a genuine network of smart cities. In this respect I think that new technology needs to help us to improve our quality of life, because technology is not an end in itself but rather should be geared towards a new concept of society in which people are the decisive component. As a result smart cities feature heavily in the Digital Agenda for Spain which we are working on at the moment.

I would also like to note that FUNDETEC, which is a Red.es investee, has taken on the duties of Technical Office of the Spanish Network of Smart Cities (RECI), and it is already active in the coordination and communication of the Network and convening its meetings and in its committees and working groups.


In the same line of improving performance for the public, what is Red.es doing to enable relations between the public and government to be managed more efficiently?

Since 2006 we have been working closely with the Ministry of Justice and regional governments to move towards paperless administration through the following courses of action:
• Applications and services that provide the groundwork for moving towards the new Services Register Office.
• Implementation of these applications in order to effectively build ICT into the procedural framework and Register Office.
• Developing information systems that cater for the needs of the new organisational and procedural models.
• Upgrading register operations in those regions which do not have powers in the field of Justice.
We are also working in the really important area of health on the Online Health Programme (the result of our partnership with the Ministry of Health and the health departments of the regional governments) which supports the computerisation of public health centres so that the regions can deliver online administrative (online appointments, changing doctors, asking for tests, etc.) and clinical (electronic prescriptions, electronic medical history, telemedicine, etc.) services to the public and health service staff alike.

As for e-government, we do more than just automate administrative processes and develop electronic products and services. It involves a new conception of the relationship with the public, businesses and institutions together with process reengineering, and out of all the things we are doing I would especially emphasize the following:
• Enabling people to access all town planning information online, thus enhancing transparency in public management of the town planning sector.
• Providing a common, standardised and secure mechanism for electronic payment of charges and taxes.
• Setting up a register to record the powers of representation that people and companies give to others to act on their behalf electronically with the national government and its agencies.
• Electronically interconnecting register offices in the 060 Network, managing the exchange of register entries.
• And of course the electronic ID card so that people can carry out procedures online with secure identification, meaning they won’t have to go to the police station, queue up, etc.

The new Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and Technological Innovation Promotion Plan is to drive investment and job creation in the digital world. Against this backdrop, what impact will the rollout of 4G have on the country’s economy?

We are working on several projects in fixed and mobile high-capacity infrastructure which have an important regulatory dimension which is dealt with by the State Secretariat for Telecommunications and the Information Society. The Spanish Digital Agenda is to give top priority to this issue and we will be looking to remove obstacles to the rollout of telecommunications infrastructure and the rollout of ultra-fast broadband networks in Spain. So in no time at all instead of 4G we will be talking about the Internet of the Future, which will bring us more powerful and easy-to-use applications, ultra wideband, augmented reality, etc.

Another of Red.es’s goals is internationalisation. This lever is discussed in many forums as an essential factor for the survival of many Spanish companies. How can Red.es help companies who are thinking about starting up abroad?

Red.es has an Internationalisation Plan for technology companies which is part of the Digital Content Industry Promotion Plan 2011-2015. It has been mapped out and is being implemented in partnership with ICEX in order to give a further boost to the presence of this kind of companies abroad.

The initiative is addressed to companies in all digital services and content sectors (audiovisual, music, interactive digital entertainment, animation, mobile content, social media, advertising, publications, etc.), e-commerce and other related sectors such as payment methods, rights management, privacy, e-learning, e-health, etc. To achieve these objectives, Red.es is working in the following areas:
• Holding seminars focused on the industry and markets together with the right methods for making sure they work properly.
• Running technology missions aimed at key markets including trip preparation, advice, business agendas and networking in the destination country (Silicon Valley, Sćo Paulo)
• Supporting companies looking to set up in Silicon Valley through the SpainTech Center in partnership with ICEX and the Banesto Foundation.

The other major field that https<.//www.red.es works in is sponsoring public-private partnership programmes. What projects do you have underway in this respect? What areas would you highlight as future drivers of PPPs?

Above and beyond the savings made by sharing services and private sector funding which provides a public-private partnership model that we are already using with several companies, in Spain we have companies that are very good at doing things in e-government, e-health, DTT, modernising the system of justice, etc. That’s why people come from other countries to see what we are doing. So we could add a source of financing if Red.es and ICEX can use the same public-private partnership model to mentor the companies that helped develop these technology services, aiming to replicate the model in these foreign markets. We are putting all our efforts into this at the moment.

Data security and protection is fundamental in all these areas we have discussed. What is the role of Red.es, and in particular INTECO, in ensuring security for government, businesses and the public?

The involvement of Red.es through INTECO in buttressing confidence in the digital environment is a key factor to promote the development of business and social activity and relations between the public, businesses and government over the Internet. I would also like to underline that the main measures proposed by the Spanish Digital Agenda in this respect are about strengthening INTECO as a centre of excellence in digital confidence, running awareness and training schemes, and establishing capabilities for ongoing monitoring and diagnosis of digital confidence.

Finally, I would also mention other ways in which INTECO together with Red.es does its bit in educating about the (proper) use of the Internet:
• Since 2009 INTECO has been running the Internet User Security Office (OSI – www.osi.es) as the government internet security centre to provide help and support to users and Internet users facing security problems and incidents.
• Since 2006 it has also operated the Information Security Monitoring Centre (http://observatorio.inteco.es) as a unit which produces a continuous diagnosis of the state of information security, privacy and confidence in information society services in Spain on the part of the public, businesses and public authorities.
• The INTECO website (www.inteco.es) also features guides, manuals, studies, indicators, multimedia content, etc. for users that will help parents, children, educators, researchers, etc. to achieve a better and deeper understanding of the Internet.


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