With the digital technology revolution, our society moved from the age of the PC to the Internet, and then to mobile. ICT is now facing a new paradigm shift.
A new, sharing economy is emerging and is fueled by higher degrees of open data, collaboration and citizen involvement. Simultaneously, citizens’ needs and expectations are evolving, particularly in regards to welfare, education, employment and the environment.
In the midst of such technological development, economic evolution and social changes, what will e-government look like in the future?
Let‘s take a look now!
1. Change to Digital Society
A new hyper-connected, convergence society is rapidly emerging. The Internet of things is a catalyst in this process, as it allows people and objects to connect seamlessly and without any restrictions.
An outcome of this pervasive connectivity is more user-friendly and efficient government services, which leads to greater comfort and convenience for citizens.
Even in areas that are difficult to forecast or control, governments can now respond to issues more intelligently and promptly.
New information and communication technologies, such as IoT, cloud, big data and mobile are at the heart of these services.
Statistics show that with the spread of IoT, the number of objects connected to each person has increased and will continue to do so.
Cloud-based services allow users to conveniently access content and services they want on various mobile devices.
Therefore, as citizens utilize the cloud more frequently, communities will experience increased productivity, greater convenience, more efficiency and reduced resource consumption.
Big data has dramatically improved citizens' everyday lives.
Examples range from things like public health alert services, to decreasing the amount of time citizens spend in traffic.
With the data processing capacity of businesses emerging as a key source of competitiveness and the core of ICT competitiveness moving from infrastructure to data, the big data market has continued to grow at a rapid rate.
Many countries now use mobile means for communication between the government and citizens. These means are most commonly used for G4C service, delivery of situational information and public elections.
The mobile market is expanding and evolving from ‘Mobile First’ to ‘Mobile Only’.
Part of this change involves mobile devices becoming wearable.
As a by-product of the hyper-connected convergence trend, the global economy is also evolving to fully embrace the sharing economy.
When the sharing economy becomes part of our daily lives, more businesses will capitalize on the opportunity to use resources and services efficiently.
Even though there has been significant technology development and economic growth, citizens are not as satisfied or happy as they could be.
This is, in part, because their standard of living and expectations for a better life have increased.
However, higher expectations can lead to positive activism of citizens including civil journalism through social media and the emergence of 'cresumers' who create new values based on their personalities and creativity.
Thanks to technology development in the hyper-connected environment, the number of cresumers is increasing.
Sometimes, they can even provide clues for solving difficult social issues, which the government may not have been able to resolve using its own methods.
These cresumers actively engage in social activities.
As the hyper-connected digital environment continues to grow, cresumers’ role as the new type of consumers will expand. This means citizen-led social change will have an even greater impact.
2. New ICT and human-oriented future e-Government
As we have seen, ICT development causes positive economic and social changes, and based on these changes, we can better forecast what the future e-government will look like.
First of all, the future e-government will provide creative public services based on IoT.
In a society where everything is connected through IoT, new and innovative services will be developed.
These services will significantly transform our lives and contribute to a new social foundation. With every device being connected and “smart”, contextual recognition will become possible. Since contextual recognition will produce massive amounts of data more opportunities to utilize this data and create added-value service will arise.
As the portfolio of connected objects expands and the frequency of connectivity increases, the public service area that connects the virtual and real world will grow.
This is because the IoT data can be harnessed and analyzed to provide many different social and cultural services.
Using the large quantities of historical data IoT will provide personalized services, enable predictive analytics, enhance optimal decision-making capabilities, and improve social and economic systems.
In the area of natural disaster safety, we provide a service to forecast landslides or other disasters using IoT technology. Residents are immediately notified if any unusual signs are detected.
The Ministry of Public Safety and Security has developed a system that collects real-time information using cutting-edge sensors and CCTVs. This system detects any significant changes to the earth's surface or buildings in danger of collapse. The system also uses both wired and wireless communication to collect and transport data.
A public official in charge of disaster management monitors the site on a real-time basis and delivers updates if any signs of danger are found. Then information is relayed to residents in the area through on-site emergency broadcasting, SMS or the disaster alert mobile application. Residents can then make informed decisions about evacuations and personal safety.
Second, the future e-government will be built upon a cloud-based, intelligent environment for government-wide collaboration.
Cloud computing integrates hardware, software, data and other information resources together and enables them be shared online between individuals and organizations.
It is considered the key component for future e-government.
The future e-government will integrate various government information resources into cloud-computing, achieve sharing and collaboration with other government organizations and support finding solutions to national issues by using the integrated data.
Cloud technology will also serve as a catalyst for converging services of the public and private sectors. When a cloud platform is established, various platforms and services developed by the private sector will be applied in public services.
It will also be possible for the private sector to take the initiative and develop services using public data.
Korea plans to transform the siloed and scattered systems for each data and resource type to a government-wide, integrated and open system in the cloud. It plans to establish a future-oriented cloud government where policy-related data and records are shared.
In the future-oriented cloud government, public officials can share information and collaborate with each other more conveniently. They will be able to store work data in the cloud, and all members of the department or organization can share and use the data without barriers, instead of having to store data on personal computers.
It will allow public officials to make prompt decisions and handle their work on site using mobile devices like tablets. Among the 1,233 e-government systems, we plan to bring 740, or about 60%, onto G-cloud by 2017. We expect the construction and operation cost savings to total 330 billion won.
Third, the future e-government will be able to offer scientific services by using big data.
As more and more people use the Internet and adopt smart device technology, the amount of user data produced will grow. Therefore, the government will be able to develop nation-wide strategies and scientific policies based on real-time data analysis.
Big data will enable the establishment of a more systematic approach to administration. In addition to the big data system, an ICT-based response system will foster higher degrees of sharing between government ministries.
Here are some examples of public services that use big data. Seoul Metropolitan City needed a reasonable method to eliminate transportation inconveniences caused by taxis refusing to take passengers late at night, a lack of transportation means for late-night workers and high transportation fares. Therefore, Seoul Metropolitan City joined hands with the telecom provider KT, and launched late-night bus routes covering the whole city. These routes were developed utilizing the objective information stored in big data.
Implementing new bus routes based on data analysis, instead of opinions of passengers or bus operators, is a clear example of utilizing an objective and systematic approach to solving a major problem.
The National Health Insurance Service of Korea also developed an impactful solution using big data analysis. It forecasted the risk levels of epidemic diseases, similar to a weather forecast.
This enables healthcare services to focus on awareness and preventative care. Korea is now able to forecast major infectious diseases and help organizations and citizens prepare for and prevent outbreaks.
Fourth, the future e-government will provide interconnection, integration and communication services using mobile devices and platforms.
In this mobile age, government organizations and public institutions are accelerating their mobile service development. It became difficult to satisfy the citizens' demands with outdated, PC-based services.
Mobile has become the most effective means to enhance communication between the government and citizens, as well as increase government work efficiency.
Mobile enables seamless connectivity to many services such as the government portal, the personnel management system, the administrative service processing system or the integrated G4C service system, from anywhere and at anytime.
Such development of mobile technology has changed how government and citizens communicate with each other. Communication used to be indirect and limited, but now, via mobile technology, communication has become direct and open through social media or applications.
The technological evolution is also requiring a huge change in the way government operates. Mobile offers new possibilities and methods for finding solutions to unresolved problems which previously had not been available.
Let’s look at an example of a problem-solving case using mobile.
Even though smart phones and vehicle black boxes are widespread, there are still cases where critical information about crimes or accidents are lost or are unable to be collected.
To solve this problem, the National Police Agency has developed the 'Citizen-participatory witness information sharing system'. With this system and through the mobile application, citizens are able to easily report witness information or share evidence videos about traffic accidents or crime incidents. The police can then actively use the reported information for investigations.
The collected photos or videos are interconnected with the Traffic Cop Information Management System (TCS) and Korea Information System of Criminal-Justice Service (KICS) within the National Policy Agency, and provide helpful clues for cases.
Now, let’s look at an example of government and citizen communication on mobile. The Ministry of the Interior has introduced a mobile program where citizens can share their ideas and even vote on certain policy decisions.
With this mobile platform, citizens are fully engaged in the policy-making process. This program outlines the current issues and reflects the voice of citizens in policy-making.
As an example, participant opinions were requested through mobile devices regarding whether or not to expand public smoking bans. If so, in what areas and how should these areas be chosen? Once the requests were input, participants went through evaluations and suggested policies that gave shape to 'banning smoking in the streets'.
Fifth, the future e-government will provide services customized to an individual’s lifestyle.
Governments will innovate service delivery methods by anticipating the services that their citizens need. This will enable them to reach out and meet those needs. With these 'outreach services' the government engages with citizens and offers services and information when they need them, instead of citizens having to find services for themselves.
For example, the government pre-fills forms like the application for unemployment benefits, application for basic living allowances and year-end tax adjustment papers. They then offer them to citizens so they only need to confirm the information. This way, government services have been personalized to each income class and lifestyle. These services can be provided in the areas of welfare, employment, education, tax and SMEs.
In addition, an integrated information system will be established where citizens can check information on welfare services and maximize their benefits. This system will also provide air pollution alerts in advance so citizens can be prepared. By expanding private sector participation and big data use, the government can guarantee the best care and service for all of its citizens.
One example is the Ministry of Environment's air pollution forecast service. Using the website or a smart phone application called 'Air Korea', users can check how polluted the air around them is on a real-time basis. This service provides information in advance to the elderly, people with respiratory problems and school parents who highly value the information for their health and convenience.
Another example is the Military Manpower Administration's outreach program. Instead of visiting the Military Manpower Administration, users only need to file complaints or requests on the website. Public officials then deal with the issues on-site. By joining efforts, users can expect to enjoy a more customized and convenient, high quality service.
Following the industrial and information revolutions, the hyper-connectivity revolution is now emerging. The future e-government, armed with new ICT, will open a new human-oriented society based on innovation and creativity.
The ministry of the interior launched e-government 2020 initiative as an attempt to solve complex social issues, respond to rapidly changing ICT environment and prepare for future e-government.
The 2020 initiative will realize vision “Enjoy Your e-Government” through citizen experience services, intelligent government and sustainable digital new deal. For the future e-government to be sustainable, the government should challenge social barriers and discover new markets and economic opportunities.
Korea's e-government will continue to make efforts to improve not only its own systems, but it will also seek to impact and influence global e-government development.