What are the trends that could pre­vail in the medi­um term in the dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion of local gov­ern­ment? We’ve tak­en our crys­tal ball — and com­piled the top 5 for you.


Trend 1: Automation


It does­n’t mat­ter if it’s auto­mat­ic noti­fi­ca­tion of an impend­ing need for a pass­port exten­sion, or auto­mat­ic pay­ment of child ben­e­fit. Proac­tive ser­vices seem to be the future. Increas­ing­ly, admin­is­tra­tions will be able to process and analyse cit­i­zen data and extract rec­om­men­da­tions for action from it. In this way, the ser­vices offered can be tai­lored to the indi­vid­ual cit­i­zen, but it will also be pos­si­ble to recog­nise trends: demo­graph­ic devel­op­ments, for exam­ple. All this requires intel­li­gent man­age­ment of large amounts of data — and thus the use of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence or intel­li­gent process automation.


Trend 2: Smart city solu­tions for lean management


To con­serve resources. Who would be against that? Munic­i­pal­i­ties can save ener­gy and above all act sus­tain­ably by con­trol­ling the light­ing of car parks if nec­es­sary. Or by check­ing road salt con­sump­tion in snowy con­di­tions. Street main­te­nance, green spaces or garbage col­lec­tion — all these munic­i­pal ser­vices are increas­ing­ly sup­port­ed by smart city and com­mu­ni­ty solu­tions: sen­sors col­lect data and for­ward it to a cen­tral plat­form in the munic­i­pal­i­ty. There they are eval­u­at­ed and deci­sions are made on this basis. Specif­i­cal­ly: if vehi­cles secur­ing the streets in win­ter time dig­i­tal­ly record the routes they have tak­en, dupli­cate jour­neys will be avoid­ed. If sen­sors mea­sure CO2 con­cen­tra­tion, coun­ter­mea­sures can be tak­en quick­ly. And if a weak spot in the plumb­ing net­work is report­ed ear­ly, coun­ter­mea­sures can be tak­en before the dam­age becomes over­whelm­ing. A curi­ous side effect: The col­lect­ed data can be made avail­able to cit­i­zens if nec­es­sary, accord­ing to the prin­ci­ple of open data.


Trend 3: Cloud solutions


You save your­self the cost of keep­ing your own IT infra­struc­ture up-to-date, you are pro­tect­ed against cyber-attacks and you have web access to soft­ware with­out instal­la­tion. These are just some of the rea­sons why munic­i­pal admin­is­tra­tions are increas­ing­ly decid­ing to out­source their IT sys­tems to the cloud (Ger­many). As the increas­ing flow of data makes the man­age­ment of munic­i­pal IT infra­struc­ture more com­plex and risky, munic­i­pal author­i­ties will turn to out­sourc­ing offers. The pro­vi­sion of stan­dard­ised online ser­vices by pub­lic author­i­ties will be based on cloud tech­nolo­gies such as SaaS. In Octo­ber 2021, Ger­many’s fed­er­al states demand­ed in a sin­gle writ­ten state­ment: ‘Mod­ern pub­lic admin­is­tra­tion acts com­pe­tent­ly, quick­ly and accu­rate­ly. It uses the lat­est tech­nolo­gies that facil­i­tate the quick and easy analy­sis of avail­able data to make the best pos­si­ble deci­sions for cit­i­zens and uses appro­pri­ate high-end prod­ucts for this. All this is not pos­si­ble with­out cloud com­put­ing. We urgent­ly need our own cloud for gov­ern­ment needs with more secure sup­ply chains.”


Trend 4: Open Source Software


Open source soft­ware is gain­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty in Ger­many and Europe. In Ger­many, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has also com­mit­ted to the open source project. The hope: Less depen­dence on large IT com­pa­nies, more dig­i­tal sov­er­eign­ty in Ger­many and Europe, faster inno­va­tion cycles, opti­mal reuse and greater com­pat­i­bil­i­ty with exist­ing process­es. Because open source solu­tions have open inter­faces, data exchange is pos­si­ble with less tech­ni­cal effort. The hope is that this will encour­age com­pe­ti­tion between IT com­pa­nies. To the ben­e­fit of local author­i­ties — and to bet­ter serve citizens.


Trend 5: Dig­i­tal twins


How is the winds of change shift­ing as new build­ings are added to urban envi­ron­ments? How do we pro­ceed with a bomb found in dense­ly pop­u­lat­ed areas? How do you man­age traf­fic flows to avoid con­ges­tion? Which build­ings are inun­dat­ed in a flood? Where do urban heat islands form and where is the great­est poten­tial for solar ener­gy har­vest­ing? The answers to these ques­tions are becom­ing increas­ing­ly impor­tant, espe­cial­ly in terms of cli­mate pro­tec­tion and sus­tain­able munic­i­pal devel­op­ment. For this, reli­able fore­casts are need­ed. And this is pos­si­ble through accu­rate sim­u­la­tions. And so more and more dig­i­tal twins of cities, but also of medi­um-sized munic­i­pal­i­ties, will be cre­at­ed to iden­ti­fy devel­op­ment poten­tials or assess haz­ards. The basis is 3D mod­els of cities, through which deci­sion-mak­ers in munic­i­pal­i­ties will be able to car­ry out sim­u­la­tions and analyses.