We live in a world of change
We live in a world of change. Many of the changes are driven by technology. It is in society’s interest that we embrace technology and shape the future of our city in a way that improves quality of life for citizens and creates opportunity through job creation.
Dublin City Council and successive Lord Mayors have worked for some time to deliver a smart economy and smart society in our capital city. We have worked with our sister Local Authorities to extend and achieve these goals across the Dublin region. Dublin is an Open City, welcoming and embracing individuals of different nationalities and cultures. Openness to new people and new ideas is an essential pre-requisite of innovation.
Much of the contemporary innovation in our city is technology-reliant. This is why we talk of shaping our digital future, of one where digital technologies are used to improve the way we live, work, connect with and enjoy Dublin.
The Digital Masterplan for Dublin is a roadmap that will help us shape that digital future. It is designed with an inherent flexibility to allow us to change direction, constantly rethinking our journey towards the ultimate Digital City. It sets out a framework for action that can help city leaders prioritise the use of scarce resources.
The Masterplan identifies 7 big-ticket actions that must be delivered if Dublin is to become the ultimate Digital City:
Big Ticket #1 – Fibre To Every Home by Easter 2016
Fast, reliable and cost-competitive broadband infrastructure is critical for any smart city region. The broadband offering in the Dublin region clearly needs to be dramatically improved to reflect the importance of the capital city and its hinterland as an ICT hub of European and global significance.
The only broadband delivery technology sufficiently developed to provide the room for the likely bandwidth growth patterns in the region is fibre. Fibre rollout should be prioritised within the City Region. The market must be incentivised to invest in Dublin to guarantee full fibre-optic coverage. This plan proposes that a minimum of 100Mb symmetrical broadband be delivered into every home in the Dublin region by 2016 using Fibre.
Big Ticket #2 – Digital Accelerator District
While there are excellent incubators around the city Dublin lacks a single ‘go-to’ point for Digital Acceleration that is of a large enough scale for a city with such a tech profile.
Dublin needs a new Digital Accelerator District (DAD) which will be of the appropriate scale to localise and link ideas, innovation, skills, talent, mentoring capabilities and finance. In order to incentivise the accelerated growth of viable digital businesses is it proposed to break the space within the DAD into 3 zones and to provide business rates incentivisation across those 3 zones.
Fledgling businesses will be actively expected to move through the DAD zones or they will lose their discounts and ultimately their place in the DAD.
Big Ticket #3 – Maximizing Local Supply Chains to Multi-National Corporations (MNCs)
Dublin has attracted a large number of high-end MNCs into the region but integration of indigenous SMEs into MNC supply chains has been very limited.
We will partner with the SME representative organisations (eg. ISME, IIA, SFA, Chamber of Commerce) to develop a web based portal for Dublin-based multi-nationals to auction packages of digital/innovation/R&D work to the local SME market.
Big Ticket #4 – The Dublin Storefront and Shop Window
The Irish Internet Association and the City/County Enterprise Boards have been active for some years in this area. Recent work under the “Activating Dublin” initiative of the Chamber of Commerce will provide a toolkit that could become a standard for getting Dublin/Irish SMEs trading successfully online or expanding their current online presence.
There is a need to build on this work and to create an eCommerce and digital adoption support platform that will particularly target business in the non ICT sector such as Food & Accommodation; Construction and small start-ups. These are businesses that just need to plug-in and get going. They are also businesses that could reduce cost and improve efficiency by developing digital back office driven processes, e-procurement and use of digital technology in terms of customer and financial management.
Big Ticket #5 – Digital Sister Cities Virtual Network
This will be a new network targeted at Sister Cities committed to international collaboration around digital society, economy and innovation. It will provide a means to connect civic government, businesses, education and innovators globally. It will be supported by a portal that combines web and social media tools with events/information and project partner search across the participating cities.
Dublin will internationalise, through this web based portal, the Beta Project concept in its sister cities so that testing ideas can be shared and testing realised across like-minded sister cities. The Digital Maturity Scorecard (DMS) will be shared with sister cities and will be a first step in the standardisation of international digital benchmarking. This in turn will allow cities to put in place realistic targets and adopt processes and technologies borrowed from each other.
Big Ticket #6 – Available as Digital
Dublin City Council is committed to ensuring that all services are available in digital format. As part of this initiative to go digital by default and as part of the drive to create a Digital Commonage the Masterplan will develop and adopt a set of ‘Digital Design Principles.’ These will be similar to the Government Digital Services UK (GDS) design principles (https://www.gov.uk/designprinciples).
Big Ticket #7 – Dedicated programme to expand digital co-creation skills and experience
This will involve a commitment by Local and National Government complemented by Business Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to establish programmes to support the development of co-creation skills in communities, government organisations, young people and adults. Modelled on Code for America it would be Code for Dublin releasing expertise and building on the current commitment evident in initiatives such as CoderDojo.
At the heart of all our action is a commitment to collaborate with business, higher education and citizens.
We launched this Masterplan as Dublin welcomed technology leaders, policy makers and activists from throughout Europe to a Digital Assembly under the Irish EU Presidency. European institutions have a key role to play in pushing the frontiers of research and establishing a progressive legal and regulatory framework for a digital society and economy. Irish National Government equally must address critical issues of regulation, policy and funding around the challenges of digital society and economy.
The Masterplan is a challenge agenda. It challenges national government and local government to keep Dublin ahead of the curve in moving towards a digital future. It challenges business and education to create the eco system in which innovation can thrive. It challenges citizens to participate more fully in our democracy using digital technology. It is a roadmap that can only be realised when we act, individually and collectively.
Naoise Ó Muirí
Former Lord Mayor of Dublin
Managing Director Zing Technology