The great need of innovation through digitization in the public, as well as in the private sector, was and remains a serious driving force in this segment and the Government is already making efforts to introduce digitization in the public sector. These are just some of the conclusions from the second public event in the series "Digital Challenges for Social Transformation", organized by Institute for Good Governance and Euro-Atlantic Perspectives (IDUEP) in collaboration with the Fund for Innovation and Technology Development (FITD).
The Director of FITD pointed out that digitization is a process that simplifies people’s life and allows them to change society and daily life habits, and announced a public call for digitization of municipal services.
“We’ve entered the phase of talks with a serious international institution to organize a special public call so that creative citizens can propose concrete solutions for very specific processes within the local self-government such as permit application etc. This will reduce the queues in front of the institutions, which is beneficial during the pandemic caused by Covid-19, but it will also save people’s time," Despotovski announced. The Fund has already supported some concrete solutions in digitization of services in public administration
“One example of a successful model for digitization in the public sector that FITD has made for the needs of the Ministry of Transport and Communications was the approach in which the institution itself and the software users expressed their needs, whereas the Macedonian IT companies developed technical solutions. In the end, the solution cost 30 percent less compared to the amount paid 12 years ago, and very soon the final product is expected to start working, "said Jovan Despotovski, the Director of the FITD.
The term innovation in recent years has become very accessible and understandable to all citizens and is no longer something that we believe can happen only outside our country. There are hundreds of such examples supported by FITD.
“Digitization is not an abstract term, practically it means simplifying citizens' access to public sector service. Better service and control, and respect for the time and health of citizens, avoiding queues in front of public institutions. Digitization means that each of us can get a birth certificate in 15 or 30 minutes, without bringing someone coffee or a box of chocolates. This is just one example," Despotovski said
The project "Novapark", which is financially supported by FITD, is a smart parking solution that collects and displays real data from the parking lots, such as the number of free parking spaces, hourly parking price and parking statistics, said Daniela Smilkovska, Project Manager at Mak Alarm, a Macedonian company implementing the project.
“Our project enables real-time check of free parking spaces in the parking lots that will be connected to the system. Through the mobile application that we developed, the user can make electronic payment from their mobile device. We are already negotiating the commercialization of our project with several municipalities and a shopping center in our country," explained Smilkovska.
She pointed out that their software offers an opportunity to fully digitalize the parking industry in the country.
"The usage of Novapark in public parking lots, offers the option of the cameras detecting a vehicle parked on the sidewalk, the system photographs it and sends information to the authorities of a vehicle with specific license plates, parked incorrectly. Therefore, we specifically enter into the part of institutional interoperability and practical digitalization, since such information is immediately available to the Ministry of Interior where a penalty can be automatically generated for the negligent driver. At the same time, the information reaches the appropriate authority which removes the vehicle," said Project Manager Smilkovska.
“If we want to build an advanced society, the stake is digitalization”, said Bojan Kordalov, PR expert and coordinator of Transparency and Digitization Program from the Institute for Good Governance and Euro-Atlantic Perspectives (IDUEP)
“During this period we all talk a lot about digitization, but it is necessary to undertake projects and activities that will provide benefit for all. Digitization means no crowds at the counters, in markets and shops, better education and health, more earnings for all, especially for the younger generation. It is important that we talked about specific projects that are going to be implemented rapidly, such as the "smart" parking, but also about the initiative of IDUEP accepted by FITD to support the process of digitization of services at the local level”, said Kordalov.
According to Kordalov, the support for the process given by public officials must become a rule in the functioning of the state and the new "normality".
“Digitization is no longer a choice, but an obligation of all countries and societies that are focused on providing better services to citizens and progress. Today, in the era of the coronavirus, it is an investment in protecting the health of our citizens. So, we must show that it is necessary to unite all political and social actors in the field of digitization, i.e. building a national and nonparty platform in this area”.