Richmond’s Digital Strategy boosts customer service
13 October 2016
Richmond residents can now get free Wi-Fi at more than 20 civic locations, access aerial photography and more than 100 layers of local geographic and infrastructure information or choose from dozens of new or improved e-services, thanks to the City’s innovative Digital Strategy.
“Easy and quick access to information and services are demanded by today’s consumers,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “They can do transactions and access information from anywhere, at any time online and they’re demanding that their government be just as responsive. Our Digital Strategy is making dozens of service innovations to ensure our citizens and staff are equally well-served both in person and online.”
A key Digital Strategy initiative is expanding local Wi-Fi access. More than 20 City or City affiliated sites now offer free public Wi-Fi. Three new civic Wi-Fi sites went live in late September, including the Watermania aquatic centre, Steveston Martial Arts Centre and Steveston Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre. Another 14 sites will be added in the coming year. A full list of sites offering City Wi-Fi access can be found at: http://www.richmond.ca/services/city-services/wifimap.
This past summer, the City revamped its Geographic Information System (GIS) using new technology which provides access to aerial photography and more than 100 layers of information from street maps to property information and features, locations of important civic services and infrastructure and much more. The new system is more user friendly, provides a faster response time, and is accessible from a computer, tablet or phone. Also this summer, the City began digitizing many forms and maps associated with development permits, eliminating the need for large volumes of paper documents and making those documents accessible online.
In September, the City introduced credit card payment for property taxes and utility fees, broadening the payment options for property owners. This benefits thousands of customers who have previously chosen to line up at City Hall to pay their taxes in person, due to limitations in being able to use their credit cards for these transactions. Other recent innovations include the Child Care Finder, which helps parents locate Richmond child care facilities; iBeacon self-guided tours for mobile users of Steveston’s Japanese-Canadian history and Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site; and the Online Museum Collection, which provides digital images of 2,100 Richmond museum artefacts.
New innovations coming soon include an upgraded version of the RichmondBC mobile app with expanded service features and a new online Customer Profile that will eventually allow users to customize their online interactions with the City and access a multitude of services and databases through a single, secure entry point.
A Digital Strategy Status update report was presented to Richmond City Council this week, highlighting more than three dozen other new initiatives that support goals to expand City online services; expand community connectivity; extend mobility for staff; integrate and connect City infrastructure; and promote open and transparent government. The full report can be found at http://www.richmond.ca/agendafiles/Open_Council_10-11-2016.pdf.