São Paulo Mayor outlines smart city plan

João Doria Jr pledges to improve efficiency of public services provision and security with the introduction of technology
Written by Angelica Mari, Contributing Writer

The Mayor of São Paulo has outlined his smart city vision for South America's largest city, which includes digitizing public services provision and enhancing public security through the use of technology.

João Doria Jr presented his plans to delegates yesterday (6) at CIAB, a financial services technology event held by the Brazilian Banking Federation in São Paulo.

"We aim to make São Paulo a global capital, not a province - and that includes making it a digital city," Doria said.

"The first task to make that happen is reduce bureaucracy. Public services provision will be completely digital - you will no longer see paper, stamps and all that," the Mayor pledged, adding that citizen services will be fully online by December 2018.

"People will no longer have to physically be there to ask for any kind of service as they will be able to request what they need via their computer or smartphone."

Reducing cost and bureaucracy

Doria mentioned some other digital deliverables since taking over the Mayor's office in January. These initiatives are led by a newly-created role of secretary of innovation and technology.

Such projects include the digitization of the city government's official gazette. This, according to the Mayor, has generated savings of 10 million reais ($3 million) to the city a year.

"This is an example of a small but very objective initiative, which saves not only a significant amount of money but also physical resources. Other cities are now digitizing their official newspapers too."

Another project presented by Doria is the introduction of digital processes geared at those who want to start a business. Currently, according to the Mayor, it takes 128 days to register a company in São Paulo and a current pilot whereby the process is done digitally will enable companies to be up and running within a week.

"We want to bring that timescale down to five days and then, by May 2018, people in São Paulo will be able to register a company within two days," Doria said.

Improving public security

A rollout of 10,000 surveillance cameras was also presented as an ongoing project of the Doria administration as a means to improve public security. The cameras are linked to Detecta, a monitoring system provided by Microsoft used by São Paulo's military police.

Some 1560 cameras have already been installed in areas of high crime levels, the Mayor said. "São Paulo will be best-monitored city in Latin America by the end of my term," Doria added.

Doria has also claimed to have introduced five drones to support police surveillance of high-crime areas in association with two Chinese manufacturers, Dahua and DJI Phantom. "These are high-quality drones worth 350,000 reais ($106,670) with high-resolution cameras, these are not toys," Doria said.

The previous administration had already been using drones in other projects, such as detecting areas that might be infested with the mosquito aedes aegypti, which transmits the zika virus.

Another pledge presented to the audience by Doria is to eliminate blackboards in the city's public schools and replace them with tablets by next year.

"We will obviously need to train teachers and governors to ensure they are enabled to use tech to improve children's quality of life and learning processes," the Mayor said.

Doria, a businessman turned politician, said he has been "working closely" with the technology supplier community to back his smart city vision.

One such company is Cisco, commended as a key supporter to the current administration that has so far donated 300 million reais ($91 million) to the city to go towards the digitization in schools.

"It is the largest donation to the city of São Paulo in history, without any payback [to Cisco]. It is also a token of trust that what we are doing is right," Doria said.

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