eMacau – THE potential for Macau to become something else than just a Casino place

The eMacau project (an eGovernment initiative) has the potential for bringing Macau a major step forward in being recognized not just with its gambling industry, but also as a potential haven for IT and new technology companies. Jointly with the United Nations University International Institute for Software Technology (UNU-IIST), the Macau government has assessed and prepared an action plan several years ago (~2006). Since that time, the eMacau project has been quite and silent, with its website seldom reachable and most downloads password protected. Irrespective of the same, the plans of the eMacau project seem to be in a considerable conservative framework also due to the initial’s assessment of available and trained IT manpower in Macau.

The following projects have been started or initialised:

– EGOV Measurement
– Smart City
– EGOV4SD – Foundations
– E-Macao Support
– Government Enterprise Architecture Framework
– Government Information Sharing
– E-Macao Program Management
– IT Leadership and Coordination
– Capacity Building for e-Governance
– Knowledge Management for Government
– Government Portal
– Macao Data Exchange Gateway
– Citizen Relationship Management
– Service Formality Template System
– Strategic Information Technology Planning – Government Agencies
– Strategic Information Technology Planning – Whole of Government
– Strategic Alignment
– Knowledge Management
– Macao e-Government Events
– e-Macao Program Management
– Standards and Best Practices
– EGOV Software Infrastructure
– XML Schema Guide
– e-Macao Single Sign-On
– Citizen e-Government Survey

However, as per my opinion, the impact of the above mentioned projects is not far-reaching enough to enable Macau to make a major step forward. What can be seen at present is a natural evolution of old government structures utilizing ITC technologies to improve operations and work flows. The major impetus, the major impact, the thing that makes both citizens and other governments world-wide over say “wow!” is missing.

Macau has the one decisive factor that decides upon success and failure of most projects: money. With the gambling industry providing the necessary incomes, and the size of citizens and government agencies relatively small and contained, it should be possible to enable ground-breaking steps similar to the impact an Education City (Qatar) can have.

Personally speaking, I believe that Macau could implement an extended version of the above mentioned “e-Macao Single Sign-On” project and not just providing an unique identifier for each citizen to use web-services, but going on step further and attributing a dedicated IPv6  address to each citizen with a dedicated government website for each person. This page would be the single page to address all government services, receive all government messages and could also be a certified mail address for official communication.

Think even one step further and prepare an API for said unique web service and issue the API to banks, insurance companies, embassies and other institutions of major impact in daily life. For many transactions, e.g. opening bank accounts, purchasing insurances, applying visas, etc., documents and proofs are required, that could be easily stored on one personal official website. Similar to how Facebook grants newspapers access to your contact details, a government sponsored website can grant bank and schools access to your birth certificate.

Think even one step ahead and implicate the online website – your personal IPv6 address – as your digital representation and with an open API modules of other websites could be linked into your website, similar to Apps in Facebook that can enable you to make a presentable website for the external world. Granting you the single access for official matters and being your representative voice in the digital world, showing those things you want others to see (be it your Last.fm radio list or your Flickr account).

Think one step further ahead and instead of a passport number you will only be issued with you IPv6 address. Unique, truly yours and never changing. If a Macau citizen tomorrow could stand up and proclaim his IPv6 address to the embassy for visa application, then everybody else would just say “wow!”.

Having said the above and acknowledging the far-reaching and think tank-like approach of this idea, it is not impossible to implement, but rather a dedicated and unique project to be overseen by competent project managers with intensive knowledge about IT  and government procedures.

To be continued …

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