Petar Ilievski Petar Ilievski Moderator

European eGovernment Awards Winners 2009!

The European eGovernment Awards is a European Commission initiative organised every two years. The aim is to identify and select good practices in the use of ICT in public services and highlight the benefits of ICT to society, including:

*Improved quality of life of citizens
*Increased public trust in government
*Increased competitiveness of European enterprises

The awards stimulate innovation and shared learning by identifying and promoting good practices. The focus of the European eGovernment Awards is in line with the strategic goals of the “i2010 - A European Information Society for Growth and Employment” initiative and other European Commission initiatives for the development of an information society for all. The awards also support the http://www.epractice.eu good practice exchange initiative.

Whether local, regional, national or cross-border, every single case and experience can show how ICT can improve service delivery to citizens and businesses across Europe.

The finalists and winners of the European eGovernment Awards are be selected by a panel of eminent independent experts.

Last year`s winners of the 4th European eGovernment Awards were announced in an award ceremony that took place at the 5th Ministerial eGovernment Conference on 19 November 2009.

The winners for 2009 are:

* Category 1. eGovernment supporting the Single Market: EU-OPA, the European Order for Payment Application (Austria and Germany)
* Category 2a. eGovernment empowering citizens: Genvej (Denmark)

* Category 2b. eGovernment empowering businesses: MEPA, the Public Administration eMarketplace (Italy)

* Category 3. eGovernment enabling administrative efficiency and effectiveness: Licensing of Hunters via the “Multibanco” ATM Network (Portugal)

* Public prize: SMS Information System (Turkey)

Source:http://www.epractice.eu

Petar Ilievski Petar Ilievski Moderator

Telecoms market in Central and Eastern Europe

The telecommunications markets in Central and Eastern European countries matured and evolved in recent years. Key trends visible in Western Europe, e.g. fixed-to-mobile substitution, development of mobile broadband can also be observed in the CEE region.

One of the major trends in the telecoms industry in the CEE region, which is expected to continue in the upcoming years, is the increasing popularity of bundled services. Although bundled packages are in CEE at much lower levels than in western markets, they are slated to grow at a fast pace in the CEE region over the next four years. A strong demand for bundled services is seen especially in Hungary and Romania.

Multi-play (usually double- and triple-play) services are usually sold by CaTV operators who recently have placed a strong pressure on traditional telecoms and have been dynamically increasing their IP telephony customer base. Another effect of the convergence is an increased interest of mobile operators in the fixed-line market (so-called “home zone services”), as well as the promotion of their mobile internet access services.

The mobile telephony market has already reached its peak in the CEE region. Last year proved that mobile operators in the CEE region were most often focused on taking advantage of the already existing customer base rather than on artificially inflating it. Mobile density levels at the end of 2009 were most often well above 110%, while the overall penetration in the CEE region, as measured by the combined number of SIM cards, hit 128%. Actually the only exception is Slovakia where the mobile penetration rate is one of the lowest in Europe. Presently to a great extent a decrease or increase in the number of SIM cards depends on the policy regarding the removal of inactive SIM cards adopted by the operators themselves.

Due to further declines in prices, new offers and the UMTS network’s expanding coverage, the number of wireless internet access modems shot up. Additionally, the number of users taking advantage of the wireless internet within their pay-monthly deals for voice services as well as within a pre-paid scheme is also on the rise.
Interestingly the MVNO market has been so far very slow in the entire CEE region except for Poland, where a number of players debuted, with various results, on the market. Still, in all the countries, except for Ukraine, the MVNO revenues account for a minuscule part of the telecommunications market value. MVNOs’ results are not encouraging. The market saw first failures and go-outs from the business. However, relatively low investment costs starting at approx. €300,000 annually entice potential new entrants. The investment expenditure depends on the MVNO’s services model as well as the intended spending on company’s own infrastructure and software
The telecoms branch is not an isolate island and also feels the effects of the economic crisis ravaging markets worldwide. However, it is worth remembering that regulations affecting the market, e.g., MTR cuts, play a much more important and straight role in lowering revenues of market players and thus decreasing overall market value than the crisis has done so far. On the other hand, it should be stressed, that in this case the market’s declining tendency is actually an artificial procedure and should not be interpreted as a market stagnation, declining demand, etc. Furthermore, MTRs reduction stimulates the market, providing its players with greater possibilities to compete (still certainly it does not mean that the MTR reduction directly translates into lower retail prices).

Source: PMR Publications, 2010

Petar Ilievski Petar Ilievski Moderator

Measuring E-Government’s Accomplishments in the US

President Obama’s Open Government Directive last December described how federal agencies would have to use Web-based information technology to make governing transparent, accountable and understandable to average citizens. It also mandated an online dashboard showing how offices and departments were doing against the benchmarks. More recently, a Massachusetts organization has measured municipal governments against voluntary standards for e-government. Results from both indicate that, at least against these yardsticks, government is doing pretty well at bringing the state’s inner workings into the open via the Internet.

Obama’s initiative is unquestionably the more sweeping. For one thing, it directly affects the estimated 10 percent of the $71 billion federal IT budget devoted to e-government. It also set specific accomplishments to be met by preset dates. And it held agencies accountable, publishing their results on the dashboard. That dashboard shows that only two of 29 agencies were at less than 100 percent of expectations on the first four of six initial goals.

The two laggards were the Office of Personnel Management and the Council on Environmental Quality. They had each fallen down on meeting the first goal, placing high-value, quality data online. The environmental council likewise stumbled on the second, assuring the integrity of data on its Web site. Two other goals -- having an open government Web page with required elements, and creating mechanisms for public feedback -- were met by all agencies. Having a plan for open government and receiving overall ratings are two milestones set to be reached later this spring.

The Massachusetts survey was undertaken by Common Cause Massachusetts, a non-partisan open-government advocacy group. It looked at the Internet presence of all 351 cities and towns in the state, and awarded its 2010 e-Government Award to 181 of them, including 90 who were recognized with distinction. Significantly, those receiving awards amounted to seven-and-a-half times the 24 given in 2006, the first year the awards.

Common Cause had guidelines that were considerably more specific than the White House’s. For instance, to be awarded, cities had to have online the agenda for a governing body meeting held within the two weeks before or after the review period. And in addition to the date, time and location of a meeting, the agenda had to include a list of items to be discussed. In all, there were a half-dozen broad requirements, each of which broke down into similar levels of detail.

The Massachusetts award-winners were generally larger towns, with a median population of 14,285. The ones who weren’t recognized, on the other hand, had a median population of 5,426. Only 25 communities, many of them small, had no Web site, while 23 more had none of the documents on their Web site. Twenty only had one document missing.

Common Cause said that the first three years of its survey found little year-to-year improvement, and that most of the change occurred between the last two surveys. President Obama’s widely publicized commitment to openness in government, which he formalized only a few days after taking office, may be one reason. Another may be that governments are recognizing the advantages to be gained by e-government and openness.

Broadly speaking, e-government can be defined as using information technology to supply public-sector services and interactions. The benefits of this approach are improved services, lower cost, increased effectiveness and greater efficiency. Examples include enabling citizens to renew driver’s licenses online (saving a trip to the motor vehicle office), and filing taxes electronically. Internal government processes such as travel and human resources are also candidates for e-government.

Common Cause lauds e-government for its ability to easily and cheaply provide frequently requested documents -- such as meeting agendas -- to the public. It also likes e-government’s potential for helping educate citizens, and keep public officials accountable. Obama’s Open Government Directive largely echoes these objectives.

E-government sounds great but, even with a push from the government’s highest official, it clearly hasn’t yet taken hold everywhere. Obstacles include lack of internal expertise in Web development in government agencies, fragmented Web development efforts spread over sometimes scores of sites in a single agency and a separate reluctance among government officials to embrace user-participation tools such as wikis and blogs.

Still, in addition to the broad, if somewhat unimpressive, accomplishments in open e-government recognized by Obama’s open government dashboard and the Common Cause Massachusetts e-government award, there exist some remarkable examples of high-return uses of e-government. Some of these particularly emphasize the user participation aspects of Web 2.0 that has proven so difficult for government agencies to adopt.

For instance, USASpending.gov, a database of federal grants and contracts mandated by Obama, was originally supposed to cost $10 million in development funds. Instead, officials adapted a similar service created by private-sector group OMB Watch. That software had been developed under a grant of only about $300,000, was already real-world tested, and has generally performed up to par.

E-government and open government clearly have the wind at their backs these days. They have notched some significant accomplishments and are steadily racking up more. Government IT officials, and those who supply solutions to them, can take comfort in the proven cost-effectiveness and broad acceptance these initiatives are winning in the bare-knuckle world of governing. It’s not likely that they’ll face defeat soon.

An artilce from CIO Zone

Plamen Russev Plamen Russev Moderator

eBay, AOL, PayPal, Google and many more presented @ Webit - 7-8 October

Dear Webit Group Members,

I wish to personally keep you informed about the development of Webit - e-Business & e-Marketing Expo for SEE region.

Up till now we have confirmed speakers and presenters such as Directors of Google, Guardian, MMA Global, Mindshare, Bytemobile, IAB Europe and many more. Lates updates are that marketing and regional directors of PayPal, eBay, MTG and America Online are also going to be among the Webit speakers.

Webit is now one of the most important & interesting e-Business & e-Marketing events of Europe!

Webit is supported by the Mobile Marketing Association, IAB Europe, Deloitte, and number of other organizations and associations.

By the end of the week the program of the Webit conference shall be published at http://www.WebitExpo.com. Afterwards you may book your place at the conference.

!!! There is one special conference package I wish to tell yo about. You may book full access to The Main Stage which means 14 panels and presentations by some of the most challenging and influential professioanls of the industry just for 300 EUR (350 after 7 September) for two days.

Hope you'll enjoy it. Of course you may book only one paid panel and attend those which are free (registration only). It will be up to you to decide :)

I wish you a successful week and hope to see you all @ Webit.

Best,
Plamen Russev
Chairperson e-Academy & Digital Leader design.bg