Vienna the Capital of Austria Adopts Blockchain to Add to the Security of Government Data
Vienna, the federal capital and also the largest city of Austria has partnered with Ernst & Young (EY), an accounting services firm to design a blockchain platform to automate and simplify administrative processes.
The platform is part of this city’s blockchain solution and digitization initiative dubbed “DigitalCity. Wien. It is designed to help Vienna’s local government secure and validate its Open Government Data (OGD). This data includes public transport routes, the voting results of surrounding communities and train schedules among others.
This blockchain solution was developed by developers based in Vienna in about four months’ time, under the supervision of EY. EY also over saw the management role of the entire project and helped integrate the blockchain networks into the OGD platform. The networks store hashtags of the data sets on the public blockchains to secure the official documents within the platform. Once the documents are on the blockchain, city employees as well as the public can access them to determine their validity, confirm when they were uploaded and check if any changes have been made on them.
This network went live in December 2017 and has made significant milestones. At the moment, it already has about 350 datasets within the blockchain networks.
The CIO of Vienna, Ulrike Huemer, praised this project saying that it is one of its kind in the world. The project makes Vienna the first city in the world to fully utilize the power of blockchain technology for public administration. He is excited about the prospect of having an open and participatory city and in which there will be less bureaucracy hence effective and efficient service delivery.
Huemer also said that using blockchain to run government operations will be effective since involved stakeholders like employees, citizens and app developers can all monitor any changes that take place within the network. If for instance a person was to alter bus routes that are linked to the mapping applications, the action would trigger an alarm alerting everyone of the change.
Huemer looks forward to continue working with experience professionals in this field such as EY and others to pool knowledge and develop more applications based on the blockchain to make Vienna a true center of this technology. He aims to advance Vienna as one of the most technologically advanced cities in Europe and the world.
Paul Brody, EY Global Blockchain Innovation Leader said that one the most useful applications of the blockchain technology is increasing public transparency. He further continued saying that when transparency is achieved, then we can advance to other factors that will add value, insights and analytics. He insists that the basis of it all is reliable and trustworthy information. He finished by saying that he was very proud to work with the city of Vienna in this project.
Currently, the solution is only able to notarize documents from the city of Vienna on the blockchain. However, Brigitte Lutz, the project manager of this city says that they will improve this to include all data of the Austrian Open Government Data portal.
She further says that in the future, the city anticipates working with IT companies around to further make Vienna a smart city and a hub for digital industries.