Examples of digital projects

To help applicants for the .IE Digital Town Awards, outlined below are a number of different digital projects. These are simply examples of the types of projects underway across Europe. Your project doesn’t need to be in one of these areas. The examples are intended to provide guidance and inspiration for the type of project you might submit. If you’re still unsure, you can book a call by emailing omccutcheon@weare.ie

Digital Medical Cabin – France

To combat the shortage of doctors in rural France, one village is trying a new device which is a medical cabin equipped with all the standard items you’d find in a doctor’s surgery (thermometer, stethoscope etc). These cabins are placed in public buildings like libraries and town halls. The patient goes into the cabin and the consultation takes place online.  The patient takes their own temperature, blood pressure, weight and other basic tests. The results are uploaded by phone to the doctor who can then issue an e-prescription.

Digital Triage – UK

The patient enters eConsult via the NHS app or their practice website and starts by completing a questionnaire. This is then reviewed by the practice before the patient is triaged to the most appropriate resource, from self-referral services, self-help information, and pharmacy advice to a phone, video or face-to-face consultation with a GP or a specialist nurse, or the hospital accident and emergency department. “Due to the pressure to avoid any face-to-face contact that isn’t absolutely necessary, we have gone from turning about 40-45% of our eConsults into face-to-face appointments, to managing over 90% remotely.”

Citizen Services – Ireland

Fixmystreet.ie. This was set up several years ago in Ireland. Citizens can report problems like litter, potholes, damaged trees and other problems through a dedicated web portal. The local authority responds with what action they have taken or plan to take. This provides an efficient, transparent two way communication process.

Tourism – Spain

In Valencia, the Alter Eco project seeks to balance the need for economic development for tourism with the sustainability of Mediterranean cities. Valencia Tourism and the Valencia Institute of Housing joined forces to set up a pilot project. The pilot collects data with the aim of reducing the concentration of tourists in hot spots by showcasing new areas. Tourists can discover new routes through the city by downloading the Alter Eco Valencia app which allows tourists use geolocation functionality to collect candies, share selfies, visit and provide reviews and win prizes.

Civic Dollars – Ireland

Dublin City Council is encouraging people to walk in local parks and ‘pays’ them in civic dollars that can be exchanged for a range of goods and services in local shops. It is managed via a smart phone app where users log in and record their walk to earn the civic dollars. The project is the result of research which showed that just 40% of local residents took regular exercise. However, 92% said they would use a park for exercise if it was available to them. It is a great example of promoting health and well-being by using digital technology.

Robotic Life Savers – Ireland

Athlone, Co. Westmeath launched two rescue robots in November 2021. The idea is that the rescue robots can be thrown into the river to help save a drowning person until the rescue services arrive on the scene. They are small, high speed devices which are remote controlled from the riverside to ensure they are directed to the location of the person in the water. Time is of the essence in preventing drownings and the rescue robots provide an essential first response. Gardai, river rescue personnel and security staff at the many riverside pubs and restaurants will be trained in how to use the robots. A very practical digital solution to a real world problem.

Remote Surgery via a 5G ambulance – UK

Ericsson, University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) and King’s College London collaborated on a  5G Connected Ambulance – a groundbreaking new way to connect patients, ambulance workers and remote medical experts in real time. This innovation enabled healthcare workers to perform the UK’s first remote diagnostic procedure over 5G, demonstrating its transformative potential to enable clinicians and paramedics to collaborate haptically, even when they are miles apart – and help patients even if they can’t get access to a hospital.

Other digital projects

There are many other digital projects such as smart benches and street furniture equipped with phone/computer chargers for citizens to use. Citizens using these smart benches can charge their devices and surf the internet wirelessly while they take a seat.

Other applications include using IoT for very practical purposes such as providing sanitation departments with real time information on bins that are full.

In tourism, there is increased adoption of digital discovery points which helps retain tourists in a particular area to discover its hidden gems which are showcased digitally. Over-tourism is a problem in some areas, and digital technology can help manage over-crowded beauty spots.

Community projects could include digitalising local records for example primary resources in libraries (manuscripts, recordings on old technology, letters etc) and also paper based records in cemeteries. Digital storage means these resources will be available to future generations and historical records will be preserved.

This has been taken to an even higher level with the EU project ‘Time Machine’ in 20 cities including Amsterdam, Budapest, Antwerp and Paris.  The project collates records and digitises them. They use AI for document interpretation and fact checking. They’ve built a search engine which can read handwritten records and maps.  The plan is to create a 4D which ‘recreates’ past cities.