#eGovernment

Why stand in line?

Global Trends
4 Mins.

Why wait for hours in a government building to renew your passport when you can do it quickly and easily from your computer at home? eGovernment promises to save states, companies and citizens both time and money as public services gradually move online

There are generally only three occasions in life when the average Estonian will encounter a civil servant: when getting married, divorced, or buying a house. Otherwise, they simply go online and use automated online government services instead.

Estonia may be a small country, but it is a shining example of how effectively eGovernment can work. Ten years ago, Estonia launched an initiative program to fully digitalize its society. And now, citizens vote electronically, pay taxes online, and conduct a myriad of everyday state interactions via their mobile phone or computer.

Other digital leaders, such as Kosovo, Denmark, Australia, South Korea and Sweden are hot on their heels, actively implementing their own ambitious plans to digitalize public services.

Lower costs, lower taxes

The growing emergence of eGovernment worldwide is revolutionizing the way governments interact with citizens, private companies and other states. Digitalizing processes means citizens can wave goodbye to tedious waiting times and convoluted paperwork, and can quickly complete tasks such as passport applications from their own home.

Digitalization saves substantial time. Take Germany, for example, where the federal government authorities are obliged to offer all 20,000 public services online by 2022, according to the Online Access Act. Eliminating paperwork from basic service transactions would mean 84 million more hours of free time per year for German citizens, according to a McKinsey report, “Leading in a disruptive world.”1

Moreover, digitalization will curb escalating administrative costs and lower taxes. The McKinsey report predicts annual savings of €1 billion in administrative costs in Germany – not to mention the greater transparency, higher efficiency, and ease of communication offered for companies and private individuals.

Trust is key

Man lying on his back smiling and having a tablet in his hand enjoying eGovernment
Digitalizing processes means we can complete tasks such as passport applications quickly and easily from our own homes

Over the last decade, the lack of trust had been a significant challenge to making eGovernment attractive. Society needs to learn to trust that its digital identity is secure and can be used conveniently, explains Michael Edwards, Technical Sales and Business Development Director eGovernment, at Veridos.

“Take ID cards with chips, for example. The processing system, such as setting a pin and activating the card, has been commonplace for a long time now with payment cards in the financial sector.

“But when it comes to government information, somehow it’s perceived differently. People are concerned about their citizen data being stored on an ID card, and it potentially being stolen, for instance.

“However, secure and advanced technologies protect physical and digital documents and databases, making them secure while conveniently accessible only by authorized parties. This way people’s smartphones become a medium to easily using eGovernment solutions daily.”

“Secure and advanced technologies protect physical and digital documents and databases“
Michael Edwards
Technical Sales and Business Development Director eGovernment, Veridos

Thankfully, trust and public acceptance are gradually developing. But working on gaining traction and convenience remains vital.

Easing into a digital future

So, what does the future hold? For the foreseeable future, Edwards predicts that people and companies will increasingly start to access government services via their mobile devices while continuing to complete other tasks on paper.

Once security becomes a given, we will see a gradual transition towards increasing use of mobile and digital documents. Emerging technology may well be applied to areas of identity verification. One day, technology such as wearable rings, Fitbits or armbands, featuring secure elements and payment functionality, could become customary methods of identification in the eGovernment sector.

As a result, G+D has expanded the realm of relevant products and solutions with enhanced technology to develop solutions that merge the government sector and the digital world. eGovernment solutions, such as TrueID, eGovernment application, and Mobile Driver’s License from Veridos, enable citizens to access and utilize digitalized documents from their smartphones. Furthermore, technology infrastructure, such as the secure network solution from secunet, provides the framework needed for secure digital citizen interfaces.

It is apparent that growth towards digitalized identities is accelerating. Edwards adds, “In the last two years, tenders that require such technology have increased by 50%. You can really see the traction building.” The eGovernment sector is growing exponentially, providing increased convenience and access to services for all citizens. This is the future.

  1. McKinsey, 2018

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