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Technologies are constantly transforming our lives in almost every aspect. Yet often we are so involved in our day-to-day tasks and concerns that we forget to ‘step outside the box’ for a moment and explore what technologies out there can improve how we do things. As Innovation Consultants, we at Benefit Business Solutions have explored some of the latest innovations out there that Gibraltar can definitely benefit from:

1Report a fault: Ever walked down your street and noticed a gaping pothole? Or found it difficult to see at night because a streetlight (or two) was broken? Thanks to a new wave of mobile apps that connect people with their local authorities, you’ll never again have to wait helplessly for your neighbourhood problems to get fixed. Creating a two-way communication channel is very important for a city to be smart. It’s not just a one-way thing, either. With fault reporting apps, authorities can easily communicate with their residents, creating a far more interactive process. Staff can respond directly to the reporter by simply clicking ‘reply’ – just like they would with any other digital messages. As well as benefitting the app’s users, the authorities, in cities where similar solutions have been implemented, also reap the rewards as users are effectively ‘on-the-ground scouts’, feeding in far more information about the local community than the council’s own staff could gather. The result is a streamlined, uncomplicated process that encourages more efficient improvements of a city – through collaboration. Similar apps have also been adopted by estate management companies, where residents of a building or an estate can easily communicate with the management company reporting any faults or disturbances.

Ever walked down your street and noticed a gaping pothole?

2 Find a parking spot: Ever driven to Midtown car park in the morning just to find it full? Or driven around town to find a Pay & Display space available? There are plenty of mobile apps that use crowd sourcing to show you as many available parking spots as possible, so before you even start your journey, you can check whether there is still parking available in the car park or anywhere else. These apps boast a library of over 70 million parking spots across 15,000 cities. They can also show Resident Permit parking spaces, prices for parking lots in various paid car parks as well as free parking spaces. It’s time for Gibraltar to have one of these apps too.

3Lab results to your mobile: Healthcare communication is one of the most growing segments in public healthcare provision. Imagine receiving your blood test or X-ray results directly to your mobile or email without having to chase the doctor for it? Or simply renewing your prescription or getting a GP appointment with the press of a button? Even better, the prescription can be sent directly to your mobile for your pharmacist to scan and supply you with your medicine. No more queuing up at the ICC just to get or renew a prescription. Such solutions are already widely deployed in many countries, making life easier for millions of patients.

4 e-Gov: We’ve all heard the promise of e-Gov, yet paperwork is still crippling businesses and individuals alike. With a population of 1.3 million, Estonia is probably the only country in the world where 99% of the public services are available online 24/7. From business licencing to residency and work permits, tax filing and even booking allocations in sporting facilities-nearly everything can be done online. E-services are only impossible for marriages, divorces and real-estate transactions – you still have to get out of the house for those. Thanks to a safe, convenient and flexible digital ecosystem, Estonia has reached an unprecedented level of transparency in governance and built broad trust in its digital society. According to the Estonian authorities, as a result, Estonia saves over 844 years of working time annually and has become a hassle-free environment for business and entrepreneurship. Surely Gibraltar, with a population that is 2.5% that of Estonia, should be able to deploy similar solutions swiftly.

No more queuing up at the ICC just to renew a prescription.

5 Order a taxi: While in most countries, Uber and other similar taxi services can be ordered in seconds from the comfort of your mobile, in Gibraltar we still need to call up and order a taxi. There are plenty of mobile app solutions there to enable not only ordering a taxi with the press of a button, but also to tracking whereabout the taxi is and receiving alerts when the taxi has arrived to pick you up, saving you the need to wait outside in the rain or heat. With only about 125 taxis around in Gibraltar, this could be a welcomed boost to the level of service.

6 More than online shopping: The threat that online shopping poses to high street retailers is not new, and some retailers in Gibraltar have already developed online e-commerce capabilities. However, there is much more out there in terms of technologies that retailers can implement to compete with global e-commerce sites. Some examples are Smart Mirrors that are installed in shops providing customers with a 360-degree view of how a piece of clothing, say, a dress, looks on, without the hustle of having to actually try it on. For bulkier items like furniture, the answer is Augmented Reality (AR) apps that let customers get a visual representation of how an item would look in their homes, or how a home improvement project will look like. Supermarkets can implement self-checkout facilities to reduce queuing time at cashier and to reallocate their existing staff more efficiently. Hairdressers and cosmetic shops can implement facial simulation technologies for before and after comparisons. There are also plenty of solutions out there that can assist retailers in gathering and analysing customer related data and sales statistics to improve both store offering and visitors to shoppers conversion rates.

It will move Gibraltar closer to becoming the ‘Silicon Rock’.

7 Customised tourism: With millions of visitors arriving in Gibraltar every year, this is one sector where the power of Big Data should really be utilised by both tourism bodies, retailers and tourism related providers in Gibraltar. Solutions enabling push messages on special offers and events to be sent to visitors’ mobiles and the ability for visitors to customise their experience of Gibraltar by offering tailored mobile app-based itineraries based on visitor’s preferences. Post-trip reviews and collaborating and sharing experiences should also be made easy in an age when online social networking is such an important component of every trip.               

Obviously in each of the above categories, there are many providers who can deliver these solutions. Our technology scouting services can help you find the most suitable solution provider for your needs and off-course, can recommend solutions you didn’t even know existed.

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Ayelet Mamo Shay & Eran Shay
Eran Shay Managing Director, Benefit Business Solutions Ltd. With over 20 years’ experience in the world of Finance, Eran specialises in helping companies grow in innovative ways. Eran has ample experience in the fields of Corporate Finance, Regulatory Advisory, Business & Strategic Planning, Valuations and Transaction Support and his focus on technology means he keeps in touch with innovative companies in a variety of sectors. Ayelet Mamo Shay Co-Founder & Business Development Director, Benefit Business Solutions Ltd. Ayelet specialises in online and offline marketing, sales, and PR. She is the author of the successful novel “Relocation Darling, Relocation!” and provides relocation consulting and personal coaching. A busy entrepreneur, Ayelet also serves as Chairwoman of the Gibraltar-Israel Chamber of Commerce.