THE PUBLIC LINK

Smart local administration using IoT, AI, VR and Machine Learning tools.

Duration: October 2021 – March 2023

Total budget: EUR 0,1M – financed by EU 50 %

Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia budget: 90 000 € – financed by EU 50 %

The identity of the coordinator: European Regions Network for the Application of Communications Technology (ERNACT)

Introduction

The focus of The Public Link (TPL) is to test the application of new technologies in the provision of public services.

In particular, the project will focus on engagement and coordination of efforts between local governments, NGOs, research labs and companies to explore the application of disruptive technologies in public services provision. This involves the use of virtual/augmented reality (VR / AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning approaches.

TPL will provide a common communication platform for all six partners, which will become the building block of the next-generation TPL toolkit for digital public services at a later stage in the project. One of the essential components of the platform includes virtual reality common environments built on Social VR solutions. These types of interactions require special interfaces in the form of VR headsets to allow participants to immerse themselves and interact in VR environments.

Virtual Reality Meeting. Four Avatars are discussing together.
Image: Virtual Meeting by Oculus / Meta Quest 2 headphones with two controllers

The project is designed to run in three major cycles where relevant framework and toolset is developed with strong participation from all relevant stakeholders especially the local governments involved directly in the project. Every cycle includes both technical & methodological development as well as workshops and training sessions with stakeholders.

This is to ensure maximum usability of essential assets and availability of skills and capacity to use them effectively by local governments and a broader set of stakeholders.

The project has commenced with a series of online workshops to test digital tools that can support the co-creation process. The first solution that partners have tested is the online communication platform Discord.
– In this first part of the project, we will test different digital tools that can support the co-creation of the services planned in the different regions.

The second part of the workshops will look specifically at XR (eXtended Reality) technologies, extending VR collaboration to include AR applications such as virtual guides and AR-based geocoding. As a result of the project, we will present a comprehensive health care guide on what is needed to provide effective AI services to residents.