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Digital transformation is also on the rise in cities and municipalities. They are putting all their efforts into becoming 'smart cities', which are boosting their operational efficiency through the use of ICT. In doing so, they are not only improving the quality of the public services they provide, but also the well-being of their citizens. Sint-Truiden-based company InTouch specialises in such smart services. They have developed mobility software that makes life easier for local authorities, police districts and citizens.
InTouch's flagship products currently revolve around digital permits. After all, an increasing number of cities are creating car-free zones. In these zones, through traffic is prohibited, but the citizens or companies that need to be there still have access. To this end, authorities (cities, municipalities and police districts) issue resident cards that allow people to park in the street and transit permits for delivery companies, for example. The software developed by InTouch provides a fully digital version of these permits, making paper resident cards or transit permits obsolete. This software provides fully digital processing of applications, including handling.
But, of course, enforcement of these permits must also be monitored, and InTouch has a solution for that as well. Tom de Winne, CEO of InTouch, commented this issue in a report that was aired on Kanaal Z: "We also provide software and hardware to enforce parking regulations. Parking attendants can use our mobile applications while walking the streets. For car-free zones, we can also install smart video cameras featuring license plate recognition".
InTouch provides a system that makes things easier for citizens, while at the same time ensuring greater efficiency in the municipalities and police districts concerned. But the system is very sophisticated, with confidentiality coming first. "Permits and fees are often based on the citizen's address. And for the purpose of checking the permits, we collect the citizens' personal information based on number plates. We must of course store this sensitive information securely if we want to comply with the GDPR."
"InTouch must establish a connection to the National Register. Data security is very important in this context."
That is why InTouch relies on Combell's infrastructure, whose secure data centres are located in Belgium, thus ensuring the required level of confidentiality. "InTouch has to establish a connection to the National Register. Data security is very important in this context. It is our responsibility as a hosting provider to make sure that all the data are encrypted at all times, and that they are protected from all other customers", confirms Combell CTO Wesley Hof.
InTouch is also relying on Combell for the new applications it is currently developing. As it happens, the company is aiming for the sky – quite literally, using drones. "Earlier this year, we moved to DronePort, in order to completely surround ourselves with other companies that are working hard on innovative applications. Using a drone in the city centre to enforce parking regulations is not yet an option. But we already have some applications available for the police. For example, we are currently collaborating with AIRobot, which is also established on the DronePort site, to develop an application that helps track road accidents quickly and accurately," says Tom De Winne, outlining InTouch's plans for the future.
All the concepts the company develops require a high-performance and reliable IT infrastructure. "We want our applications to be available to citizens 24/7. Moreover, with a local partner such as Combell, we can always discuss the needs of our customers, current and future", says Tom De Winne.
Wesley Hof adheres to this view: "We find that, economically speaking, modern applications should always be online, in a fast, reliable and secure environment. We take care of the application 24/7 and scale up the infrastructure where necessary without any difficulties." And since Combell takes care of the entire infrastructure, InTouch can fully dedicate itself to the further development of its software. This way, all of our cities will become even smarter, and citizens will be relieved of the administrative burden!
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