May 11, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a game-changer for technology in Coquitlam, as solutions for emerging needs are quickly becoming part of the way the City does business.
Technological innovation is nothing new for Coquitlam, which has adopted a variety of advanced solutions and has planned for more in its 2018-2022 Technology Roadmap. Even so – as Council heard Monday from the Information and Community Technology (ICT) team – the recent sudden and widespread reliance on technology has required a nimble response that has included fast-tracking some projects and repurposing existing hardware and software for new uses.
Technology Roadmap Pivots to Focus on Pandemic Resilience
Coquitlam traditionally favours a long-term planning approach and relies on its 2018-2022 Technology Roadmap to guide the selection and use of technology. As the City’s ICT team puts its troubleshooting skills to work to address new and urgent needs, the Roadmap continues to provide guidance but with a focus on measures that support remote service-delivery and physical distancing.
The updated selection criteria prioritizes remote work solutions, remote or physically distancing service-delivery, automated processes, enhanced public services, and improved cybersecurity measures.
Rapid testing has been critical, with first, second and third choices typically lined up for critical functions. In some cases, different types of similar technology have been found to be better suited for certain uses. For example, virtual Council meetings and recreation programs are being offered via Zoom, while virtual building inspections are utilizing Skype for Business.
Daily collaboration between ICT staff and their counterparts at other cities in the region has helped streamline the testing and selection process.
The additional technology investment is estimated to cost $150,000 to $300,000, some of which is expected to be covered through provincial emergency funds.
New Solutions Embraced
Dozens of digital solutions have been quickly rolled out over the past month – some in less than a week – to allow City services to continue during the pandemic. The work has included:
Many improvements will remain in use long after the pandemic ends, as both the City and community become accustomed to the improved convenience and experience they offer.
Join Coquitlam’s Efforts to #SupportLocal
The City of Coquitlam has joined the Tri-Cities #SupportLocal campaign to assist local businesses, many of which are struggling at this time. Coquitlam also strongly encourages residents to #SupportLocal for their shopping and meals; view business listings at www.wegotthistricities.com and 150+ local takeout restaurants to www.visitcoquitlam.ca.
Supporting Our Community During the Pandemic
The City of Coquitlam is here to help, with these resources: