As the City is continually under pressure to reduce its operational costs it looks to technology as a way to innovate and streamline its operations.
One of the challenges that cities face is with managing and maintaining its water distribution network. While a large focus of ours has been in gaining visibility into the performance of the water distribution network itself (tems such as leak detection, automated meter reading, etc) there was no focus on innovations around past due bills and disconnections.
The concept around the past due notification system is that in some cases people simply are very busy and may forget to pay that water bill that is sitting on their counter. The idea behind Blast Notifications is that we provide a simple, friendly reminder to the citizen that their water bill is past due and they are facing a disconnection. It points them to a fast and easy way to make payment and avoid service disruption.
One of the challenges we faced was that we were able to send out notifications at a very fast rate. The rate was so fast that the telecommunication companies determined it as spam and blocked it. That made us go back to the drawing board and rethink our approach.
Having the power to send a fast notification to all of your customers is an amazing capability however there are security concerns around the message itself. During the design phase we determined that we wanted to protect the message from tampering to ensure that a disgruntled employee could not send out a damaging message and hurt the reputation of the city and the new service being deployed.
While the system is still in its infancy, our initial feedback has been very positive and it appears that this system will be a success.