Back in 1999, a public school teacher and college professor turned municipal government attorney, Gregory G. Curtin, PhD., J.D., recognized the unlimited possibilities for technology to benefit governments and the broad public sector. Dr. Curtin, an early pioneer for “e-Government”, aimed to catapult the digital revolution in a space traditionally known for its slow adoption of technology and innovation. His vision was to incorporate the most progressive technologies into the way society is governed. The public sector equipped with digital tools would provide better and faster services, thus improving the quality of life in communities. This vision and strong belief in the viability of his ideas prompted the next phase of Dr. Curtin’s career. He became one of the first tech entrepreneurs in government and the public sector, and in 2000 he founded Civic Resource Group International (wvv) as a digital solutions provider to governments and the broad public sector.
The budding company’s mission, “fulfilling the promise of technology™,” guided the development of advanced digital solutions that would enable transparency, better public services, citizen engagement, sustainable communities, and significant enhancement of overall quality of life. “At the beginning of the dot-com era, we clearly understood that the Internet can have a lasting impact on technology, government, education, and more. We wanted to use digital advances to define and make a breakthrough in the public sector,” says Dr. Curtin, Founder and CEO, CRGI. From an e-Government consultancy to a strategic digital solutions and services provider, today CRGI has evolved into a full-fledged technology company serving governments and the broad public sector in both the U.S. and International markets.
CRGI’s Flagship Product: A one-ofa- Kind Fully Integrated Mobile/ Data/Cloud Platform Dr. Curtin emphasizes that the major demographic shift to cities and the changing economy, along with the massive move to mobile and cloud technology, resulted in less than satisfactory city services in the country. CRGI approached the issue by developing CivicConnect™—a one-of-a-kind fully Integrated Mobile/Data/Cloud Platform delivered in a Software-as-a- Service Model (SaaS) and layered with business-specific modules. The platform is enterprise-ready, technology-agnostic, and cost effective. “Our unique platform developed in compliance with government regulations can enable rapid deployment of dynamic database driven web systems for ‘smart’ government,” says Dr. Curtin.
With government agencies moving traditional, “old school” internal IT services to cloud, their key challenge lies in being able to adopt that “shift” without sacrificing their core competencies. Having set a goal to build a safe, reliable environment for their public sector clients, CRGI partnered with three major industry Multinationals to perfect the security of its flagship offering that includes both private and hybrid clouds.
Developed with interoperability and mobility in mind, CivicConnect™ provides real-time access to multiple mediums—be that mobile devices, wearables, kiosks, digital signage or vehicle in-dash. “As long as the platform has access to data, it offers the broadest range of flexible and mobile-enabled solutions,” adds Curtin.
Providing Tomorrow’s Technology Today
CivicConnect™ also has a portfolio of business-specific products focused on a number of key verticals: economic development; water management; tourism; smart city management;public transit and urban mobility; and augmented reality. “CivicAR™, our newest, most innovative product, leverages Augmented Reality (AR) for practical use in the emerging smart city space. It helps in delivering information and services directly to citizens and communities in a highly contextual and easy-to-use mobile environment,” explains Dr. Curtin.
“Our ability to provide realtime access to multiple mediums laced with augmented reality is one of our key differentiators. Most of the mobilefocused companies and emerging AR companies focus only on their respective verticals; we stand apart in our ability to provide applications across previously isolated sectors for more complete and connected solutions.” For instance, “A city may have a budget for a downtown-oriented mobile parking application, but in the future they might need to connect with the rest of their city or coordinate with emergency communications. We provide that starting point with a truly integrated application platform with advanced features,” Dr. Curtin explains. The initial application can begin as a utility management solution, but later be connected with anything from water services to park management. The platform connects and integrates these data and solutions for betterment of services. Analytics are built into the platform to help agencies better understand people’s needs, and as a result, improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public service delivery.
Data is the Backbone for Smart Cities, Smart Governments, & Smart Citizens
The world of technology service providers for the public sector is a competitive one. A host of small to medium one-time solution providers and standalone app developers have saturated the market with heavy competition. However, these companies, almost always focused on building a standalone, disconnected solution that revolve around a single pain point in the market. CRGI stands out with its ability to offer real-time, one-stop solutions to cater to the needs of all public agencies and their respective departments. These comprehensive and integrated solutions include powerful, enterprise ready workforce applications, developed and built in and for the public sector to enhance productivity and improve public service delivery. From analysts to designers to engineers, the majority of CRGI’s staff has vast experience in the public sector. Their unique knowledge and perspective is a key differentiator that helps them understand needs, priorities and processes specific to the sector.
The company’s long-trusted relationships with various government and public agencies are highly representative of their public sector credibility. On the subject of CRGI’s deep expertise and signature partnering and consulting client approach, Dr. Curtin also shared their experience with a large regional transit agency in California. The enterprise charged with the planning and implementation of transportation communications approached CRGI to become their digital partner. “The agency was not completely aware of their needs and approach. We took over their web and digital application systems for a smoother transition into the cloud, performed the digital assessment, and identified their pain point,” explains Dr. Curtin. Today, the agency is well down the path to its next generation in delivering relevant and useful applications on mobile, web, kiosks and digital signage. “As they grow and transform, we are building the future of technology specific to the agency’s needs,” he states.
The Rapid Expansion Plan
CRGI foresees emerging standards around smart city data—augmented information data standards and connected government data standards. “We are encapsulating a data standard into our platform. Our focal point is in developing next generation smart cites enabled with AR and IoT,” highlights Dr. Curtin. As a part of their rapid expansion plan, the team is planning the upcoming international launch of CivicAR™. “We are now ready to use long-term strategic investments to expand quickly into the international market without losing our vision and culture. We want to deliver world-class products that transform the public sector,” he concludes.