Foreword Mayor Hannes Fazekas: Setting our sights on progress.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Even a town so well economically provided for as Schwechat has to think about its future. Of course, an airport, a refinery or a brewery are in no way blessings that every municipal administration can boast – Schwechat then is not at all badly off. Nevertheless, time cannot pass without us having to adapt, and the age of the Information Society has long been a reality: on the small scale – mobile phones, PCs and digital television – as on the large scale, with digital airport communication systems, electronic industrial management systems or virtual town administration.
And out of this grow new forms of competition. In future, to set up businesses, one will not only require land and financial backing, but also broadband access, wireless networks, detailed transport information and much more. New enterprises will be established where there are optimised basic conditions for development, such as technology centres, first rate research and training institutions and access to business capital. Families will also want to settle where, alongside attractive apartments and sufficient employment opportunities, there is, for example, the infrastructure for computer supported teleworking, places where it is possible to look after the elderly and ill with the help of developments of remote medical treatment, that taxis ordered by mobile phone automatically know where to go and there where modern training and development facilities for children and adults is a reality, and much more besides.
In many communities large and small, there are already pilot schemes being run in the most varied fields: for local Internet-TV as for tourism information that can be called up on cellular radio.
Schwechat plans to become a seamless Information Society. An information society which will improve and simplify things for citizens in all areas of life – regardless of age and education. An Information Society in which everyone has access to the information they need, whether for work, school, further education or their private life.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is infiltrating our lives, it is no longer the preserve of the technical but a tool for everyone. That is not to say that everyone in our town should suddenly become an ICT expert or Software engineer. It’s more that we place systems at people’s disposal that should simplify many areas of our lives: systems that are easy and intuitive to use, like washing machines and telephones are today.
How can we picture these applications? Something like this: I forgot to send off a document whilst in the office, but I can just as easily do it from home. I want to turn the heating up earlier than usual, I can do it using my mobile phone. A newly arrived business needs wireless broadband for production control and fleet management, no problem: it’s already there and the company can also get connected to its branches and customers. The kindergarten wants to tell all the parents about new opening times, they can get the information across using those channels that the parents prefer (such as voicemail, email or SMS text message), others will also be able to use this facility to inform people about what’s happening with flights or trains. The doctor receives a message from someone with serious pains directly, regardless of where he is; the necessary blood bags can be called up wirelessly after the automatically reported accident. These are just a few examples.
This might sound utopian for many people today, but it isn’t, especially since everything that would be needed as a basis for this is already in place. Applications like those above will not, of course, be upon us over night – one would need to thoroughly investigate which forms of technology people want and which would serve them best.
Implementing projects in Information and Communication Technology makes demands for training, research and the transfer of technologies, that means communication between those who develop the technology and those who make that technology implementable and economically worthwhile. Projects like these require getting those who live in the town on board – the people of all age groups and economic means, those representing all interests, the educational establishments, health facilities and administration.
This was why the five year eSchwechat.at programme was conceived.
eSchwechat.at is a strategy that embraces all areas one might think of. eSchwechat.at is a concept for the present and the future that will guarantee the ability to remain economically competitive and increase in value going forward – with it guaranteeing the quality of life of people living here.
Let’s work together for our future, it’s what we all want,
Mayor of Schwechat