NICE, FRANCE, Feb 25, 2013 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) --
Shopping or administrative formalities From now on, the residents
of Nice will no longer have to choose. This is thanks to a new
virtual city hall, which offers real-time services installed in the
heart of the Nice Etoile shopping mall. Committed to a process of
improving public services for local residents, the Nice Cote d'Azur
Metropolitan Area and the City of Nice have joined forces with
technology leader Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) to launch the first worldwide
pilot of the 'virtual city hall cabin'. In order to bring
administrative services closer to communities, the 'Spot Mairie'
(City Hall Point) cabin has been installed in the Nice Etoile
shopping mall. Equipped with Cisco high definition video equipment,
it allows residents to carry out different administrative formalities
by interacting face-to-face with a remote agent. This experiment --
which is a first for public services -- falls within the framework of
a partnership agreement signed between the Nice Metropolitan Area and
Cisco France for the area's digital development.
'Spot Mairie': a local service that brings public services into
The first 'Spot Mairie' cabin has been installed in the
heart of Nice on the zero level of the Nice-Etoile shopping mall,
next to the City of Nice kiosk.
On entering the 'Spot Mairie' cabin, the user speaks directly with an
agent. Via an interposed screen, the agent receives and processes
requests (such as marital status and on-street parking permits) and
suggests the correct procedures and related forms in an interactive
The exchange takes place under face-to-face conditions facilitated by
a Cisco TelePresence device (high definition video and high quality
sound) and remote collaboration tools including:
-- A touch screen for viewing and completing documents
-- A camera and scanner allowing the agent to see or scan the documents
brought by the resident
-- A printing system in the cabin, so you can leave with the right form
-- A mailbox allowing you to submit your file
Asports club could also make a request to reserve a meeting hall at
the 'Spot Mairie', as another example.
'Spot Mairie' is a free service, accessible to all and without the
need of an appointment. It is available during regular Nice Etoile
shopping center hours (from 8:30am to 7:30pm, Monday through
When in use, the 'Allo-Mairies' (Hello-City Hall) call center agents
respond to residents' requests made through the 'Spot Mairie' cabin.
This is regardless of whether it's a request relating to operations
under the responsibility of the Nice Town Hall(1) or the Nice Cote
d'Azur Metropolitan Area.(2) All the 'Allo-Mairies' telephone
advisers receive proper training on the device and the new
The services offered by 'Spot Mairie' complement the information
operations already provided by the 'Allo-Mairies' service via
telephone. The direct, face-to-face contact with an agent in the
cabin allows the user's degree of understanding to be gauged
(perception of gestures, attitudes, expressions) and immediate
processing of a request.
Christian Estrosi, Mayor of Nice and President of the Nice Cote
d'Azur Metropolitan Area: "The fact that this world-first trial is
being carried out in the Nice Cote d'Azur Metropolitan Area is the
result of our active mobilization to make the Nice Cote d'Azur
Metropolitan Area a benchmark in terms of technological innovation,
sustainable development and connectivity. Today we are proud to offer
our residents a local solution to facilitate their access to public
Robert Vassoyan, Director General of Cisco France: "The Nice Cote
d'Azur Metropolitan Area is an area of innovation in terms of
infrastructures and digital practices. The installation of a cabin in
a community is a new way of improving the relationship between the
Metropolitan Area's users and agents. The implementation of 'Spot
Mairie' is a good illustration of the fact that behind the Internet's
technological vision of objects, great achievements are possible for
better city living. We are pleased that our communication
technologies, in particular TelePresence, are contributing to
strengthening local contact with the people of Nice."
'Spot Mairie': simple to use and immediate interaction
Mairie' device is operated as follows:
-- On one side of the cabin (which is installed by the choice of the
community -- in a public place such as a shopping mall), users can
remotely access services confidentially and with extended opening
-- On the other side, back office agents can engage in video consultation
and collaboration with the user sitting in the cabin.
-- The user goes into the cabin, closes the glass door, presses a single
button on the touch screen and the cabin automatically launches a
video call to the adviser.
-- The adviser welcomes the resident via TelePresence (Cisco high
definition video screen with high quality sound), speaks with them and
offers relevant documents on the touch screen.
-- The user/adviser conversation is facilitated by a camera and a
scanner, which allows the adviser to familiarize themselves remotely
with the different documents that the user wishes to share.
-- The touch screen includes collaboration functions, providing
assistance to the user in completing a form or to co-create an
-- The adviser assesses the user's degree of understanding and
satisfaction through their verbal communication and/or non-verbal
-- A form or any other document can also be sent to print remotely.
-- At the end of the interview, a satisfaction survey is displayed on the
touch screen and allows the user to provide their assessment of the
At the end of the trial (and based on support for this new device), the
City of Nice and the Nice Cote d'Azur Metropolitan Area may consider
extending the project by deploying 'Spot Mairie' cabins in other
community locations in the Metropolitan Area, or by broadening the
range of services available. Access to the cabin for persons with
reduced mobility is also being examined.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for towns and
For over 10 years, Cisco has been working on Smart +
Connected Communities projects and developing 'smart solutions' that
allow communities to respond to new challenges of 21st century
cities. Cities that use the Internet as a platform for planning,
designing and managing their operations on a daily basis see each
aspect of community life become more efficient, thus improving city
management, quality of life for residents, sustainable urbanization
and the like.
Thanks to the Cisco Remote Expert for Government Services (RE4GS)
solution (called 'Spot Mairie' in the case of Nice), Cisco aims to
change the administrative experience and improve the delivery of
citizen services. This integrated solution aims to bring public
services closer to places residents typically frequent (such as
municipal libraries and shopping malls), providing remote access to
an expert and with extended operating hours to facilitate
administrative formalities that have only been available within city
Eventually, the networking of an urban area and the presence of Cisco
RE4GS cabins will allow better access to public services offered to
citizens. These cabins will also facilitate the efficient and
economical organization of the administrative offices that are open
to the public and allow organizational gains to be reconciled (cost
of agents' local presence, extension of service working hours,
multi-site capacity and the like). It also helps promote a better
perception of public services. Furthermore, these innovative
solutions decrease the number of journeys made by residents, which
contributes to reducing each resident's carbon footprint in respect
of the community's Agenda 21.