e-service technology roadmap for rural and least developed areas in Iran
One of the most important developmental projects in Iran is the development of broadband Internet in rural and least developed areas in the framework of USO plan. Along with the development of high speed ports in rural and least developed areas that are followed with high priority in Iran ministry of Communication & Information Technology and optimal use of the communication infrastructure and investments, the plan of rural e-service development according to Universal Service Obligation (USO) manual has been developed in Iran. ICT as a driver of development is one of the main priorities that should be considered in the process of rural development planning. It plays an important role in rural development by removing traditional boundaries and has an effective role in the process of reverse migration of population from cities to rural areas. Because of small and distributed population, some rural areas don't have threshold population required to benefit from services and facilities and this has been lead to their deprivation in some field. Therefore because of deprivation from different aspects in rural areas, it is essential to develop ICT by planning and coordination of organizations and responsible institutions and also by exploiting best practices and international experiences.
In technology roadmap document for rural and least developed areas in Iran, e-services have been identified in different categories of agriculture, education, health, finance and banking, tourism, public facilities, employment and entrepreneurship, registration, environment, and police and judiciary and then efforts have been made to identify current and desired services for each category through interaction with stakeholders and authorities. In order to receive operational achievements from the document, each of the services has been defined in three levels which provide better understanding of operational requirements for each service. However, vision and mission statement of this document is based on providing services for rural areas, but the concept of deprivation is explained due to the experiences of Iran and other countries and then appropriate drivers have been proposed based on country's indexes in this field.
Another remarkable feature in this regard is new technologies that will influence the environment of e-services and many businesses with considerable speed in near future. In part of the roadmap document, these technologies including 5G, cloud computing, Internet of Things, search engines and big data are explained and their relation to the proposed collection of services are investigated based on the maturity model of each technology.
Writing the document of technology roadmap for rural and least developed areas in Iran was started in the second half of 2015. In the first part of this project that came to an end in the first half of 2016, the technology roadmap was developed in collaboration with more than 25 authorities and then introduced through the unveiling ceremony. Currently while annual reviewing the roadmap in the first half 2017, the implementation of pilot projects extracted from the document are being followed up. Regarding the country Surveying the most important projects are focused on infrastructure, platform and cultural activities and so disabled person pilot projects.
In this project technology roadmap for rural and least developed areas in Iran, e-services have been identified in different categories of agriculture, education, health, finance and banking, tourism, public facilities, employment and entrepreneurship, registration, environment, and police and judiciary and then efforts have been made to identify current and desired services for each category through interaction with stakeholders and authorities.
Due to the limited financial resources and the wide range of rural needs, using the results of this project, an appropriate prioritization for implementation of activities and actions with optimal management capabilities has been created.
Goal 10 of SDGs is the most important goal of this project, but regarding to main defined service clusters(agriculture, education, health, finance and banking, tourism, public facilities, employment and entrepreneurship, registration, environment, and police and judiciary ) , the Objectives 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7 have also been considered
Although the created roadmap has been based on well-known methodologies, two important features in this road map are the one that allows for its development and reuse, which include the existence of an layering architecture for services and the use of service governance role definition.
The technology roadmap was developed in collaboration with more than 25 authorities (e.g.: Ministries which concern to Health, Education, Agriculture, Deputy of rural affaire, ministry of health, Ministry of agriculture, Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of Iran and so on)
With the implementation of this program, a significant portion of e-services in various areas such as health, education, tourism, agriculture and other services will be provided to rural areas by using the appropriate fourth generation network which is developed in rural area. Also, other digital gaps, such as those which are exist for the disabled or the women of the fair service community, are covered in this plan. Considering the indigenous characteristics of this plan is one of the important achievements.
In order to provide USO roadmap framework, 4 key phases have been accomplished
key phases of developing USO roadmap framework
According to the first phase, the preliminary studies including the identification of current situation in rural areas have been done by the roadmap team.
Since the completion of the content of each layer in the roadmap requires experts' opinions, the roadmap team formed the committee of experts to enter the next phase. Expert committee include representatives from government agencies, universities and the private sector comprising the Communications Regulatory Authority of The I.R (CRA), ICT Research Institute (ITRC), Virtual systems processing company, Vice-presidency for Rural development, Agricultural Research, Education & Extension Organization (AREEO), Ministry of Health and Medical education, Hi WEB company, Ministry of Agriculture Jihad, Ministry of education, Telecommunication Infrastructure Company, Tehran University, Iran Federation of IRAN Tourist Guides Association (IFTGA), Post Bank, Literacy Movement Organization, Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare, Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation, Agricultural Services Specialized Holding Company, Central Organization Rural Cooperatives of Iran, Iran Technical and Vocational Training Organization, Information Technology Center of Post Company of IRAN, Department of Environment, Martyr Foundation and Veterans Affairs, Forests Range and Watershed Management Organization of IRAN.
In order to receive experts' opinions, several expert panels held and efforts have been made to involve main stakeholders in the panels. The results achieved by the roadmap team, have been completed, corrected and approved using brainstorming method. 8 Panels are held as follows according to steps of roadmap process.
1- Identifying vision and mission statement for developing rural e-services, finalizing steps of roadmap process
2- Identifying drivers for developing rural e-services
3- Identifying rural e-services
4- Identifying requirements of implementing services
5- Assessing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for developing e-services
6- Identifying the technologies needed to implement services
7- Identifying service features with regard to the development of technologies
8- Identifying strategies and policies needed to implement the services
Steps of developing USO service roadmap
After holding panels, the final framework of the roadmap has been prepared and the relevant reports have been provided (phase 3). Then, the results of each step are reported and the structure of the roadmap is developed.
In the final phase, the content and structure of the roadmap was sent back to expert team and key stakeholders and then by establishing meetings with representatives of experts in each area of services, the final results were confirmed and finalized.
Identifying and Prioritizing Services
The services were extracted from different sources as following:
According to studies, electronic services are identified in 10 main categories including education, health, agriculture, tourism, finance and banking, employment, registration, public facilities, police and Judicial and environment.
Categories and sub categories (first Priority) of identified e-services
Categories and sub categories (second Priority) of identified e-services
In the next step, efforts have been made to identify operational levels of services for each identified category. Also, technical and legal infrastructure and related authorities are identified.
features and characteristics of services
Then, services are prioritized according to different measures such as purposes of ICT ministry in Iran, priorities of related authorities, and predected budget for developing services in 5 years. Based on the measures, it is planned to implement services in 4 areas of education, health, agriculture, finance and banking in first year. Since the roadmap need to be reviewed and updated annually, planning for implementation of other categories will be started from second year.
After extracting the contents of the roadmap, the extracted contents mapped on layers of the roadmap and vertical connections are created. Then the structure reviewed again with experts participated in the panels and final results are confirmed.
Overall structure of the roadmap
The final roadmap including details of each layer is shown in
USO technology roadmap structure
Roadmap at a glance
This roadmap can be used to identify and prioritize the key requirements for implementing e-services in rural areas; directing private sectors to move in desired routes; supplying fund with the aim of synergies and convergence with the private sector; creating shared understanding and coordination for the planning and implementation of relevant projects; Building coalitions, coordination and inter- organizational collaboration (between universities, agencies and the private sectors) in order to develop services; and propose policy and operational guidelines for the implementation of services. In this project, e-services have been identified in the areas of agriculture, education, health, finance and banking, tourism, public facilities, employment and entrepreneurship, registration, environment, and police and judiciary and then efforts have been made to identify current and desired services for each category through interaction with stakeholders and authorities. The realization of these services requires coordinated work of all agents involving authorities, universities and private sectors and availability of financial resources to manage the implementation of the services. The nature of this kind of approach is that the action plans in the early year is associated with greater accuracy and therefore it is necessary to revise future programs by repeating the process and comparing achieved results with possible gaps each year.
USO Secretariat, ICT Research Institute (ITRC)
IT Faculty, Knowledge Management Group
Address: North Kargar St. Tehran- Iran
P. O. Box: 14155-3961
ZIP code: 1439955471
Phone: (+98) 21 84977817
Fax: (+98) 21 84274477
Web Site: http://uso.itrc.ac.ir/en
Mahmoud Kharrat, Nasrin Dastranj, Masoomeh Sadeghi, Tahereh Mirsaeed Ghazi, Kolsoom Abbasi Shahkouh, Molood Arman, Sogol Babazadeh Khameneh, Maryam Gharaee