7 Civic Challenges for the CivTechSA Residency Program

7 Civic Challenges

7 Civic Challenges for the CivTechSA Residency Program

At CivTechSA, we’ve made a commitment to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and the City of San Antonio by establishing a 16-week residency focused on solving current civic challenges. Over the past few months, the City’s Innovation Office collaborated with other City Departments to put together a list of internal and community challenges. Thus, effectively creating a comprehensive Problem Bank.

Not only has the City defined current problems, but it has identified ideal solutions that it would like to see from the CivTechSA residents. The following challenges run across a variety of departments, offering an opportunity for a wide range of companies and startups to apply to for this unique residency program.

Civic Tech is meant to improve the quality and efficiency of government services, whether it’s for internal or public consumption; CivTechSA’s goal is to connect industry, local government, and students to build real, lasting solutions for San Antonio.

Challenge 1

The Animal Care Services (ACS) Department has identified a great need for a system that will allow pet adopters to receive automatic notifications when animals are impounded at local shelters meet the adopter’s desired criteria, such as species, age, color, and breed type. Annually, ACS impounds approximately 30,000 pets from the community and works with different partner organizations to find “forever homes” for most of these pets. This type of solution has the potential to increase the number of pet adoptions overall.

Challenge 2

In 2017, the San Antonio International Airport served 8.3 million passengers. It’s no secret that flying has become increasingly more complicated and the City’s Airport Management Team understands that passengers need to access important information as quickly and as painlessly as possible. This includes information about checkpoint wait times, concessions offerings, interactive terminal maps, etc. Currently, this information can be found on several different sites and mobile applications, but unifying it into one, seamless platform will ensure that the City provides a phenomenal customer service experience.

Challenge 3

San Antonio’s downtown center is rapidly expanding as more people find work in the city’s growing Tech scene. In fact, San Antonio is expected to have more than 7,500 new housing units in the downtown area within the next three years. The city also hosts two of the most visited sites in all of Texas, the Riverwalk and the Alamo. Streamlining transportation within the downtown area is paramount for residents and tourists alike. Currently, the three most popular modes of transportation include Bcycle (SA Bike Share), VIA Metropolitan Transit, and the GO RIO San Antonio river barges shuttle/taxi service, but each operates independently from each other, requiring the purchase multiple tickets/passes. The City would like to have a “single pass” solution created so residents and visitors could use all three options for one fee.

Challenge 4

The Alamodome hosts 150+ events, serving over 1 million visitors each year. On average, patrons wait at times in excess of 45 minutes in concession, bathroom, merchandise kiosks, etc. The Convention and Sports Facilities Department would like to implement a mobile application that can assist patrons with navigating the facility, provide real-time information on wait times, parking lot location, payment, and availability, as well as incident reporting features. Ultimately, this will improve management of the facility, and improve patron experience overall.

Challenge 5

As the entrepreneur and startup scene in San Antonio continues to expand, there is a growing need for a centralized information center to direct visitors, investors, and business owners to easily identify resources that can help start and/or grow their business. Launch SA in partnership with LiftFund helps manage relationships with 90+ business resource partners around the city but could be more efficient. Currently, referrals must occur via telephone, email, or in person at Launch SA. Launch SA and the City would like to have a web-based platform that can assist entrepreneurs and businesses with resources/referrals, as well as additional data tracking capabilities for Launch SA’s reporting, monitoring, and process improvement data.

Challenge 6

San Antonio’s Department of Human Services (DHS) provides 8,000+ households with emergency electric and water assistance. Low-income families often face utility service disconnection, typically during the extreme summer heat. Currently, resident assistance applications must be filled out in paper form and have to be mailed in or dropped off with required documentation at a central location. This can cause a delay in processing eligibility and getting residents timely assistance. DHS would like to create an electronic application that streamlines this process, and a client portal to provide seamless service to residents.

Challenge 7

Waste management is one of the most pressing needs within a rapidly growing city, and as San Antonio’s population on the rise, the Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD) needs an agile, responsive system to appropriately manage those services. The SWMD currently has over 1 million different sized carts in circulation, and services more than 350,000 households within the San Antonio area. Currently, SWMD operates on a paper-based data tracking system, and the City is eager to see a solution that has the latitude to revamp SWMD’s warehouse operations in three distinct areas: inventory management, work order management, and customer communication.

For more information about the CivTechSA program and how you can get involved, please email us at civtechsa@geekdom.com.

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