Nice was in the global spotlight this week when it launched Spot Mairie, the world’s first virtual city hall, on February 24th. Speaking from Paris, Jean-François Balcon, Head of Cisco’s Business Development Collectives in France told the Riviera Reporter he was encouraged by the public’s reaction. “In just three days since its launch, we’ve already seen 20 calls a day from Spot Mairie, and these were with legitimate questions. This is phenomenal.”
Located at Nice Etoile (Level 0, next to the City of Nice kiosk) on Avenue Jean-Médecin in Nice, the Spot Mairie cabin is open during the same hours at the shopping centre (Mon-Sat 8:30am to 7:30 pm).
Spot-Mairie offers basically all the same services as if you went to city hall – from a marriage or birth registration to getting a street permit for a move, to declare lost ID or registering your association. Some 30 services can be done sitting in the cabin while speaking to a remote agent.
Mayor Christian Estrosi gets some advice from city hall at the newly-inaugurated Spot Mairie. Photo: Cisco/HK StretegiesHow does it work? Explains Jean-François: “The exchange takes place under face-to-face conditions facilitated by a Cisco TelePresence device , which is high definition video and high quality sound and remote collaboration tools. So the door of the cabin opens, you enter and sit down. There’s a screen in front you which you touch to start the service. You speak directly with an agent who can advise you on procedures and help you fill out forms. As an example, you could show the agent a letter you received from city hall that you don’t understand. There’s a scanner in the cabin so the agent can read the letter. The agent can then explain the letter to you, and can judge your comprehension also. You could also make a request that needs a form filled out. You do this on the screen, and when all the information is correct, the form is then printed in the cabin for you to take. The system isn’t secure enough for original identification papers or for payment, but you would then take this completed form and go to city hall with at an appointed time with any original supporting documents. So no more waiting in line at the mairie.”
Nice is an energy-efficiency eco-city and has a population nearing 500,000. It was chosen as the test pilot for this innovative technology because Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur with its 46 municipalities has the largest Allô-Mairie service in France.
This is just the tip of the virtual iceberg. Cisco envisions the Spot Mairie in rural areas of France where extended hours of service via remote agents can be offered to the public at reduced costs to the commune.
Christian Estrosi, Mayor of Nice and President of the Nice Côte d'Azur Metropolitan Area: "The fact that this world-first trial is being carried out in the Nice Côte d'Azur Metropolitan Area is the result of our active mobilization to make the Nice Côte 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 services. We hope to maybe have 15 of these cabins across the great city of Nice."