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Photo provided by Innova Difusion on Dec. 30, 2018, showing a man holding up a smartphone to display the application allowing residents of Rancagua, Chile, to do assorted procedures. EFE
Photo provided by Innova Difusion on Dec. 30, 2018, showing a man holding up a smartphone to display the application allowing residents of Rancagua, Chile, to do assorted procedures. EFE

Rancagua: Chile's first digitalized city

What does the future of tech and city services look like? Well, in a Chilean city of 225,000 people, there is now an app for that. 

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Santiago, Dec 30 (efe-epa).- Rancagua, a city near Santiago, has become Chile's first digitalized city on the threshold of the online future, thanks to an application that allows people to do all sorts of useful things from their homes or workplaces using their smartphones.

Requesting a doctor's appointment at the Family Health Centers, obtaining a driver's license, speaking directly with your child's teacher, accessing regulatory plans and seeking public benefits or help are some of the things people can now do via the app.

Anyone within the city of 225,000, located 90 km (56 mi.) south of Santiago, can download the app for free and perform the tasks they need.

Digitalizing the city is the result of a contest launched in early 2018 by the local Municipal Development and Innovation Corporation, which issued a call to businesspeople all over Chile to use technology to help solve five basic problems, the organizers of the contest told EFE.

"Fifteen community problems were identified. Of those, five priorities were selected to be solved using technological solutions proposed by businesspeople," said the Municipal Corporation's executive director, Cristian Urrutia.

He said that each of the five winning teams received a grant of 300,000 pesos (about $435) for six months in addition to training at business workshops.

After that, each team was intimately familiar with the problem they needed to solve.

The system operates via a downloadable "mother app" incorporating - via icons - each of the specific solutions.

The subsystem allowing parents to speak with teachers is now being used by Rancagua's 27 schools, with their 19,402 students.

In contrast to classic group chat apps like Whatsapp, the system has a private chat feature for direct communication between teachers and parents.

Also, each year 13,000 driver's licenses must be renewed in Rancagua and this can now be done via the app in just minutes, a procedure that used to take at least an hour.

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