Public sector benefits of IoT are limited - Milton Keynes Council exec
Public sector benefits of IoT are limited - Milton Keynes Council exec

Study finds that governments and public sector agencies are also adopting IoT, advanced analytics and machine learning to improve service.

The internet of things and other emerging technologies are increasingly being used by the public sector to help overcome persistent challenges such as regulatory compliance, outdated legacy IT infrastructures and organizational cultures, according to new research.

The survey of nearly 800 public service technology professionals across nine countries by Accenture, found that when the priority is improving citizen satisfaction, officials chose more-emergent technologies such as video analytics, biometrics, machine learning and the Internet of Things, according to survey results. More than three-quarters (78 per cent) of respondents report that implementing machine-learning technologies are either underway or completed.

According to the study, while more than two-thirds (70 percent) of public sector agencies are evaluating the potential of emerging technologies, only a small percentage (25 percent) is moving beyond the pilot phase to full implementation.

Nearly half (48 per cent) of the agencies already implementing advanced analytics technologies that include predictive modelling said their chief objective in implementing these tools is to improve and support their employees’ work, and four-fifths (80 percent) of respondents said that implementing emerging technologies will improve employees’ job satisfaction.

“Emerging technologies are proving to have tremendous potential value for enabling public service agencies to not only meet their key internal resource challenges, but also provide innovative approaches to address the evolving needs of their citizens,” said Terry Hemken, who leads Accenture’s Health & Public Service Analytics Insights for Government business.

“Agencies need to rotate to the new, embracing the full value of using data to take advantage of the power of social, mobile and self-serve technologies that the world is demanding.”

Public sector has opportunity to cut costs

Hubert Da Costa, VP of EMEA at Cradlepoint, told Internet of Business that as IT technologies continue to advance, but budgets for public sector IT departments are shrinking, connected devices present an opportunity to cut costs whilst improving output.

“Government departments, local authorities, emergency services, education and law enforcement are leading the way in this by implementing sensors connected with 4G LTE technology,” he said.

For instance, smart equipment with embedded sensors monitor firefighters’ location, body position, heart and respiratory rates, and body temperature. Public sector administrators avoid emergencies, reduce emissions, and save money by monitoring the structural integrity of buildings, bridges, and dams. In education, connected school buses enable educators to foster in-vehicle learning during field trips and trips to sporting events.

“By connecting devices to wireless networks, public services have a greater level of control and a more in-depth method of data collection than ever before. This efficiency is rapidly generating a smarter world, and the pace of development is only going to continue,” he added.

Improve care

Lee Cottle, director at Push Technology, told Internet of Business that with the use of mobile devices, real-time patient information could be shared amongst nursing teams to help them improve care and recognise issues faster.

“For example, when changing shift throughout the week, real-time information could be used to monitor patients and share knowledge to ensure that care is kept at an optimum level. Furthermore, personal patient needs on the ward could be monitored and shared in real-time, so all staff are aware of prescribed medicines, dietary needs as well as regular checks that need to take place,” he said.

Notifications could be shared to inform nurses of when to turn immobile patients, while patients who can walk around could be tracked to ensure they are safe on the hospital grounds, added Cottle.

Read more: Milton Keynes Council exec: IoT benefits limited