A lot of discussions regarding the Internet of Things have focused largely on consumer based initiatives—a vertical that has undoubtedly been at the forefront of driving the IoT market. But what about the public sector? Largely ignored due to being less glamourous than consumer wearables, innovation in this sector is currently having the biggest effect on the quality of our day-to-day lives.
Industry leaders in this space state that:
“Innovation happens when we have a culture of change—a new breed of innovation is facilitating an incremental, but transformational creativity in end-to-end automated processes involving people, systems, and intelligent “Things”.
The government has a lot to benefit from adopting IoT driven projects, especially where people and business processes are concerned. Cisco refers to these projects under the umbrellas of “Smart+Connected communities” because both are two sides of the same city coin. The city can tap many new advantages: smart transportation (parking, traffic), better security, and city-wide Wi-Fi availability, to name a few.
What is involved in deploying IoT in the Public Sector
Public sector projects are mainly dominated by infrastructure projects that ultimately help to reduce consumption, save costs, and aid efficiency. Currently we can see this most established in our connected communities in the form of utilities, traffic and road management.
Below are some examples of these projects:
Devices used on the highways, bridges and roads are becoming smart if not smarter. In Sydney the New South Wales Transport Management Centre built a seamless decision-based incident management system that enables tracking, managing, and responding to events. The new system was more efficient, leveraging more than 20,000 connected devices to route and resolve faults in an end-to-end digital process.
With the countless smart connected devices in our homes we’re constantly improving our personal energy consumption. Using the same technology, buildings and factories are becoming increasingly intelligent in conserving energy. These smart connected devices enable governments to realise greener buildings, greener city lighting, and an overall greener environment for the city and community.
You have probably avoided highways or cities in the past due to congestion and parking challenges. However, we have now started seeing some projects coming along that may provide solutions to these challenges for drivers. Siemens has introduced a smart parking solution using radar sensors on street lamps to detect and forecast the availability of parking spaces. The intelligent system can proactively inform the driver of the availability of spaces, while also providing an optimised destination to the driver through aggregation with public transportation information.
According to the McKinsey Global Institute, “The Internet of Things: mapping the value beyond the hype” published in June 2015, IoT could unlock US$ 930 billion to 1.66 trillion of value in cities by 2025.
In the UK, IoT driven initiatives are becoming more commonplace. Back in December 2015, the UK Government announced that Manchester had won a £10 million backing for their CityVerve project that aimed to improve services with IoT technology—devices, sensors, connectivity and analytics—of which the key areas would be healthcare, transport, energy, the environment, and the community.
Is IoT in the public sector restricted by budgets?
One of the main barriers in the past for IoT investment, especially the public sector, was funding. However, the message we got from the recent Connected Cities USA conference was, “With the Internet of Things exploding across the globe, cities that once were restricted by shrinking budgets and an aging workforce are now finding they can modernise their infrastructure projects quickly and more efficiently by employing smart technologies.”
Governments are now looking working leaner in their processes, and IoT is supporting this—nearly half say that implementing intelligent technologies has reduced costs because it allows them to work smarter. More IoT investment in infrastructure, asset management, traffic, transportation, citizen experience, and healthcare is on the horizon. This focus on delivering smarter services will result in improving the way we interact within communities and our lives in general.