The city of Leeds collected data from IoT sensors installed in waste bins during the Covid-19 pandemic. Using this information, they were able to monitor which areas of the city remained popular, informing policies and advising businesses on where to operate, wrote ZDNet.

Many governments are using innovative technology to better deliver citizen services. Ten of this year’s most exciting public sector technology trends were discussed by Brian Chidester, Head of Worldwide Industry Strategy, Public Sector at OpenText, in a recent ebook.

He highlights four key technologies that have been driving public services forward. He shares more on analysing data for greater personalisation, records management, interconnected devices, and hyperautomation.

1. IoT

IoT sensors are relaying on-the-ground information to government offices. One example of this is with law enforcement, wrote OpenText. IoT devices in police cars, ambulances and fire trucks communicate with one another to provide real-time information on emergency situations.

Brian Chidester, Head of Worldwide Industry Strategy, Public Sector, OpenText

The capabilities of IoT can grow when combined with 5G and edge computing, writes Chidester. Edge computing processes and stores data closer to the devices themselves, rather than having it done at a data centre far away.

This allows public sector officials deployed in the field “to quickly assemble and analyse data” on site without having to transmit it “back and forth”, highlights Chidester. 5G can also provide fast and stable connectivity for this transmission of data.

Sensors on the roads can recognise an accident and then process that data through AI on site, he gives as one example. The AI can then open up new traffic lanes to minimise congestion, he shares.

Reducing the distance between data processing and collection will improve cybersecurity as “data is always at higher risk when it’s in flow”, states Chidester.

2. Records management

“You can’t build programs at the scale at which governments are trying to” without a system that protects the “hygiene of the data”, Chidester says. Having searchable and clean records means faster and more convenient data access for public officials.

OpenText offers a records management system that can record and make available any sort of file, from PDFs to images and sound files.

One example of this is the European Court of Human Rights. It uses OpenText email archiving systems to index and retrieve information it receives. This is less of a burden on the email system, it protects long-term storage and makes information searchable, OpenText reported.

The court saw productivity rise by 60 per cent and the adoption of the digital archiving system eradicated costly, paper-based processes, it continues. “Users report that they can find what they need and quickly” said John Hunter, head of the IT Division at the court.

Yammie Wong, Sales Director, OpenText Southeast Asia

“Leaders in the public and private sectors are often playing catch up with the amount of information they are collecting, we need to lay the data management groundwork now so we don’t hold back on the potential progress that analytics can bring”, said Yammie Wong, Sales Director at OpenText Southeast Asia.

3. Data analytics

Personalised citizen services will be the future, and data is “the linchpin for that”, says Chidester. This will take the form of recommending relevant services to citizens, in “an Amazon-like approach to citizen service delivery”, he explains.

For example, if a citizen was applying for a permit, data analytics will help recommend other requirements that relate to that paperwork. If there is an annual renewal requirement, the system could send automatic reminders, he says.

The Canadian government used data analytics to understand the thoughts of attendees at a global summit they hosted, reported OpenText. The government was able to identify common areas of interests by analysing the comments made by visitors on their respective social media.

4. Hyperautomation

Governments’ purse strings have become tight in the pandemic, but they continue to face a high demand for new digital services, explained the ebook. Automating digital processes will be crucial to meeting demands with limited resources.

Governments are looking to automate tasks using AI and robotics. For example, OpenText assisted the government of Qatar in developing a one-stop e-government portal in the lead up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, its website reports.

Hukoomi allows citizens to apply for licenses, register for training courses

and send feedback to government agencies. The platform is powered by automation to ensure citizens get all the information and services they need, Chidester says.

Randy Goh, Regional Vice President, OpenText Southeast Asia

“The pandemic has led many organisations to prioritise employee wellness and morale,” said Randy Goh, Regional Vice President, OpenText Southeast Asia. “To achieve this on the ground, adopting automation to help organise and analyse data will relieve a heavy burden on the workforce, letting them focus on more meaningful tasks,” he highlighted.

Covid-19 has challenged government services, forcing them to adopt new technology to meet resource constraints. The technology trends of the year reflect how important data is, and how it should be shared, analysed, and automated for the betterment of citizen services.

Images by OpenText