The Internet of Things is delivering a new era of smart cities and governments. The result, when used correctly, could include reduced operating costs, improved sustainability, better efficiency, and higher customer satisfaction. As IoT continues to evolve, we’re constantly discovering new ways to translate it into strong benefits for citizens — what are some of the top ways that IoT can be a smart solution for the public sector?
As governments have begun to explore IoT, their focus has built in specific areas, such as the implementation of “Smart Cities” which improve citizen services with solutions like “smart parking”, or “smart waste” removal. For instance, Big Belly Solar garbage bins update their status for collection routes, reducing the time that collection teams have to spend on emptying empty cans, and slowing down the time between emptying fuller cans.
However, smart cities can go far beyond the benefits of efficient trash collection. Gathering data on a consistent basis can offer greater protection for city residents too. For instance, California’s Caltech introduced a new “Quake Alert” project, which uses IoT sensors throughout the area to detect small tremors in the earth. That information can now predict an oncoming earthquake.
In the future, this advancement may even be able to send alerts to smartphones, giving people a chance to take cover. Not only can this potentially save thousands of dollars in property damage, but it could save lives too.
For many in the public sector, the aim with IoT is to limit costs throughout various applications, making the government more efficient. For instance, smart buildings can automatically detect the need for cooling and heating power, thereby reducing unnecessary energy waste. Telematics programs can evaluate and improve the efficiency of government vehicles, and some agencies are also using IoT applications for asset monitoring purposes.
IoT can even lead to opportunities for task automation, reducing costs and excessive labor in the workforce. For example, the Department of Defense recently turned to IoT to track the use of military and medical supplies. This assessment of valuable, real-time data can help the department to reduce waste, and find supplies when necessary.
By evaluating structured and unstructured social data, public sectors can respond quickly to changes in resident preferences, and respond to those who need assistance with greater efficiency. Algorithms could even help to suggest ways of assisting people who are in need, such as unemployed people or citizens in need of additional care.
Government agencies can use the data collected through IoT, as well as voice recognition and conversational algorithms when people call public sector help desks, to get a better insight into national sentiment, and discover what people want most from their government. This could help policy makers to prioritize and deliver new areas of public services.
The IoT also has applications for improving access to crucial resources. According to the United Nations Water Resources Group, current trends indicate that demand for water will overwhelm supply by 40% by 2030. Indeed, in California we are already facing extended droughts. Fortunately, IoT technology could help public sectors to define best practices for water supply and use, and identify areas to economize water use.
Not only can IoT devices point people towards nearby sources of water, but it can also suggest alternative routes for yield and delivery. This could be particularly crucial, as more than 40% of our current water infrastructure is outdated, losing 16% output during deliveries. IoT could indicate exactly where to repair, and adapt for better yield.
By offering a stronger insight into supply, demand, and citizen preference, IoT applications can help utilities and government bodies to work together and improve the governance of various public-sector solutions. There are various potential outcomes for IoT beyond those mentioned above. For instance, the US Geological survey is using sensors to monitor the contamination of lakes and rivers, while the General Services Administration measures the efficiency of green buildings.
As more research into the IoT emerges, the public sector will continue to find new and advanced ways of improving efficiency, productivity, and quality of life for citizens across America. Interested in developing an IoT app for your government or public service agency? Get in touch with us for a free consultation.