How has technology evolved to keep society connected?

If the last 6 months has taught us anything, it’s that technology plays a vital role in keeping society connected. Supermarket shopping and eating meals from your favourite restaurants have continued to be possible through the crisis thanks to online delivery services. And the usage of online ordering services is likely to stay for a while longer, with ONS statistics indicating that 60% of respondents are “uncomfortable” with dining out.

Technology has also proven to be fundamental for public services, with many operating remotely using new applications and systems. In healthcare, new chatbot services have been launched to ease resource constraints of the National Health Service and to keep healthcare providers connected with their patients where opportunities for physical interactions are limited. In education, learning has been able to continue through high definition video conferencing applications, facilitated by better network connectivity. This approach helps tutors reach a higher number of students by removing any physical classroom space constraints, whilst also being environmentally responsible.

Yet as our dependence on technology increases, this also highlights the increased security risks faced. One example is in video conferencing platforms, with some major vulnerabilities being unearthed demonstrating how organisations need to consider the security and stability of their services. Moreover, as more citizens operate remotely, unfortunately the threat of cyber-attack will continue due to dispersed network estates and a higher utilisation of mobile devices. We’ve already seen a circa 800% rise in these attacks since lockdown began, making data security and compliance of cloud services central to the evolution of IT strategies to keep citizens safe online.

Organisations that manage these risks proactively, can start to utilise cutting edge technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), to drive greater value from their data and improve citizen outcomes. Education organisations can improve the learning experience for students by providing targeted, tailored content based on student interests and ability, thereby moving education systems from a one-to-many experience to a real one-to-one environment. In hospitals, location-based services, such as IoT and big data, have the potential to transform the delivery of healthcare services. Asset tracking to manage key resources, such as ventilators, beds and medicines, can help to reduce waste and drive efficiencies.

UKCloud operates a multi-cloud platform, designed for the UK Public Sector to harness these innovative technologies: digital workplace, big data, AI, ML and IoT, whilst providing a safe and secure destination for citizen facing applications and services. To find out more, visit the Digital Workplace and AI web pages on our website.

This blog was written by UKCloud for techUK’s, ‘Building the Smarter State Campaign Week 2020’.