The power of IoT and AI to revolutionise public service delivery

When you consider macro technologies that have the power to redefine the way businesses, customers and citizens operate, there are two themes that immediately come to mind: Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). According to Gartner, these technologies are among the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020.

What exactly do we mean by IoT and AI?

IoT is any internet-connected device – which we all have today, including devices such as smart phones and wearables – that contains technology capable of communicating and interacting with both their internal states or other aspects of the external environment.

AI is the concept of enabling machines to learn. This helps create value from raw data through modelling, driving intelligence and enabling us to create valuable outcomes for organisations and individuals.

The two combined can transform the way public services operate.

IoT and AI in practice

More than the objects themselves, it’s the data those objects collect that makes IoT valuable. Data can be collected from multiple sensors and devices, then combined to help provide timely and relevant interventions to keep the individual safe. Let’s consider a police officer’s safety and wellbeing: data from a smartwatch that collects heart rate, real-time location and time of day can be overlaid with other information, such as weather and location risk profile, providing insight and awareness of the environment they are operating in. Collating situational data and overlaying it with environmental information using AI modelling turns raw data into insightful, actionable and valuable data, delivering intelligence we did not previously have.

Once you have this intelligence, supporting teams can coordinate interventions and trigger responses based on changes, such as an abnormally high heart rate. At this point the system can alert monitoring personnel that the individual is in a high-risk environment at night with cause for concern. The collated location data can then help identify the closest support teams, so the right resources can be called at the right time to assist the individual. This demonstrates how technology can provide important assistance to public service workers out in the field alone. Although technology is the key enabler, the combined insight and intelligence drives physical outcomes to support the lives of those looking after UK citizens.

To help support public sector efficiency, the combination of macro technologies can drive insight across multiple organisations, enabling them to work more closely together. For example, take a few environmental factors, such as a busy dual carriageway during a stormy winter. Wet roads coupled with freezing temperatures lead to damage and potholes that cause significant disruption during rush hour. The objective here is to treat the surface ahead of time, or as minor damage occurs, rather than deploying resources at a much later stage to resurface the road completely, causing more disruption to commuters at a higher cost for multiple organisations. The combined impact of these isolated factors can cause damage to cars, increasing insurance claims, and adversely affect the reputation of councils. AI and Machine Learning (ML) can provide early visibility of the deteriorating situation so that public services can take proactive action, such as allocating resources in advance where a combination of factors exist. This is only possible through the combination of physical devices collecting data (IoT) and digital processing turning insight into a more coordinated physical outcome that ultimately provides citizens with a better commute.

As an SME, UKCloud is well positioned to deliver new and agile technologies, such as IoT and AI, to help provide better services for today’s citizens.