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Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Strategic Technology Trends for Smart Government

The convergence of powerful forces -- such as mobile devices, cloud services, big data and the internet of things -- will drive new innovation within the government sector, according to the latest global market study by Gartner. Their analysts have highlighted the strategic technology trends for Smart Government projects.

"Smart government integrates information, communication and operational technologies to planning, management and operations across multiple domains, process areas and jurisdictions to generate sustainable public value," said Andrea Di Maio, managing vice president at Gartner. The key trends for smart government include:

Mobile Citizen Engagement

Several inquiries with Gartner government clients reveal an interest in providing citizen-facing services using mobile devices, as well as leveraging social networking software functionality. This interest is driven by a combination of pressure coming from the political leadership and from opportunities that new technologies present.

The suitability of government services to be delivered over a mobile channel depends on a combination of demographics, frequency and recurrence of use, immediacy and urgency of use, potential level of automation, relevance of location information for service delivery, and how compelling the use of the service is to citizens.

Hybrid IT and Open Cloud Services

Governments worldwide continue to pursue both public and private types of cloud services, but the focus is shifting from developing internal cloud services to allowing agencies to purchase commercially provided but governmentally restricted services. For example, government clouds have shifted email service in a number of agencies from public platforms to government platforms.

Meanwhile, more open public clouds are being emphasized in several countries mostly for non-critical CRM-like applications. The main objectives pushing cloud adoption have been cost reduction, speed of procurement and deployment, and responsiveness to regulations and needs for cost cutting.

The public cloud is also gaining momentum as governments seek savings via consolidated procurement.

Big Data and Actionable Analytics

Big data continues to present government with information management and processing issues that exceed the capability of traditional IT to support the use of information assets. Existing practices that selectively evaluate which data should be integrated are being challenged by the realization that all data can be integrated with technologies that are specifically developed to do so.

The adoption of big data concepts and initiatives in the public sector varies widely among jurisdictions and, to date, is limited to specific use cases such as fraud, waste and abuse detection; enhanced security capabilities; public health surveillance; healthcare management; or combining data from IT and operational technology (OT) applications to enhance security monitoring or increase situational awareness.

Governments are searching for ways to use big data to gain business process efficiencies and reduce costs, but are having limited success.

The Internet of Things

The Internet is expanding beyond PCs and mobile devices into enterprise assets such as field equipment, and consumer items -- such as cars and televisions. Governments, as well as most enterprises and technology vendors, have yet to explore the possibilities of an expanded Internet and are not operationally or organizationally ready.

Smart city plans in several jurisdictions aim at exploring the ability to process huge masses of data coming from devices such as video cameras, parking sensors, air quality monitors and so forth to help local governments achieve goals in terms of increased public safety, improved environment, better quality of life.