To respond to challenges and operational efficiency pressures accelerated by the pandemic, governments turn to digital technologies such as AI, IoT, and edge computing.

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Governments worldwide face significant changes triggered by COVID-19, shifting political landscapes, and international attempts at hacking and information manipulation. To respond to the transformational challenges and operational efficiency pressures that have been accelerated by the pandemic, governments are investing in digital technologies such as AI, IoT, and edge computing.

Technology innovation has become an imperative to empower governments to make intelligent decisions about planning and monitoring the outcomes of critical COVID recovery programs, to deliver digital services that make the bureaucracy invisible for citizens and businesses, and to transform the experience for civil servants.

According to IDC, by 2024, 30% of agencies will invest in intelligent and prescriptive intelligent digital workspaces supported by digital-led operating models ; also, by 2025, 30% of cities will leverage automation via IoT, AI, and digital twins to blend the physical and digital and improve the remote management of critical infrastructure and digital services.

The government innovation journey must begin with reimagining the art of the possible of public service and how front-line civil servants can be empowered by technology to deliver more responsive, efficient services that make an impact on communities every day.

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Exploring the Art of the Possible of Public Safety, Defense, and Public Service

Let's look at agents in public safety operation control rooms. With technologies such as artificial intelligence, IoT, edge computing, mobile and BYOD, and video cameras, their daily routines will be very different five years from now. Once an event happens, advanced video analytics deployed at the IoT edge will trigger an alert. This will automatically send an emergency notification. Augmented reality apps and collaborative tools installed on patrol officers' mobile devices will coordinate the different first-responder crews. Digital evidence collected by body-worn cameras, drones, and real-time integration of social media feeds will be automatically tagged and archived and be easily searchable for investigators.

Defense logistics engineers are transitioning toward preventive activities. IoT sensors embedded in military equipment will help monitor wear and tear. Machine-learning algorithms will prioritize maintenance jobs and send them via APIs to asset tracking and management solutions to automatically issue work orders to 3D-print spare parts. Within a few hours the maintenance specialist will carry out the repair supported by secure, remote, collaborative work capabilities that ensures that all assembling and testing is done properly. The operational effectiveness of equipment will be dramatically increased and the opportunity costs of it sitting idle will be minimized.

The same technologies that can innovate policing and defense operations will transform the public services that citizens and businesses consume daily. Municipal social service case managers will have rich remote work capabilities that enable them to connect virtually with the families they take care of and to ask colleagues that are experts in specific fields, such as children with neuro-diverse ability, to run a joint case assessment session supported by high-quality video. They will then co-design personalized therapy and service plans in a shared workspace. The family will be able to securely access and review the plans and make sure that any updates are recorded in a secure blockchain.

The Three Foundational Pillars to Realize the Government 2025 Vision

Exploring the art of the possible of what AI, edge, IoT, video, blockchain, chatbots, and other emerging technologies can do to unleash the future of government for both civil servants and citizens is only the start of the journey. The necessary conditions to realize the benefits of that vision entail three foundational pillars:

• Ensuring high-capacity, resilient communication infrastructure that scales through a hybrid of fixed-line and wireless connectivity that ensures reliable and resilient connectivity from the IoT edge to core datacenters and cloud.

• Expanding collaboration across government departments and agencies with seamless remote access to workspaces, video collaboration, and working practices that enables governments to innovate service delivery.

• Deploying cybersecurity tools and policies that protect data in transit and at rest against external attacks and reduce the risk of human errors that lead to data leakage and loss.

Government IT leaders that take the long-term view to drive these investments will enable their agencies to seize the once-in-a-generation opportunity that COVID recovery offers them to increase productivity and make the bureaucracy invisible for citizens and businesses. The laggards will deliver ineffective services and waste taxpayer money.

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Massimiliano Claps

Massimiliano Claps

Research Director, IDC European Government Insights

With 18+ years’ of public sector experience Massimiliano (Max) Claps, Research Director, IDC European Government Insights, shares his expertise and answers difficult questions confronting governments and cities today.

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