Part of the government’s role is to provide social protection for factors that make people vulnerable. For example, people face unemployment, health problems, and other factors that create physical, economic, and other problems in their lives. Government regulations work to reduce risks that make people vulnerable. When people face problems, public-sector social programs such as health insurance, social welfare, and others provide help.
Here’s how the Internet of Things (IoT) could help government agencies manage social protection programs more easily and effectively.
IoT’s potential for improving social protection
IoT technology can provide benefits for both government agencies and the people they serve. The public sector can use IoT to gather and process data with the goal of running its agencies better and improving services. IoT technology provides solutions to help the public sector work in a more streamlined manner. It can reduce public risks and improve access to social programs.
IoT enables government agencies to perform services better within a tighter budget. Since the cost of IoT technology has gone down and it helps create more efficient systems, it could stretch budgets farther to reduce the burden on agencies and offer more services to the public. IoT technology can also provide better solutions to keep up with risks associated with a changing world.
Directly impacting people’s lives
IoT-enabled networks can help identify risks, reduce vulnerabilities, and manage problems. They can connect “things” such as smart homes and devices with services that help individuals.
The IDC white paper, The IoT Imperative in Public Services: Government and Healthcare, offers the example of wheelchairs, wearable devices, and/or smart homes that assess the health and welfare of elderly and disabled people. Through IoT, connected “things” alert medical personnel when a person needs medical care. IoT can also connect home-bound people with a social support system, reducing vulnerabilities such as experiencing a medical emergency when alone. For example, if a person was unable to push a button because she became unconscious, the IoT device would alert emergency services.
This technology extends beyond houses into the communities where people live and work. Government agencies could use IoT to remotely monitor traffic lights, air quality, sound levels, and other factors that affect people’s lives on a day-to-day basis, managing these factors to improve overall quality of life and cut down on problems. For example, IoT could keep a traffic light green when it would benefit traffic patterns and fuel economy. This technology could also help government agencies keep track of assets such as buildings and roadways.
Challenges to using IoT in the public sector
While IoT shows a lot of promise for public sector applications, it is still used less broadly than in the business sector. Government agencies are commonly known to be slow to change. In addition, barriers such as restrictive regulations and legacy systems can hold back new technology. The Brookings Institution studied strategic plans of federal agencies in the United States and found that none of these agencies included IoT within their annual strategic plan.
In their article in Deloitte University Press, authors Max Meyers, Claire Niech, and William D. Eggers warn, “if public sector organizations do not start analyzing the implications of the IoT today, they risk being left behind, making it more difficult to effectively regulate or efficiently deliver services in this shifting reality.” IoT could help governmental agency better handle the problems they already face and create solutions that improve the lives of citizens, who increasingly expect government agencies to keep up with the changing technologies used in the business world.
Government agencies are tasked with helping reduce the risks people face and providing programs for people struggling with social challenges. IoT technologies provide solutions that can help government agencies better serve its citizens.
Learn how to bring new technologies and services together to power digital transformation: Download The IoT Imperative in Public Services: Government and Healthcare.