By Chuck Brooks, Vice President and Client Executive, Department of Homeland Security
We are emerging into a digital era comprised of more than 50 billion connected devices, smart cities, smart homes, smart businesses, and smart governments. Almost everything and anything will be interfaced with sensors and fully automated in the near future. It’s safe to say that our lives are going to be transformed completely because of digital technology. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, the Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to impact economies up to $6.2 trillion annually by the year 2025.
The economic and scientific implications of the IoT and the new digital economy, is creating much discussion and speculation among thought leaders. The conceptual framework of both are vast, nebulous, and encompass many “disruptive” technological topics including; big data, predictive analytics, cybersecurity, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, wearables, embedded internet, virtual realities, the cloud, and mobility. The list is almost endless and correlates to how we function with transportation, public safety, health, energy, entertainment, finance, retail, and every other sector that I failed to mention.
As we rapidly continue to evolve into the IoT and the new digital economy, a thought comes to mind: how do we monitor and service the IoT? One thing to keep in mind is that as IoT evolves, government agencies will need to keep up with customer relationship management all while being resilient at the same time.
Responsiveness, scalability, processes, and efficiency are needed to best service any new technology or capability. In the private sector, business process outsourcing (BPO) and IT outsourcing are allowing companies, institutions and organizations to offsite much of their operational work for digitization and document management, transaction processing, and customer care desks and help centers.
Experienced companies who manage BPO customer service operate by employing the best technical and commercial practices. These companies have invested in the “latest and greatest” automation tools, image detection technologies and voice analytics.
In the public sector, government agencies are being tasked to keep pace with expanding customers service requirements emanating from the connected economy. New citizen engagement strategies involving technology, policy, programs, and intra/inter-agency collaboration are required to address the avalanche of needs and fixes associated with interoperability and the IoT of smart government. The same BPO approaches of automation and digitization that are being utilized in the private sector are now being adopted into government agencies including call centers, data centers and document record centers. Government agencies must also keep abreast of new digital trends.
Last April, at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Dubai, the “nexus of forces” converging to create technology trends for smart government were identified. The included 1)P ersonal Mobile Workplace, 2) Mobile Citizen Engagement, 3) Big Data and Actionable Analytics, 4) Cost Effective Open Data, 5) Citizen Managed Data. 6) Hybrid IT and Cloud, 7) Internet of Things, 8) Cross Domain Interoperability, 9) BPM for Case Management, and 10) Gamification for Engagement. I agree will their identification of trends and add that category 7 is the nexus glue.
Andrea Di Maio, Managing Vice President at Gartner, summed up the strategic technology trends: “Smart government integrates information, communication and operational technologies to planning manage and operations across multiple domains, process areas and jurisdictions to generate sustainable public value.”
Indeed, generating sustainable public value will determine the success of the IoT and the new digital economy. There will be a growing requirement for accountability that will be measured by constituents and consumers on the rapid ability to fix problems and address issues. When things are interrupted, broken, or need to be investigated, they need to be effectively serviced both in industry and in government or the system will fail.
Charles (Chuck) Brooks serves as Vice President/Client Executive for DHS at Xerox. Xerox is a global product and services company that serves clients in 160 countries. Chuck served in government at the Department of Homeland Security as the first Director of Legislative Affairs for the Science & Technology Directorate. He also spent six years on Capitol Hill as a Senior Advisor to the late Senator Arlen Specter and was Adjunct Faculty Member at Johns Hopkins University where he taught homeland security and Congress. Chuck has an MA in International relations from the University of Chicago, and a BA in Political Science from DePauw University. Chuck is published on the subjects of innovation, public/private partnerships, emerging technologies, and issues of cybersecurity.