Following a report by The Government Office for Science about the usefulness of the Internet of Things (IoT), it is interesting to observe the ways in which local government is beginning to reap the benefits of M2M.
The report states that the IoT is “a way of boosting productivity, of keeping us healthier, making transport more efficient, reducing energy needs and making our homes more comfortable”. O2 welcomes this report and strongly aligns with this point of view. Our experience of working with numerous local authorities, providing advice on streamlining and enhancing services through digital expertise, certainly demonstrates this. M2M really is having an effect on public amenities, as an increasing number of councils put M2M into practice at an everyday level, says Anton Le Saux, head of Connectivity and Partner Sales at O2 Telefónica UK.
A perfect example of this is Newcastle City Council, which worked closely with O2 to launch its SelfTrav app. With the use of tracking technology, this app assists young people with learning disabilities and allows them to safely use public transport. The app was developed to help those youths who want to be able to travel independently and inconspicuously alongside the general public. The app enables them to travel both safely and on their own, and can be used easily and discreetly, as young people generally carry smartphones at all times anyway. This app has allowed the council to update and modernise its special educational needs and disabilities transport. The project is explained in more detail here.
M2M technology can be applied to an array of local government services and could refine all sorts of public provisions, including parking, traffic flow systems, smart lighting, energy management and even the measurement of public transport journey times. Whilst some councils have taken time to really comprehend how the Internet of Things can be implemented and have an impact on their processes, there is an increasing number adopting the technology and seeing the benefits first-hand. And as this knowledge is gleaned and shared, understanding will follow. It is very likely that councils nationwide will put the IoT to work for them in some way in coming years, and that this implementation will improve services for residents.
The author of this blog is Anton Le Saux, head of Connectivity and Partner Sales at O2 Telefónica UK.
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