A data driven government helps drive government efficiency

Author: Rose de Fremery

The rapidly evolving digital era has reshaped our economy and created a world where people have nearly limitless access to information and the ability to learn more and do more than at any time in history.

Fourth Wave technologies, such as internet-enabled Operational Technology (OT), Internet of Things (IoT) devices, 5G mobile edge computing (MEC), and artificial intelligence (AI) are gathering large amounts of data to help improve decision-making, and deliver services that are both more responsive and personalized, generating a data driven government.

These trends have fueled citizen demand that government modernize to provide the same digital consumer experiences they have in other areas of their lives.

So, how can our federal, state and local governments use these technologies to help improve service delivery and expand their offerings?

What is possible with a fast, data driven government?

Timely data analytics are driving and enabling data driven government innovations, ranging from reducing energy costs like heating expenses in government facilities to advancements in public safety and emergency response communications that can benefit entire communities. Here's a glimpse at what is possible with data analytics in government.

Data analytics for federal government efficiency

Federal government agencies are leveraging data in several important ways, beginning with security insights. "The government is collecting a massive amount of network security data," says Scott Andersen, distinguished solutions architect at Verizon. "There is the potential that every single federal agency of the U.S. federal government as well as every single agency of every state could get cyber attacked, and they collect data about it. They're moving a lot of data around, trying to watch, verify, validate and secure their networks."

Federal agencies also collect and analyze a range of public safety data. For example, as some observers may already know, the Department of Transportation collects information about what transpires on the nation's roads.

There are myriad examples beyond security and safety use cases. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) collects precise data about our environment while the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) collects quite a bit of information to determine whether an individual or company is paying the proper amount of taxes. In essence, each federal agency has its reason, based on its unique mission, to gather and analyze a wide range of data analytics. And as we'll see, recent technological advancements are allowing them to make use of these analytics in increasingly transformative ways.

Data analytics for state and local government efficiency

Data driven government is helping state and local governments re-envision the services they provide, too. Smart data analytics solutions involving Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and 5G networks can help local authorities perform preventative maintenance on critical infrastructure that can lead to cost savings. "IoT sensors can be deployed within infrastructure. You can put them in roads, you can put them in pipes, and you can put them in facilities to make sure that you're thinking about when those things need to be replaced," says Brett Barganz, senior principal sales at Verizon.

"For example, if you have sensors on a bridge, you can tell whether or not a bridge is having structural challenges that need to be addressed. Are you using your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) at the appropriate times during the day? Could you potentially be turning it off at certain times when people are not present so you do not have to spend money to heat a building where people are not present?" he adds. These proactive measures can allow for efficiencies, empowering state and local agencies to become even better stewards of the public funds that have been entrusted to them.

Law enforcement organizations can leverage IoT data and 5G MEC to help improve public safety, advancing their capabilities beyond what was possible a few short years ago. They can use intelligent lighting and intelligent video to help deter crime or monitor whether or not dangerous objects are being left in certain places. "Did someone walk up and just leave a suitcase somewhere in the middle of a crowded square?" Barganz asks. In these situations, intelligent video may help spot such objects right away, so the appropriate personnel can respond.

Automated license plate recognition (ALPR) technology helps to identify stolen vehicles, making it possible to recover them faster. If needed, data analytics can enable local authorities to promptly deploy field forces from the city’s or town's public works, police and fire departments when the situation calls for it. All of these data driven government advancements make services more effective and responsive for constituents.

Advanced network infrastructure helps unlock data analytics in government

Data can help enable government efficiency at all levels, but collection alone is not sufficient to deliver these enhancements. IoT sensor data, once collected, must also often be quickly moved over a network to a point of aggregation in order to be put into proper context accurately. "We work alongside a number of extremely valuable partners to help the federal government move these data sources to a variety of locations," Andersen says. One such partner is a premier digital infrastructure firm. "We are helping our federal customers move their data from the cloud, onto their premise, from their premise into the cloud, so that they can have the right data at the right place at the right time. This way, they can act on it," he explains.

Federal and state government agencies are already using these capabilities to help solve traffic problems on the nation's highways. First, they pull in and analyze massive amounts of traffic data from the major highway corridors. Then, they begin analyzing it to figure out how to improve traffic safety along those highways. What they discover may contradict their initial assumptions. For example, an increase of accidents on a segment of a highway could be due to too many trucks in that area or because certain drivers are speeding. Government agencies equipped with the right insights can accelerate root cause analysis to help make changes that can help make driving conditions safer for everyone.

Discover what is possible with a fast, data driven government

Government agencies at the federal, state and local levels have always been tasked with serving constituents and efficiently managing taxpayer resources. Constituents, for their part, have high expectations for the government agencies that serve them, and they're reaching out with requests in greater numbers. However, agencies have not always found it easy to deliver on these expectations or provide the level of responsiveness that would be considered ideal.

The tremendous growth of IoT and the power of 5G MEC is changing the game, driving solutions that can allow government agencies to deliver more effective services with leaner resources and help move the needle on their missions to serve the public good. Whether rapidly detecting water main leaks, gaining situational awareness to help combat crime, easing traffic flow or proactively identifying public infrastructure that must be repaired, timely data analytics are helping government agencies re-envision what they can achieve for their constituents.

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The author of this content is a paid contributor for Verizon.