5th August 2016
How innovation can drive change in Local Government
I have been recently considering how innovative technology can support the future of health and care services as part of the contribution that Sopra Steria is making to Lord Patel of Bradford’s report ‘Breaking Barriers’ that was released on the 28th of June.
This consideration led me to look again at some of the recent innovations that Sopra Steria has introduced and particularly to reflect back upon the annual Sopra Steria innovations awards ceremony that I attended earlier in the year. I was very impressed by the number and quality of solutions that my winning colleagues across the world had developed through a wide range of innovation projects. In this blog, I highlight five of the projects that seem to particularly resonate with the provision of our own local public services.
Our overall innovation winners came from France with a project to assist schools and pupils to plan the school day. Pack ‘n’ school – the connected schoolbag
This project provides a small device to incorporate into a school bag that links with the pupil’s timetable in the ‘cloud’. At the beginning of the day, this device checks the contents of the bag and ensures that the pupil has all the books needed for the day’s lessons.
This simple solution would be a valuable aid to help teachers to deliver lessons more efficiently by ensuring pupils are ready to start learning at the start of lessons.
Another team from France proposed an inspection module that could be mounted on a drone to automatically detect variances from blueprints and plans.
The Foreman Drone
This innovative project equips a drone with software that can 3D scan a project under construction, make a real time comparison with a digital plan and detect discrepancies.
I can see a number of inspection and maintenance uses for this project in Local Government within services such as building control and planning, Street Scene management and Highways management, allowing a much more efficient usage and targeting of resources. An interesting project from Spain provides a game to support better recycling.
Green World Gaming
Citizens can play the Green World Game alone, with friends, family or neighbours. Points are awarded for the frequency and amount of recycling undertaken and then points can be converted to rewards. The Green World game provides a novel way for Local Government to promote recycling and to attain targets. Our colleagues in India have provided a project to build a real-time water pollution monitoring system.
Real-time water pollution monitoring system
This solution combines innovative software with a network of quality monitoring probes installed directly on waste outlets of factories to measure the quality of the water entering the main sewerage system. The data is then tracked and compared to defined norms, immediately highlighting all violations of pollution standards.
This innovation provides a clear opportunity for improving the efficiency and inspection routines of environmental services combining both immediate alerts with an accurate record to support potential prosecutions.
The final example I’d like to share is an excellent project from the UK, where biometrics, the internet of things and cloud technologies are combined to provide a solution to track and monitor farm animals.
The Connected Cow
This project uses biometric tags and tracking technologies to monitor farm animals, this tells the farmer immediately if an animal is sick, poisoned or simply lost. The immediate access to this data allows the farmer to react quickly to give the best chance of remedial treatment.
But how does this help Local Government you ask? Well, the next development of this product would be to move it into the health care sector. By the use of wearable monitors such as smart watches, the same technology can be used to monitor vulnerable citizens. If set parameters are broken such as heart rate or body temperature carers can be alerted to take immediate action to support the vulnerable individual. This could become an invaluable aid to health and care services and a lifesaver to vulnerable people.
These few examples will I hope to stimulate some debate about how digital solutions can support Local Government. The range and number of innovative ideas produced this year have been exceptional and solve so many problems across so many areas of life.
By Steve Knights, Local Government: Service delivery, Consultancy, Efficiency and Improvement, New initiatives, Innovation projects, Sopra Steria