6 Ways Mobile Technology Helps Public Agencies Drive Efficiencies and Productivity

As organizations that are established and run by the state, local and the U.S. Federal Government, public agencies orchestrate a wide range of services that people rely on in their daily lives. Whether it’s a school district that’s teaching children, a transit authority that operates city buses, or a parks & recreation department that oversees a region’s outdoor public spaces, these agencies all benefit greatly from mobile technology that helps them drive efficiencies and productivity while responding to the public faster and more efficiently.   

“Mobile technology, a very powerful productivity booster, offers the public sector a chance to hit the reset button,” according to Deloitte’s Gov on the go. “Mobile presents the government with a unique opportunity to drive efficiency and productivity and—at the same time—create vast improvements in the services it provides citizens.”

But mobile technology is only the starting point for governmental agencies that now have advanced technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), cloud-based applications, integrated thermal imaging, and RealSense camera technology at their avail. Here are six ways mobile technology is—and will continue—supporting public agencies’ push to adopt more mobility:  

  • More secure, reliable mobile phones and laptops. Security is always the highest priority when dealing with government data, which means both integrated hardware and software encryption are musts. Devices with biometric authentication features such as iris scanners and fingerprint recognition are available, affordable, and feature robust security capabilities. “Modern smartphones, tablets, and laptops provide today’s government and public sector employees the ability to effectively perform their duties no matter where they are, with the performance they expect and the security that IT demands,” Insight’s Rich Nockels points out. When the state of Hawaii equipped public employees with mobile devices and moved to using electronic signatures on digitized forms, for example, it effectively simplified document processing across its eight main islands. Other key benefits include cost savings, productivity boosts, document tracking improvements, and stronger security measures.


  • Even more IoT devices, sensors, and connectivity points. Made up of devices that are “connected” together—and to the Internet—the Internet of Things (IoT) is playing an increasingly important role in governmental activities right now. Take waste management, for example. According to IoT For All, the ultimate goal of IoT applications for the public sector is producing leaner operations and delivering higher quality services to citizens. “A growing collection of interlinked autonomous systems are managing everyday urban operations and improving both citizen experiences and our carbon footprint,” the publication notes, pointing to ISB Global’s use of sensors installed on each garbage bin, cloud-based data collection and synthesis, and a user interface / smart app, as one effective use of IoT in waste management. “Their systems also capture data such as weight, volume, costs, truck number, and feed all the information back which can further automate billing and invoicing operations.” The same approach can be taken by municipal waste departments, recycling centers, and other public-sector entities that want to fully leverage IoT in their operations.


  • An entirely new breed of surveillance solutions. The safety of citizens, staff, and assets is an essential part of the risk management in many environments for government agencies, such as military infrastructures, prisons, and public buildings. Using video surveillance imaging technology increases situational awareness of events as they unfold, improves response time during emergencies, and documents evidence that aids in the arrest, investigation, and prosecution of criminals. The devices’ analytics capabilities allow employees to receive alarm messages whenever unexpected images are detected, along with visual confirmation for greater intelligence.


  • Devices that put artificial intelligence to the test. Global Government Forum predicts AI will have a huge impact in 2019, noting that agencies that adopt the technology will be able to analyze large volumes of data quickly, automate repetitive processes, increase transparency, and improve efficiency of operations. “It’s a great time for government entities to think about how they can improve their operational strategies with AI,” SAS’ Mary Beth Moore points out in the article. “In recent years, government agencies have increased efficiency and effectiveness by finding new and better ways to use their data. And big data and analytics are helping governments better serve citizens in a more cost-effective manner.” To get there, Moore says public agencies should establish AI leadership teams to define business and technology directions; set up AI pilot programs; focus on good data management (“AI systems are only as good as the data they’re fed,” she writes); and clearly articulate the task(s) that they expect AI systems to perform.


  • Mobile thermal imaging that tackles a wide range of scenarios. Sophisticated devices that process temperature differences across various surfaces and display it on a screen, thermal imaging devices are essential for government employees who need to find heat loss or escalation, take no-contact measurements, and record photo documentation. Integrated into a mobile device and application software, thermal imaging translates thermal energy (heat) into visible light to analyze a specific scene or object and produce “thermograms” that are captured, analyzed, and shared remotely in real time. “Thermal imaging is used in all sorts of different scenarios—utility and energy companies use it to see where a house might be losing heat through door and window cracks.” Craig Lloyd writes in How Does Thermal Imaging Work? “Police helicopters use it to locate suspects at night. Weather stations use it to track storms and hurricanes … And some home security cameras, like the one on the Ring Doorbell, can use it too.”


  • Precision-oriented RealSense technology. A highway maintenance technician needs to measure a crack in an overpass and understand the extent of the damage; a field lieutenant wants to gauge the distance between two critical points; and an Army warehouse manager wants to maximize a facility’s usage of space. Operating in worlds where precision is extremely critical—and room for error is minimal—these government employees can utilize purpose-built mobile devices with advanced RealSense™ technology, changing the way they work entirely. Integrated with mobile devices, RealSense uses precise 3D depth/perception sensing, movement tracking, and facial recognition capabilities. Equipped with movement-tracking capabilities, these devices help technicians see if machinery or parts are moving correctly—or not. Not only does this open up a whole new frontier for problem discovery and remediation, but it’s also scalable for a wide range of public agencies.

More Mobile Tech Ahead

It’s been three years since Steven VanRoekel, the U.S. CIO at the time, revealed a new federal strategy focused on incorporating mobile tech into federal government activities. The imperative was two-pronged: improve access to government services for Americans while also supporting public agencies’ use of devices, applications, and data in smart, secure, and affordable ways. With a renewed effort underway, expect to see more public agencies leveraging the power of mobility across their operations, equipping their employees with more wire-free devices, and taking advantage of advanced technologies like AI and IoT. 


Learn more about Panasonic and our mobility solutions for Government and Public Safety.