UK public sector turns to smart city tech to help cut costs

Local authorities are showing a growing interest in Internet of Things (IoT) and smart city technologies – partly because they want to improve public services, and partly because they see it as a way of driving down costs at a time of scarce resources.

Wider adoption of sensors and other new technologies in cities and towns will help councils provide more efficient public services in the face of booming populations and dwindling budgets, Techworld reported last week.

The IT news website quoted Darryl Salmons, chief information officer at infrastructure support provider Amey – a company that provides services across the public and regulated sectors, in fields such as road and rail maintenance, facilities management and waste collection.

Speaking at the recent CIO Summit in London, Salmons said that IoT and smart city technologies have matured to the point where they are now being demanded by Amey’s public and regulated industry customers. The IoT has become more tangible, and the underlying technologies have become more accessible, he said.

They [public sector customers] are now ringing up and saying ‘we need to be able to deliver all of the smart city stuff that people have been talking about’, and the reason is that they have been driven by these efficiency needs, Salmons explained.

They need to provide a better service to their end user – citizens – they are under pressure to drive down costs, they have to deliver efficiencies.

That ‘we don’t want a smart city’ is changing and customers are looking for this.

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