Milton Keynes is about to become famous for something other than its roundabouts. The city is leading the way for public sector internet of things (IoT) use, V3 reports.
The city council has successfully implemented bespoke IoT technologies across its public services and is now calling for other local authorities to follow its lead in tailoring the technology to meet the needs of citizens.
Speaking at an IoT panel discussion at TechUK's Public Services 2030 Conference, Geoff Snelson, director of strategy at Milton Keynes Council, said the key to IoT implementation is a bespoke approach.
"Many of these solutions are known, but they need to be bespoke to the particular environment or circumstances of the place, and that requires a degree of interaction - people spending time together working through a solution collectively, rather than turning up with products expecting a city council, for example, to buy stuff."
He added: "There are very few examples of the actual implications in the field of IoT technologies in the public sector."
A number of IoT solutions have been deployed across Milton Keynes. These projects include trials of driverless cars, parking sensors, smart bins and expanding IoT connectivity across the city. The council is also planning to use accelerometers in smartphones in conjunction with a council app in order to to track people's movements around the city.
Milton Keynes is an innovator in the use of IoT to benefit public services, and an example for the wider public sector, said the panel. The public sector must figure out how it can embrace connected technology on a case-by-case basis, focusing on how the IoT can deliver results rather than the technology behind it, the experts added.
Dan Byles, MP for North Warwickshire and Bedworth, praised Milton Keynes Council's outcomes-led approach towards the IoT. He said: "It comes down to business case and real use case at the end of the day. No-one wants to live in a smart city, nobody wants to have an IoT-enabled council. They want to live in a city or town where the bins are emptied effectively, the transport flows work well, the energy works well. It's about the real outcomes."
The panel concluded that the IoT's role in the public sector is inevitable, particularly in view of the cost and efficiency benefits the technology offers. However, the public sector and technology industry must work together to find the best applications if IoT adoption is to become widespread by 2030 - as predicted by software firm ARM.
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