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5 technologies set to change government

Governments are embracing new technologies to deliver far-reaching economic and social benefits for their citizens, underpinning the digital economy. However, amid pressure on government CIOs to overcome legacy applications, here are five technologies set to transform government service provision.

1. Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are seen helping policymakers become more pre-emptive in resource optimization and predictive maintenance.

IDC estimates the U.S. government’s investment in cognitive and AI technologies will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 54.3 percent from 2018 to 2021, with applications ranging from coordinating traffic to digitizing backlogs of government documents.

“This is driven by long-term public sector goals of reducing spending and improving citizen services. AI, when integrated with a wide variety of government data collections, has the capability to leverage cost cutting while improving data access,” says IDC’s Shawn P. McCarthy.

2. Blockchain

Blockchain is considered by Gartner to have the biggest impact on non-financial uses such as public records, voting, and citizen transactions with government.

In the United States, a number of federal government bodies including Homeland Security, the Food & Drug Administration, and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command have awarded contracts for blockchain technology, with benefits including its interoperability and potential to cut costs.

However, Gartner expects it will be at least five to 10 years before blockchain matures to deliver substantial benefits, “but it will lead to radical transformation of some government functions and services.”

3. Conversational user interfaces

These allow interactions to occur in the user’s spoken or written natural language, making machines smarter and improving the ability to handle new situations. Instead of the user having to learn how to use the software, the interface learns what the user wants.

Gartner sees these interfaces as helping improve customer experience and effectiveness, while also reducing operating expenses and time spent learning computer semantics.

In the United States, conversational UI is seen making government more user-friendly, ensuring citizens get the right answers at the right time and in the right format.

4. Event stream processing (ESP)

ESP is a group of technologies that enable event-driven information systems, such as algorithmic securities trading, or location-based telecommunications services. Gartner cites its ability to improve decision-making and make faster responses to threats and opportunities as potential areas of government interest.

It sees ESP becoming increasingly important to the internet of things (IoT), customer experience management, and fraud detection.

“Traditional analytics applies processing after the data is stored, but for an increasing number of situations, these insights are too late,” says SAS’s Fiona McNeill.

“Directly working with event data, when they happen, allows for faster reaction time – even influencing a situation before it’s over.”

5. Smart workspaces

“Smart” workspaces benefit from the IoT’s growing digitalization of physical objects, helping to deliver new ways of working, scheduling, and collaborating, according to Gartner.

The impact for government and business includes improved employee productivity and enhanced citizen experiences as employees better use smart workspaces to serve clients.

A study by the U.S. General Services Administration found the potential for millions of dollars of savings via its “Total Workplace” initiative, which aims to reduce office space, foster collaboration, better manage IT spending, and increase energy efficiency.

As the United States embraces the digital revolution, the public sector is also benefiting from the latest technology trends to help enhance the citizen-government experience.