How IoT is being used in the public sector

Insufficient funding means the public sector is renowned for being slow-moving in adopting and experimenting with new technologies. However, the internet of things is very enticing for public services by providing comprehensive data flows.

The NHS, and a number of local councils in Britain are harnessing the power of connected things to provide insights into how to shape services and make them more streamlined, efficient and cost-effective.

Smart bins

Smart bins

Local authorities have now introduced smart bins that can convey important information about their contents. They have become monitoring devices that can be leveraged for increased sustainability or even improve traffic flows.

For example, some local councils have partnered with Bigbelly, a company offering smart bins that contain inbuilt solar-powered compaction technology that increases the unit’s capacity from 606 litres to 800 litres when full and provides information about how full the bin is. If it's not full, then waste trucks don't waste time collecting it.

Rugby Borough Council has introduced more than 23 smart bins, replacing 56 traditional bins.

In just a year, this reduced manual waste collections from 51,100 to 1,509.

NHS

NHS

NHS England began exploring ways in which the internet of things and other remote analysis tools could help diabetes patients manage their illnesses – and created a consortium of 10 companies to drive the project forward.

The West of England's Test Bed programme centres around self-management for diabetes care – it's possible, for example, to connect a glucometer up to the analytics platform created by HPE.

"With IoT, the ability to collect data all the time during your daily life is really critical. To be able to take that data and re-present it to people, so they can use that data to manage their lives in the way they would like to, is really a fundamental part of it," said director of enterprise at the West of England Academic Health Science Network (WoE AHSN), Lars Sundstrom.

Smart Parking

Smart Parking

Cardiff implemented 'smart parking' across the city in late 2017, embedding over 3,000 sensors in the road at paid for and disabled parking.

This means that anyone in the city - visitors or residents - can locate a free parking space through an app, easing up congestion and reducing pollution in the city.

Smart street lights

Smart street lights

As part of Edinburgh's energy-saving drive, smart streetlight controls are being implemented in 64,000 LED lights throughout the city, with the aim of completion by 2020.

Telensawas selected to provide the technology. Telensa PLANet is a wireless central management system which allows the city's lighting to be controlled remotely. The tech delivers real-time monitoring to track any faults rather than waiting for resident complaints or hiring teams to carry out checks at night.

Smart hospital beds

Smart hospital beds

NHS Scotland has piloted an IoT project in Caithness General Hospital, which involves connected hospital beds.

The beds are embedded with Bluetooth sensors, meaning they can relay information about their location and maintenance record. This aims to save NHS staff time tracking down beds and finding out their maintenance data.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.