Beyond blockchain

Navigating disruption in complex times

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light bridgeAs we enter what the World Economic Forum is calling the Fourth Industrial Revolution, public sector agencies globally are experiencing a series of rapid, momentous changes, the pace and scale of which are unprecedented. Technologically, this era of disruption is attributed to “multiplied innovations,” or quantum leaps in technological advances relating to intelligence, connectivity and the speed of data processing.

This disruption is attributed to the convergence of cloud, social, mobile and big data technologies in tandem with innovation accelerators like artificial intelligence (AI), IoT, app development platforms, 5G, robotics, AR/VR, the distributed cloud, and an increasingly powerful edge. There is a need for a trusted, proven technology partner to help navigate this disruption. However, enterprises cannot do this alone; this disruption requires the breadth and strength of the partner ecosystem.

Three technologies in particular — 5G, edge processing and AI — will profoundly impact virtually every aspect of government from policy development and governance, to operations and service delivery.

Explore the new IBM Edge Ecosystem

Capitalize on 5G with a trusted ecosystem

5G innovations are disrupting the connectivity space. 5G means faster, more reliable, and immediate connectivity that is able to clearly handle more complex rich media like streamed video, augmented and virtual reality applications, and is catalyzing applications being developed.

Edge compute fosters new use cases by enhancing reliability, connectivity, security, latency, and, most obviously, data processing closer to where it is created. State and local government are fundamentally reliant on pervasive embedded intelligence via low power sensor deployments spanning broad ecosystems. For example, officer wearable solutions and autonomous vehicles are all reliant on real-time data exchange.

Only a couple of technology vendors offer a full spectrum of 5G technologies. Samsung’s portfolio of 5G capabilities spans the chip set, the end user devices, and the 5G network. As agencies look to capitalize on 5G, it will be important to turn to providers with end-to-end solutions as they both simplify and de-risk implementation.

Edge compute drives real-time decisions

Edge compute power is becoming better positioned to meet real-time data demands by processing more data, more quickly at the edge. By processing data closer to where it is generated, edge compute power minimizes data transfer, yielding lower latency and better overall speeds; edge processing also addresses privacy concerns as data is not collected or stored centrally.

At a macro level, state and local governments are reliant on edge compute for success, as IoT devices require edge compute capabilities to collect, analyze, and morph data into actionable insights and real-time decisions. Automatic license plate recognition, with plate identification occurs at the edge, only flagging and storing violations.

The interconnectedness of AI: Changing the way public agencies operate

With the growth of data generated by sensors, video sources, social media feeds, and other niche digital technologies, the volume of data generated, processed, analyzed and stored by public sector agencies is unprecedented and increasingly unmanageable. Artificial intelligence is key to propelling organizations through this disruption as it helps organizations extract valuable, accurate, and timely insights from the data. As AI proliferates in government agencies and is deployed for mission-critical operations, it will make or assist in decisions having significant impact on almost every aspect of individuals’ lives.

Looking inside the public sector workforce, AI is poised to dramatically catalyze public sector workflow; it is being used by public sector workers to focus less on mundane tasks, and more on high value work. For example, law enforcement agencies are using AI as a force multiplier to analyze vast swaths of previously siloed data, to generate leads and identify offenders more quickly. Health and human services agencies are using AI to unearth hidden linkages that are useful in addressing the opioid crisis. Municipal service requests are being radically transformed by AI-driven customer service bots that can help residents with service requests and information.

Chart your course with the right partners

As we look forward, the next transformational wave will be characterized by profound leaps in automation, autonomous systems, and hyper connectivity driven by real-time edge processing of sensor data, and AI and machine language-driven processes and services. As agencies struggle to figure out how 5G, edge, and AI all dovetail, it will become imperative to ensure that as they’re experimenting, they are fully leveraging the suite of next-gen capabilities. Complex capabilities require strategic, tested, visionary partner ecosystems.

IBM is addressing this disruption with a strong ecosystem of partners like Samsung, SAP, Cisco, Salesforce and Apple; moving forward, IBM will need to address the challenge of convening a host of smaller ecosystem players. In the near-term, the quality and diversity of the partner ecosystem will gain in importance to address solution complexity.

Given that the disruption is ongoing, it will be critical to work with a trusted convener within the partner ecosystem and to fully understand how to leverage multiplied innovations for the best outcomes.

Be sure to read my other blog posts in this IDC series sponsored by IBM, Technology for good: Advancements with social responsibility and Heightened focus on security for public sector agencies to learn more.

Hear more about what’s happening with 5G for the enterprise

Ph.D., Research Vice President, Smart Cities and Communities – Public Safety, IDC

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