How Can The Public Sector Play a Key Role in Adopting Frontier Technologies?

The GTEC Conference and Exhibition is taking place November 1 – 3, 2016 in Ottawa. Greg Reeder, Director of Department of Defense Innovation at Adobe sat down with our VP Marketing, Michelle Sklar for a brief discussion relating to the track they are sponsoring: Talking SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud).

MS: What are the key challenges that the government must address to seize the opportunities that mobile and wireless technologies bring to the public sector?

GR: In understanding what the challenges are, we must acknowledge they are just as much societal, as they are in the public sector. The first being ageing infrastructure. People are using old systems, and are reluctant to to change because of the billions of dollars already invested. But the speed of technology has far surpassed our infrastructure, and while this gives us opportunities for cloud computing, for example, it equally gives us security challenges.

However the biggest challenge, is culture. The culture of adoption, because people are used to what they are already using; they are used to how business is already being done. Running parallel to this is the culture of expectation; we expect tech to work a certain way. Different demographics have different expectations on how to use technology, and the next generation will change the landscape of how government uses technology, for example Samna Aziz, a 17 year old Canadian invented “bone cement,” a major medical advancement, for which she just won the Manning Innovation Award.

Another challenge, is what we refer to at Adobe as content velocity and connected experiences. A survey was done of people in the public sector, and the results showed that about 70% of those surveyed, stated they needed to create 10x more content for all of the channels, personalized experiences, and interests of the varied audiences. They reported being challenged by having to find new and interesting ways to communicate information.

The four topics we are covering during our session track at GTEC: social, mobile, analytics and  cloud, are going to explore how we manage all of this technology.


MS: A key area of interest for Wavefront is how we can help companies adopt frontier  technologies. What are your thoughts when it comes to leading organizational change?

GR: Well of course, the benefit for how government can adopt new technologies, is that they can mandate it through policy. Unlike business, which is driven by sales, revenues and customer acquisition, government has a responsibility to it’s citizens. When done effectively and for good, positive change can be mandated. The other thing is that government can be a great environment for small-level innovation. They can start small and scale big, in rapid or slower fashion, because they don’t have to worry about the revenue streams that go along with the cost of innovation. They know in the long term it is going to pay off in improved citizen services and reduced costs for taxpayers.

MS: What are some of the key opportunities in mobile and wireless technologies for the public sector?

GR: Analytics first and foremost, is the glue that holds all of the opportunities together. Many people in the public sector today don’t realize the power of data available to them. We can use analytics to help in both as citizens and government, in everyday decision making, around such things education, employment, finance, health care; and anticipatory analytics, to prevent crime, fires and car-crashes; even language translation on the fly. All of these are benefits to citizens that the government can implement just by having better analytics. Of course this also benefits the economy with the need for more data engineers and more jobs.

Other opportunities exist with mobile.  For example, by 2020, 67% of mobile devices will be smart-devices — which will be a tremendous benefit to government, such as providing mobile healthcare; with more accurate, on-site diagnosis and delivery of treatment. Imagine if we could offer that type of capability to our citizenry and extend technology to everything from managing forests, to increasing the yield of crops or even bolstering the digital economy. These advancements will increase international competitiveness and help position countries, such as Canada and the U.S., to have better placement on the world stage by being able to use mobile in a much more effective way to communicate with citizens.

To hear more about Greg Reeder’s insights on how mobile and wireless technologies are essential for improving the performance and productivity of the public sector attend the upcoming GTEC Conference and Exhibition. Receive a $200 registration discount and free expo pass with Wavefront’s exclusive discount code: WAVEFRONT.

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