IoT Local Gov Blog

How can Scottish councils deliver the smart cities citizens are looking for?

17 December 2019

This month, new research commissioned by Capita on behalf of the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN) has been launched – it is the second in a series of three reports looking at the digitisation of public services in Scotland.

The Scottish Government’s aim in its 2017 digital strategy was to, “…put digital at the heart of everything we do – in the way in which we deliver inclusive economic growth, reform our public services and prepare our children for the workplace of the future.” The research explores this theme, and sets out to look at the digital initiatives Scottish citizens are keen to see implemented in local government services.

There are currently 32 local councils and 23 other significant public bodies and agencies in Scotland* – with some of those organisations delivering services to remote and island regions. Not only could greater digital access to local councils help bridge the potential distance to services for the one million Scottish citizens living in remote, rural and hard-to-reach areas, but it could also pave the way to smart cities. From improving traffic flow to monitoring heat and energy consumption, developing smart cities can create safer, greener, more efficient, and more pleasant places for citizens to live.

In this research, we asked 2,000 Scottish citizens how they think local government services will be impacted by smart, connected technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT). 69 per cent overall said digital access to local government services (e.g. online chat with a council, registering to vote online) influences where they opt to live, and 83 per cent believe the IoT could enhance the delivery of local council services.

When it comes to smart cities, there were some variations between age groups and also between respondents living in regions such as the Highlands, compared to those in urban areas. In the report, we explore some of the possible reasoning behind these differences. The report also features Tony Gribben, Country Manager at Cisco Scotland, discussing how smart cities can deliver better public services, particularly through the use of IoT devices.

It is clear technology has the potential to enrich the local government sector, from delivering services to providing data that can help inform new council policies. In the report, we look at a successful case study of a public Wi-Fi rollout in the Highlands, as well as several smart city use cases.

Finally, Jack Anderson, Head of Digital & Innovation for SWAN at Capita Technology Solutions, discusses the need for infrastructure that can support the connected services of the future easily and quickly and ensures the whole of Scotland benefits.

The first report in this series explored IoT and smart tech in healthcare and can be accessed here, and the final report will look at digitisation in education (Jan 2020).

Download the report

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