By Steven Lefrancois, Public Sector CTO, Verizon
Government agencies often respond to challenging times by cutting spending, freezing hiring and managing with the tools they have on hand. But the opportunity to innovate in a crisis is often overlooked.
The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. It’s challenging agencies to find new ways to deliver critical services and meet emerging constituent needs. That’s why now is the perfect time to implement solutions that are designed to streamline processes, accelerate response times and enhance constituent experiences and much more.
The following are a few of the transformative technologies that could help agencies deliver on their mission more efficiently and cost effectively — today and tomorrow.
Chatbots. In the early weeks of COVID-19, constituents flooded agency contact centers with questions about everything from unemployment insurance benefits to testing sites. For example, state offices in Arizona saw call volume increase from 400,000 queries per week to more than 1.5 million per week, Gary Hensley, chief operating officer of the Strategic Enterprise Technology Office for the State of Arizona, noted in a recent webinar. Chatbots, which can simulate written or spoken conversations, can help agencies accelerate response times by answering questions about a wide variety of topics. This can free agents to focus on more complex inquiries and help ensure that constituents get the answers they need in a timely fashion.
Augmented reality (AR). Once just a sci-fi conceit, AR is now one of the stars of government technology evolution. For example, public safety agencies are testing AR and computer vision to help enable faster, safer navigation through low-visibility areas. A perfect example is Qwake Technologies’ AR helmet device, C-THRU, which helps improve firefighters’ vision in smoke-filled buildings, while transmitting visual point of view, telemetry data and location coordinates to command and control, according to its website.
Internet of Things (IoT). Government agencies are increasingly integrating IoT devices into their operations. Use cases range from deploying environmental sensors along rivers to track water levels, to gathering deidentified cellular data to help optimize traffic flow and minimize congestion.
How Managed Services Can Help Agencies Adapt and Evolve Rapidly
When it comes to innovating, many agencies face infrastructure and staffing constraints. Fortunately, managed services can help agencies bypass these obstacles by evolving networks quickly and efficiently and providing ongoing troubleshooting and management. That means employees can stay focused on serving constituents and other critical duties. Managed services providers can also configure and manage new technologies on behalf of government agencies, helping them maximize network capacity and optimize technology performance.
Managed services can help agencies improve cybersecurity and guard against a wide assortment of cyberthreats, including denial-of-service attacks and ransomware. Unsecured IoT devices, in particular, can expose agencies to security vulnerabilities.
To help minimize risk, managed services providers can monitor and manage networks to stay ahead of threats while reducing the workload on in-house IT teams. Applications are kept up to date, properly configured and secure. At the same time, sophisticated authentication mechanisms help ensure that the right people have access to the right systems at the right time.
A Valuable Partner for Tech-driven Innovation
There’s always a learning curve that comes with deploying new technology. That’s why managed services are such an effective solution for government agencies. Highly trained specialists can create customized deployment plans, implement technologies, instill best practices, embed security capabilities and provide ongoing management or support. It’s a powerful combination of cutting-edge tools and specialized knowledge that can empower government agencies to expand services and improve operations when it matters most.
Learn more about how Verizon’s managed and professional services can help your agency improve innovation, security, citizen experience and more.
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This content is made possible by our sponsor Verizon; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of GovExec’s editorial staff.