Digital transformation for situation awareness

ai situation awareness, situation awareness technology

Geoff Hoyle, Director at Zest Consult, explains what we need to know about a programme management approach concerning a digital transformation project for situation awareness

For any large organisation whose primary role is to deliver and manage a transport network and or services for the general public, having up-to-date and accurate data and information is crucial to delivering those services.

Without this data, the provider is effectively blind to what is happening on the ground at any given time. This leads to difficulty in managing the network, resolving incidents and future planning. Without this data, it is also very difficult to improve or create new services for customers. All of which can lead to increased customer dissatisfaction or worse, has an impact on customer safety and security.

Therefore, it would seem that the answer is to make sure you have this data. Whilst this is a good start, if there is no strategy for handling this data then this will yield poor results and outcomes. This is because data in an organisation is often disparate and disconnected with no way of joining up data streams from different sources.

The crucial nature of situation awareness

For organisations that deliver transport services, situation awareness is critical to delivering their services and outcomes.

According to Wikipedia, “Situation awareness has been recognized as a critical, yet often elusive, foundation for successful decision-making across a broad range of situations” and “Lacking or inadequate situation awareness has been identified as one of the primary factors in accidents attributed to human error”.

The key then to good situation awareness is having good data and information in a timely manner that is usable and useful to those that need it.

Zest Consult is working with a large urban transport authority to help them develop their strategy on situation awareness and to put in place appropriate frameworks, systems and technology to roll out across their organisation. We have developed a programme management approach to what is essentially a digital transformation project for situation awareness.

Digital transformation for situation awareness

As with any digital transformation, just throwing technology at the problem will not produce good outcomes and may in fact have the opposite effect to what you want to achieve. It must start with understanding the outcomes the organisation wants to achieve and the challenges they have. It is both a top-down approach (understanding organisation objectives and bottom-up (understanding people’s objectives). People not technology are the key to a successful digital transformation. They must be brought along the journey and buy into the process.

Once we understood the organisation’s objectives and challenges, we were then able to develop the strategy and map that to key deliverables and processes across the business looking at key perspectives such as financial, fulfilling customer needs, improving performance, etc. and to develop the framework with which to roll out this transformation.

This project is still ongoing and indeed is still only in its early stages, however, we have already seen areas which we need to work on and develop, such as:

  • Commercial and procurement models – it is vitally important to get these right and use common approaches.
  • Common standards and specifications – vital for ensuring that systems work together and are future-proofed.
  • Sharing of data between business units – it is amazing how often in organisations business units do not share data which leads to duplication of effort and cost.
  • Privacy and ethics management –

crucial where artificial intelligence (AI) and public data is involved.

  • Communications and engagement to bring people along.

Even in these early stages of the project, we have already identified improvements that will save the organisation money (in the hundreds of millions of pounds) as well as improve services for the end customer.

Using our expertise in AI and situation awareness technology such as CCTV and other sensors, we can start standardising our approach to this technology for far greater interoperability and using the same technology to deliver multiple business outcomes. We are bringing business leaders in the organisation along on this journey and as such, they are backing this approach which in turn filters down and across the rest of the organisation.

Planning for the future

Using this strategic approach, we can better plan for the future of transport and fit that into our programme, the future includes low carbon electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, information going directly into vehicles and removal of road signs, users using multi-modal approaches to transport, etc. Good data and excellent situation awareness are vital to enabling this future.


Please note: This is a commercial profile

© 2019. This work is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND.

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