council services
© Zoe Qu |

New research from KCOM reveals that Mancunians view smart technology – such as smart watches and meters – as an essential part of council services

Large numbers believe the Manchester City Council should provide smart services to residents, especially the most vulnerable. However, uncertainty is widespread over its uses and full potential.

From shopping to managing their energy consumption, consumers are becoming more dependent on smart technologies. As they become accustomed to innovative and quality digital services from their favourite brands, they are also starting to expect the same level of technical expertise and smart interaction from local councils.

Respondents were asked for their opinions on smart services, such as watches that monitor the health of vulnerable residents or smart meters that give people a real-time overview of their energy use.

Almost half (47%) of Mancunians said smart local council technology would help their communities, while 46% believed it would be useful to themselves or someone they knew. Over one in ten (12%), however, saw no benefit in having access to local services enabled by smart technology.

The majority of Mancunians (80%) said local and health authorities should provide smart technology to help vulnerable residents check-in with carers or family. Over half believe it should be used to remind people with health conditions to take their medicine (59%) or monitor their vital signs (56%).

However, the findings suggest some degree of confusion or ignorance around smart technology. Less than 1% of respondents thought smart technology could be used beyond helping residents with their health and wellbeing – which means there’s an opportunity for local government to take the lead and develop leading services to improve their citizens’ lives.

‘While it’s still early days, smart technology is transforming how residents interact with local services’ said Eddie Ginja, head of public sector at KCOM. ‘Time and technology wait for no one, and councils will inevitably be pushed to join the smart revolution by their residents. Yet, starved of funding and slow to change, councils will find this an uphill battle.

“To succeed they will need the right partner to review their systems and plan their migration to a smart, constantly improving ecosystem. They require a technology expert who can build and constantly improve the infrastructure all in one place, and help them satisfy the complex needs of their constituents”


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