Socitm urges local government and public sector to embrace smart places and location intelligence
28 Apr 2017 03:21 PM
Smart places and location intelligence are two themes that should be at the heart of the transformation of local government and public sector, says Socitm.
In launching two new major research projects at its spring conference today, the association is urging those in any way involved with the transformation of public services to adopt fresh thinking about the nature of ‘place’: by looking beyond the concept of smart cities, and also to consider new ways of using location data.
Presenting at Socitm’s spring conference today, Socitm Director of Policy & Research Martin Ferguson will introduce ‘Smart Places’ and ‘Location Intelligence’ research resources. Both are designed to help those in public service deliver a future in which digital is at its best: achieving public sector ambitions in everything from environment to economy.
Martin will address more than 200 delegates from across local government, public sector and their private sector partners as well as press and industry peers. In his presentation, he will highlight the extensive Smart Places project – a series of seven guides researched and written by industry expert and former Socitm president Jos Creese.
Of the resources, Jos says that they do ‘not attempt to repeat the many research works written about smart cities’. Instead, notes Jos, the guides offer ways to ‘apply the ideas and the best practice of smart cities to rural and semi-urban areas, including small cities and towns, whole regions and the whole nation’.
The suite of guides includes an introduction which is freely available to everyone, demonstrating how technology is the starting point in connecting infrastructure, business, communities, public service and individual citizens in ways that were previously impossible.
For Location Intelligence, Martin will explain how Socitm worked with geospatial experts ConsultingWhere to produce five videos and accompanying material that shows the public sector the huge benefits of adopting location intelligence practices. This innovative discipline uses geographically-referenced data to predict behavioural, community and environmental patterns – all of which are crucial to making decisions in public service.
The videos, as Martin will explain, feature many case studies where location intelligence is making a difference to public life. For example, a Welsh Government project led by Newport City Council and Cardiff City Council, has used location intelligence to detect council tax avoidance and fraud, generating some £260,000 in revenue across the authorities involved. Using the figures from this particular scheme, it is believed that more than £7million could be saved across England and Wales. 1
The two research projects signal an ambitious new direction for Socitm’s research and policy work, with the aim that these areas are further developed and expanded in the future, through close working with members and partners. Above all else, the Smart Places and Location Intelligence projects are designed to help local government and public sector make a real difference to public life.
Both sets of Socitm Smart Places and Socitm Location Intelligence resources have been produced for subscribers to Socitm’s research service, Insight, using funding generated by the programme. However, because these subjects are essential reading, the introductions of both projects are publicly available, at: