As a software company you could argue that Microsoft would say that technology saves money. On this occasion it is the Local Government Association saying it in their report on the value of geospatial information in the delivery of public services.

Putting it more simply, the report clearly demonstrates the increasingly valuable use of mapping and location-based applications, enabled by the growth in the use of smartphones, to inform and empower citizens and improve their experience of public services.  There are numerous examples in the report which demonstrate how sophisticated and easy to use technology is dramatically improving the citizen experience of fundamental council services such as fly-tipping, vandalism, parking, bus services, planning and refuse collection – and reducing the cost of delivering these services for councils.

The examples cited in the LGA report are technology ‘agnostic’ in the respect that the report does not go into technology details so I am not asserting that the examples are Microsoft-based.  The important learning is that mobile internet-enabled devices such as smartphones are the devices that are likely to increase the level of digital inclusion of the vast majority of citizens in the UK. According to one source at the end of 2008 there were over 75 million registered mobile phones in the UK for a population of 61 million and an increasingly larger percentage of these phones are fully Internet-enabled smartphones.

Several of the Microsoft customer examples I have profiled recently in this blog clearly demonstrate the innovative use of mapping and location-based technology to improve the delivery of public services at  lower cost.  Take a look at the LoveCleanStreets solution for reporting local environment issues via smartphone that is now being rolled out across all 33 London boroughs and the Leicestershire Police example where mapping technology is being used to improve community safety.

Posted by Ian