The public sector is not responding to the challenge of e-business as quickly as companies in the private sector. The National Computing Centre’s Annual Survey of IT users found that under 10% of the government, health and education users are fully committed to implementing electronic commerce systems. This contrasts with distribution and finance where almost 80% of companies are fully committed to implementing e-business systems.The primary force driving developments in the private sector is the impact on commercial relationships, whilst in the public sector it is central directives. Neither sector view new technology as providing opportunities for new ways of doing things.
Although the survey portrays public sector attitudes as cool to new technology, there are examples of local initiatives emerging daily. Today’s example is a housing estate in Hull plagued by crime and prostitution which has adopted ground breaking surveillance technology which promises to reduce crime rates dramatically. Farsight Surveillance Technologies Ltd has installed the first Internet-based CCTV system that operates over microwave and wireless transmission. This allows high quality, real-time digital images to be emailed to police enabling them to react immediately to incidents. Because the system is wireless, video cameras can be installed quickly inside and outside buildings.