Headlines: June 11th, 2004

The public sector is leading the field when it comes to mobile technology deployment according to a survey commissioned by O2, the UK market leader in mobile data services. The survey, carried out by Network Research, reveals that the UK public sector is rolling out or has completed more successful wireless projects than any other industry. For example, 70% of the public sector is currently going through, or has completed, pilot mobile projects. Also 42% of the public sector organisations questioned are involved in smartphone implementation projects. Hugh Griffiths, Head of Data Products & Services at O2 comments, “There is a lot that UK business can learn from the public sector when it comes to mobile data adoption.”In comparison to other industries such as professional services, the public sector is far more sophisticated in its deployment of mobile technology. High levels of mobile project success within the public sector are attributed in the research to tight management of purchasing decisions and centralised administration. According to the independent research, the public sector has the most centralised administration of mobile technology purchasing with over two thirds of its mobile spending now centrally managed and controlled by the IT department. This compares to other sectors such as IT where as many as 52% of IT purchasing happens outside the IT department.

An example of the use of mobile technology comes from the London Borough of Lewisham which manages 30,000 homes. The cost of the mobile workforce of plumbers, joiners and other maintenance staff has been reduced by 60,000 pounds per year as a result of the wireless strategy. This includes reduced fuel costs and reductions in paperwork and printing.

Westminster City Council have developed a system which allows field based Street Environmental Managers and Noise Officers to collect and access data through hand-held computers. The system allows officers to record all types of environmental hazards such as records of litter complaints for a particular address when and where they occur and alert waste management contractors to effect a rapid clean-up.