Digital transformation in the public sector
Future service delivery initiatives in the public sector need to encompass sustainability issues alongside the more immediate challenges, says ENGIE’s James Spires
Much of the focus around digital transformation in the public sector has been around saving time and money, whilst also improving customer engagement. As we move forward the focus can no longer be solely on these immediate challenges, we must also work to secure our next generation’s future.
Thus, there can no longer be conflict between meeting the challenges of today and a sustainable future; we have to find a balance between the needs of individuals and the world in which we live. The next generation of digital solutions will deliver this harmony through collaborative data flows and connectivity at every level – Person/Object > Building > Neighbourhood > City.
Digital solutions are rapidly changing how health and social care are delivered, decarbonising the energy we need to go about our daily lives, automating traditionally people-intensive activities through artificial intelligence/robotics and providing the green mobility solutions needed to meet future infrastructure needs.
The Government’s recent Clean Growth Strategy cited improving business and industry efficiency (25% of UK emissions), improving our homes (13%), low carbon transport (24%) and clean, smart, flexible power (21%) as key factors in leaving our natural environment in a better condition that we found it.
To achieve this ambition, people and their surrounding environment have to be connected through integrated and intelligent smart systems and utilise big-data to deliver vital public services efficiently - and minimise the environmental impact of doing so.
By combining the expertise and investment of the public and private sectors, innovative solutions can bring about this reality. For example, Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a collaborative way of working underpinned by digital technologies. As such, BIM allows for more efficient methods of designing, delivering and maintaining physical built assets throughout their entire lifecycle.
In partnership with the British Library we have demonstrated how the balance between achieving customers’ aspirations and minimising environmental impact can be achieved. Based on its detailed understanding of the library’s requirements and its wider aims, ENGIE recommended energy services, operational improvements, facilities enhancements and technological support - setting out the specific savings and outcomes that could be achieved utilising digital solutions.
Another example is rapid energy modelling, a streamlined process that helps analyse and estimate building energy consumption using BIM solutions.
Rapid energy modelling includes three key elements: capture, model, and analyse – delivering the following benefits:
- Aligning energy consumption with operational needs, eliminating wastage.
- Optimising energy profiles for the site
- Screening a building portfolio for retrofit options with high potential.
- Prioritising retrofit investments and energy efficiency measures.
- Evaluating the lifecycle impact of retrofit decisions.
Connected data flows from physical assets and other data sources have helped to:
- Assess impact of weather conditions on asset run-time and performance, crucial to critical environments such as the library
- Identify operational efficiencies
- Track an asset’s performance and condition in real time, with the in-built capability to predict lifecycle expenditure.
- Capture semantic data of an asset, linking it through to visualisation and analytics tools.
- Establish two-way dynamic communication with assets.
In summary, the use of data-enriching information connects people and environment, giving us the opportunity to combine our human assets with IT technologies and engage in new business models to achieve common objectives.