Local governments look to the cloud
- By Heath Hensley
- Jan 09, 2020
As cloud-based technology matures, it has been increasingly adopted by local governments and public-safety organizations. With Gartner forecasting the global public cloud services market to grow 17% in 2020, the burgeoning cloud technology market will continue to drive innovation for the public sector.
What does that look like in 2020? What trends can we expect to come into play? Let’s dive in.
Greater focus on transparency
An effective and strong community depends on transparency and trust. In fact, many states have laws mandating certain documents, such as policies and procedures, be made available to the public.
California's Senate Bill 978 was passed in 2019, requiring each state and local law enforcement agency to post current standards, policies, practices, operating procedures and training materials on their websites by January 2020. This ensures the public can access and review policies at any time, with the goal to enhance community trust and transparency.
While the benefits to the public are clear, there are costs for the state and local agencies required to post the documents and keep them current. Files must be collected, server space acquired, and someone tasked to ensure the latest revisions are given to IT for upload. Many agencies are turning to cloud services to improve these processes.
In 2020, a greater focus on transparency will spur investment in cloud technologies that will help agencies manage their public-facing records, improving governments' relationships with the public.
Private/public partnerships on the rise
Public/private partnerships haven't always conjured up a positive image for many local governments. However, over the last decade, many have partnered with private organizations, particularly for innovative last-mile transportation options -- like Citi Bike in New York City and electric-scooter sharing provided by companies like Uber, Lime and Lyft.
As cities consider smart technologies, private/public partnerships can help them innovate. Private-sector technology combined with public-sector incentives can drive smart street lighting systems, body-worn camera systems, predictive policing and audio and video surveillance, all of which leverage the cloud to store and analyze data, improving the safety of residents and the efficiency of agency processes.
In 2020, we will see local government and public safety organizations continue to rely on their industry partners to bring more robust technological capabilities to residents and to workers, changing the way they access and use information in the field and from their desktops.
Enhanced focus on security
While the latest smart city and policing technologies bring tremendous benefits, they also carry security risks, even when data is stored in the cloud.
In 2020, we will see local government and public safety organizations continue to apply best practices from the FBI and industry associations. They will also look to new security approaches for cloud applications to ensure the integrity of their data and processes.
Wellness and training
Mental health issues and suicide have grabbed headlines as the number of those affected within public safety community, including police officers, first responders and corrections officers, continue to grow.
While education and training have always served as critical foundational elements, they are even more important today. Advanced training technologies can better equip local government and public safety personnel with the right combination of knowledge and skills to improve detection and response to mental health issues. This year will bring more cloud-based video and online training courses and new simulation technologies that use life-like scenarios where staff can practice decision-making skills and tactical response time.
As we head into 2020, local government and public safety organizations will look to the cloud for transparency, security and innovation.
Heath Hensley is the co-founder and CTO at PowerDMS.