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Scots want councils to use more digital tech


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Over 80% of Scottish citizens want to see their councils use a wider range of digital technologies, according to newly released research.

Capita has flagged up the findings of a survey carried out by research company Opinium for the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN), obtaining responses from 2,000 people over May and June of this year.

It focused on the potential for using the network in local government and with the internet of things (IoT), revealing that 84% believe Scottish public services should embrace more digital technologies, with growing interest in concepts such as the smart city, hospital or school.

“Digital technologies are ingrained in the home and work lives of Scottish citizens today, so it’s natural that they want their councils to extend digital initiatives in the future,” said Jack Anderson, head of digital and innovation for SWAN at Capita.

When it comes to living in a smart city, people said the biggest benefit would be easier access to public services: 56% pointed to access through digital channels like video or online, while 55% emphasised the potential of CCTV to support policing and 51% saw the scope for the IoT to support better public transport and traffic management.

Other identified benefits include creating a more environmentally friendly city (48%) and attracting new residents and businesses (28%).

Location choices

Related to the latter point, 92% said access to digital services and connectivity is important in where they choose to live now, and 75% said it would be so in where they choose in the future.

“It’s clear that technology can enhance local government operations in many ways, such as bringing high speed internet to libraries or ensuring targets to reduce energy waste in public places can be measured,” Anderson said.

SWAN was launched in 2014; it provides connectivity to approximately 6,000 sites across Scotland.

Previously published figures from research carried out for SWAN showed that 88% agreed that the IoT and smart technologies would improve healthcare, and 84% said digital access to healthcare – through channels such as video appointments and online chats – is important to where they choose to live.

Image from iStock

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