'Digital services for citizens', a key topic for disruptive technologies

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Attendees of the ERNACT hosted workshop shared ideas, concerns and opinions about the use of these technologies in the public sector.
16 October 2020 - ERNACT  project
When organising the ERNACT workshop on ‘Disruptive Digital Technology & Cohesion Policy’ during the European Week of Regions and Cities, we thought that it could be a good opportunity to engage with the audience and receive some valuable feedback for the recently launched DISTINCT project.

The session was targeted at public service providers and digital tech suppliers (universities, research centres, companies...) and our aim was to identify some solutions and challenges related to the role and use of disruptive technology. Over 40 professionals across Europe (Spain, France, Ireland, UK, Iceland, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, The Netherlands...) answered our call and joined us for a very fruitful workshop. Most of the participants work in Local or Regional Government and Education.

Trying to make the session as interactive as possible, we invited all the attendees to use the Slido tool and answer some questions based on the topics proposed by speakers: disruptive technologies, looking forward in the Interreg Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme; Artificial Intelligence (AI) In Government services; the use of technologies for public services automation; potential of disruptive technologies for public services provision in rural areas and the role of Virtual Reality (VR) / Augmented Reality (AR) in public services provision. Asked about their personal interests, they chose 'Digital services for citizens', 'Research and innovation in SMEs' and 'Government services', closely followed by another topic: 'SME products, services and processes'.

Thanks to the participation of the attendees, we can conclude the following:

We asked them if they could have an idea for the use of AI in the public sector or Government and we received many answers, among others: combine Internet of Things (IoT) sensor and other sensor platforms to build up flood management predictive services; smart cities; clean energies: sea waves and tides, solar, geothermal, etc; simplify Reporting, 24 hours service for municipal information, AI in rural areas, analysing how procedures can be made more user friendly, booking appointments online, planning applications...

In reference to their concerns about using Artificial Intelligence, %27 expressed that they don't have any concerns. However, 41% made a reference to the help diagnose in complex mental conditions (e.g., dementia) and another 23% mentioned the decrease of visits by medical staff to patients at home.

Asking about w
hich of the following is most relevant to Health & Social CareVirtual Reality (VR), Internet of Things (IoT) or Artificial Intelligence (AI), 57% of the participants chose the third option. Regarding Training, 81% of the attendees selected Virtual Reality rather than Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence. Finally, in reference to which of the three options is the most relevant to Environmental Services, the most preferred option was Internet of Things with the 81% of the votes, followed by the Artificial Intelligence and the Virtual Reality. 

With the last question of the quiz, we wanted to find out w
hich of the following public service areas would benefit most from AR/VR and we got the following responses: the tourism sector followed by citizens training and health. 

If you are interested in disruptive technologies keep an eye on the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme funded, ERNACT led and recently launched DISTINCT project! During 18 months, we will explore the application of this kind of technologies in public service provision, the usage and benefits of VR, IoT, AI and Blockchain in health and social care, environmental management, and training.

Click here to email  Ianire Renobales at ERNACT for further information

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