Blueprints aim to enable Scottish councils’ use of IoT

Guidance has been issued by Scottish Government bodies with the aim of helping local authorities better understand how and where they can take advantage of connected technologies to improve services

Scottish councils will have access to technology blueprints to “accelerate and scale up” their adoption of internet of things technologies.  

The guidance is intended to help authorities embrace the potential of IoT, while enhancing their efficiency and delivery of public services. Funded by the Scottish Government, the how-to guides will outline both the opportunities and challenges authorities could face when introducing the innovative technology.   

Applications of the technology featured in the guides are its uses for social housing, monitoring concerns such as dampness, energy usage and smart waste management. Air quality in schools, water monitoring for bacteria such as legionella, and winter weatherproofing also form part of the new blueprints.  

CENSIS – the Scotland’s innovation centre for sensing, imaging, and IoT technologies, based in the University of Glasgow – has partnered with the Digital Office for Scottish Local Government to showcase such successful applications of the technology and inspire others to follow suit.   

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Stephen Milne, director of strategic projects at CENSIS, said: “Across the public sector there are pockets of really exciting and impactful technology adoption and there is a clear opportunity to communicate this with the rest of Scotland. There is already a general awareness of IoT, but we now need to work together to take ideas one step further – beyond pilot schemes – and roll them out at scale.”  

The scheme may also bring financial opportunities by unlocking “new markets” for “high-growth tech companies” CENSIS works with, Milne added.    

“These businesses can provide the technology councils will need to make plans a reality, using networks and equipment developed and made in Scotland.”  

This is the latest from a string of attempts by the partnership to boost IoT adoption across Scotland, which is an “important part of plans for a fair, green and sustainably growing economy”, Scottish Government innovation minister Richard Lochhead has said.  

In 2020, East Renfrewshire Council installed a smart gritting system to measure road temperatures across the outskirts of Barrhead. An IoT network then allowed for the data to be viewed along with weather data so the council could target resources and make the roads safer for users.

Since then, other authorities, such as Perth and Kinross Council and Highland Council, have also taken part in projects involving IoT technologies to manage and optimise their services and infrastructure.

Versions of this story originally appeared on PublicTechnology sister publication Holyrood

Sofia Villegas

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