New blueprints to help more Scottish councils embrace IoT 

24/01/2024
Stephen Milne (director of strategic projects at CENSIS)

A SERIES of technology blueprints have been developed to help Scotland’s local authorities realise the potential of game-changing Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, boosting efficiency and enhancing the delivery of public services.

CENSIS – Scotland’s innovation centre for sensing, imaging, and IoT technologies – and the Digital Office for Scottish Local Government have worked together to showcase examples of successful technology applications throughout Scotland, and inspire others to do the same. 

Funded by the Scottish Government, five blueprints are initially to be made available to councils to highlight the opportunities and potential challenges they may face when introducing new connected technologies.

The initiative forms part of an ongoing collaboration between CENSIS and the Digital Office for Scottish Local Government, with the two organisations working to help local authorities all over the country to use IoT to manage and optimise their services and infrastructure. The blueprints are the latest way in which the organisations are encouraging IoT adoption, and follow several information sessions and webinars already held over the past three years.    

The tried and tested examples featured within the new guides include: sensing for social housing, helping to monitor concerns such as damp and energy usage; smart waste management; air quality in schools; water monitoring for bacteria such as legionella; and winter weather proofing, which includes services such as road and pavement gritting. 

East Renfrewshire Council, City of Edinburgh Council, Perth and Kinross Council and The Highland Council have been involved in various projects informing the how-to guides and are already bringing IoT benefits to residents – supported by CENSIS and The Digital Office. 

Colin Birchenall, chief technology officer at the Digital Office, said: “Digital transformation has wide-ranging benefits for local authorities and the people who use their services, from improving processes and saving time to ultimately improving aspects of residents’ lives such as health, wellbeing and the environment. 

“We want to encourage councils which are already using this kind of technology to share their experiences and help others do the same. This is the start of a library of blueprints that provide practical advice to help councils to accelerate and scale up IoT technologies to improve outcomes and deliver efficiencies across the sector.”

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. 

“While we’re aiming to illustrate the benefits and business case for using IoT across the public sector, wider adoption may also unlock new markets for some of the high-growth tech companies we work with. These businesses can provide the technology councils will need to make plans a reality, using networks and equipment developed and made in Scotland.”

Scottish Government Minister for Small Business, Innovation, Tourism and Trade, Richard Lochhead, said: “These blueprints show how Internet of Things (IoT) technologies can boost efficiency and enhance delivery of public services by allowing local authorities to learn from one another. These innovative technologies address diverse challenges such as energy usage in social housing or monitoring air quality in schools and could be used at scale across council areas.

“An important part of our plans for a fair, green and sustainably growing economy will be realising the full economic benefits of this technology.”

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