Census data from 2020 shows that more than half of the United States population is under the age of 40. By 2030, as these younger generations gain voting privileges they will bring with them expectations of a digital world.
This is a generation of digital-native citizens who expect to interact with their government differently – and “differently” is changing all the time. The emerging technologies of today will be tomorrow’s standards, this generation has grown up with emerging technology in the palm of their hand. And as government agencies increasingly start to use these technologies, it will require a whole new way of thinking about how – and through what mediums and emerging capabilities – they, the government will deliver services to users in this changing digital world
Take the U.S. State Department. The agency maintains an app that allows international travelers to register to receive alerts while abroad about potential weather events, natural disasters, travel disruptions or geopolitical instabilities, for example. You can do it from the plane before you take off and start receiving alerts by the time you touch down in your destination. This is as sure-fire a way as any to protect U.S. interests abroad, which is a simply stated summary of the State Department’s mission. And this is the kind of thinking that every agency is going to have to embrace with respect to citizens’ evolving demands for service delivery.
Nearly every aspect of modern life – from the monumental to the mundane – has been changed by technology. We order groceries, or we skip groceries and go right to ordering dinner, from our phones. We can do telemedicine visits with doctors on our phones. Only a decade ago we couldn’t have imagined doing things the way we do them now. The technology wasn’t mature enough, but we also didn’t have the combination of technologies that we have now. The idea of bringing multiple emerging technologies together is what will drive new services and capabilities within government services and citizen engagements.
From 5G wireless connectivity to cloud-based location-sensing to the proliferation of smartphones – services like Uber or Lyft, DoorDash or GrubHub, would not exist without them. We’ve always had taxis and food delivery – but not like this and not this convenient. The opportunity exists today for agencies to make their service delivery as easy, seamless, and satisfactory as private sector service providers do.
Think about all of the services that government provides that are location based; things like voter registration, car registration, paying state or federal taxes. The government has a multitude of services and citizen touchpoints and data. Using them differently and leveraging the bevy of technology accelerators available today means that, increasingly, interacting with your government could be as easy as using your smartphone or even just talking to your digital assistant of choice.
In our research report on emerging technology in government, titled Seeds of Change, we asked 425 government employees about their use of tools like 5G networks, Internet of Things, big data, and cloud services. Forty percent said they’re using them now and one-third of respondents said they expected to implement machine learning and predictive analytics within the next two years. A logical next question is: How will these agencies combine these powerful emerging technologies to deliver services to citizens – thereby delivering on their missions – in entirely new ways?
Integrators like GDIT are helping agencies across the federal government answer that question and envision the art of the possible. We’re working collaboratively with agencies to try new technology combinations, test them, fail fast, and work together to figure out what works. And while 40% of respondents are using today’s emerging tech already, a full 65% said they are ready to adopt emerging technology. That’s a promising sign about what the future of citizen services can look like. It will take a lot of work and just as these technologies didn’t arrive overnight, this change won’t happen overnight. The important thing is that the government is on the precipice of being ready.
The onus is on mission partners and systems integrators to make it easy, keep costs in check and ensure that agencies are building and investing in solutions that will provide long-term value. GDIT is excited to be a part of that, and we are encouraged at all that is available today to bring about a truly modern service delivery model that reimagines how agencies serve citizens.
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