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5 Ways Technology Is Influencing Municipal Governments

Communities rely on their municipal government for many support services. Everything from education to public safety and waste management gets handled by the municipal government.

Accommodating such a wide variety of needs is challenging for community leaders. However, technology can ease the burden. Technology, particularly when it is supported by high-speed connectivity, helps municipal governments work more efficiently and cost-effectively. 

Here’s an overview of 5 ways technology is changing the way municipal governments operate: 

1) Improving constituent relations

improving-constituent-relations-with-unified-communicationsMembers of a community want to be able to interact directly with their municipal government. Citizens like to be heard when they have a problem or complaint. Keeping lines of communication open is important for instilling a sense of confidence and satisfaction among members of the public.

Unified communications creates many options for constituents to interact with their municipal government. Members of the public can communicate with community leaders through web conferencing, or leave voice mail messages that can be forwarded to municipal staff mobile devices, or even converted to email text for review any time of day. Instant messaging also allows for real-time communication so government workers can be more responsive. 

2) Developing smart cities

Communities are turning to the Internet of Things (IoT) to better manage infrastructure. Connected devices can be used to regulate traffic, manage energy resources, monitor public transport, and improve emergency response.

For IoT devices in smart cities to work effectively, they need to be supported by high-speed networks that provide adequate bandwidth. The data generated by IoT devices in these smart communities must be transmitted quickly and safely so decisions can be made based on accurate, real-time information. 

3) Saving taxpayer money

saving-taxpayer-money-with-iot-devices-and-unified-communicaitonsMunicipal governments face the challenge of operating on a tight budget. The State-of-the-States 2018: IT Trends and Perspectives study found that budgets for local governments are sluggish. Overall, general-fund spending allowance for 2018 only increased 2.3% from 2017 budgets. Monies in the general fund come from income and sales taxes.

Sensors on IoT devices can help save money by regulating energy use in community buildings. IoT also allows municipal governments to better manage their assets. Data from sensors can be used to conduct preventative maintenance on vehicles, stormwater pipes, and utilities. Preventative maintenance helps governments avoid expensive emergency repairs and debilitating breakdowns.

4) Automating services

Technology can take over many of the bureaucratic duties that occupy municipal government.  Members of the public can pay bills or fines and obtain permits through online portals. Not only does this reduce help-desk duties for government employees, but it allows the public to conduct business without having to stand in line at an office.

When these portals are supported by a high-speed network, constituents can access automated services at any time of day or night. Greater access to services boosts community satisfaction and frees up government staff to handle more specialized tasks. 

5) Promoting mobility

IoT-devices-can-help-save-money-by-regulating-energyThe leadership and staff in municipal governments use mobility to make themselves more available to constituents and each other. Mobile devices allow representatives to travel to conferences and project sites while still staying in touch with main offices and the public.

A unified communications system enables voicemail messages to be converted into emails. Single number reach allows constituents to reach representatives who are out of the office on their mobile devices. Mobile devices can be used to send instant messages, conduct web conferences, and work on collaborative projects using file sharing. 

Supporting Technology With Connectivity

In 2018, local governments included wireless connectivity as part of their top ten IT strategies. This finding isn’t surprising when you consider that connectivity underlies most of the technology that makes improvements to municipal government operations possible.

FirstLight understands how important connectivity is to running municipal governments. We provide a complete portfolio of telecommunications and connectivity solutions that enable municipal governments to take advantage of new technologies while meeting their budget constraints. 

Optimize the way your government organization operates. Find out more about solutions designed for municipal governments here.

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