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Government Tech Trends 2019: Beyond the digital frontier

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Deloitte released its “Government Tech Trends 2019: Beyond the digital frontier.” The report explores how the convergence of new technologies with powerful technological forces is driving disruption across government. New technologies include advanced networking, serverless computing, and intelligent interfaces; and technological forces encompass digital experiences, cognitive and cloud.

“Many government organizations are finding that each individual advancement in technology—for example, blockchain, digital reality or serverless cloud architecture—is powerful, but that the real power emerges when they combine,” said Scott Buchholz, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and chief technology officer for its government and public services practice. “Finding ways to integrate a constellation of new technologies into a new operational paradigm is the next level challenge that’s unfolding in government right now.”

Government Tech Trends 2019, based on Deloitte Tech Trends, interprets the trends with a focus on government. The report also includes a score for each trend based on its relevancy to government and the government’s readiness to adopt.

The eight trends that are giving rise to new operating models, redefining the nature of work, and dramatically changing IT’s relationship with the business include:

Macro technology forces at work – The nine technology forces at work are: cloud, analytics, digital experience, blockchain, cognitive, digital reality, core modernization, cyber, and the business of information technology. These forces are critical for organizations—their controlled collision can compound the effect of a purposeful, transformational change.

Trend in action: A supply chain can be optimized with an integrated combination of technologies—next-gen core financial system upgrades, cloud deployments, AI predictive models, blockchain for tracking and more.

AI-fueled organizations – Leading organizations are harnessing AI’s full potential for data-driven decision making and generating valuable insights. To become a true “AI-fueled” organization, a department or agency needs to find AI’s place in the mission, rethink its talent, focus on human and machine interaction in its environment, and deploy machine learning across core business processes and enterprise operations.

Trend in action: Use AI and machine learning to help curb fraud, waste, and abuse by detecting invalid, improper or mischaracterized payments.

NoOps in a serverless world – Cloud providers have doggedly automated traditional infrastructure and security management tasks and are increasing the complexity and value of “as a service” capabilities. As a result, technical resources are interacting less and less with the underlying system infrastructure. Operations talent can shift to increasingly agile teams focusing on higher-order (and higher-value) activities that more directly support mission outcomes.

Trend in action: Pay-as-you-go models offer flexibility and cost-efficiency for seasonal demands like tax filings or health care enrollment. Look at piloting new application using container-based, function-based, or other new cloud computing models.

Connectivity of tomorrow – Advanced networking offers a continuum of connectivity that can drive the development of new products and services or transform inefficient operating models. From edge computing and mesh networks to 5G, satellite, and ultra-broadband, organizations across sectors and geographies are relooking at advanced connectivity options to design their networks of tomorrow.

Trend in action: Field-deployed personnel will soon have greater bandwidth on their mobile devices than they have at their desks today—rethink processes and systems to take advantage of the connectivity.

Intelligent interfaces – Intelligent interfaces combine the latest in human-centered design with leading-edge technologies such as computer vision, conversational voice, auditory analytics, and advanced augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality. Working in concert, these techniques and capabilities can transform the ways we engage with machines, data, and each other.

Trend in action: With AR, skilled technicians can move from one system to another without extra training. Inspectors can use facial and image recognition with speech capture interfaces. Indirect measures of activity time and personnel efficiency permit digitalization and analysis.

Beyond marketing—experience reimagined – Today’s citizens expect highly personalized, contextualized experiences. To deliver them, leading chief marketing officers are looking inward to closer partnerships with their own CIOs and a new generation of marketing tools and techniques powered by data-enabled emerging technologies.

Trend in action: Service programs can use advanced marketing techniques to engage the population, gauge reactions and adjust rollouts.

DevSecOps and the cyber imperative – To enhance their approaches to cybersecurity and cyber risk, forward-thinking organizations are embedding security, privacy, policy, and controls into their evolved IT delivery models. DevSecOps fundamentally transforms cyber and risk management from compliance-based activities (typically undertaken late in the development lifecycle) into essential framing mindsets that help shape system design from the ground up.

Trend in action: The National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration are working to standardize, automate, and virtualize processes using close-knit teams that integrate development, security and operations into to reduce human error, speed results and make difficult operations invisible to the user.

Beyond the digital frontier – Digital transformation has become a rallying cry for business and technology strategists. Yet all too often, organizations anchor their approach on a specific technology advance. Developing a systematic approach for identifying and harnessing opportunities born of the intersections of technology, science, and business is an essential first step in demystifying digital transformation, and making it concrete, achievable and measurable.

Trend in action: Cashierless stores could serve as models for the Department of Defense Exchanges. Government health providers can use health care insurers’ AI-enabled verification of eligibility for medical procedures. Organizations are increasingly using AI and other digital techniques to screen recruits.

“These trends are actively shaping strategic and operational transformations today, redefining IT’s role within government and forcing leaders to reimagine what it means to govern and serve against the backdrop of a global, digitally driven economy,” said Buchholz.

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MDBs’ Annual Climate Finance Passes $61 Billion

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Climate financing by seven of the world’s largest multilateral development banks (MDBs) totaled $61.6 billion in 2019, with $41.5 billion (67%) in low- and middle-income economies, according to the 2019 Joint Report on Multilateral Development Banks’ Climate Finance.

In addition to its traditional focus on low- and middle-income countries, the 2019 report expands the scope of reporting for the first time to all countries of operations.

Some $46.6 billion, or 76% of total financing for the year, was devoted to climate change mitigation investments that aim to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and slow down global warming.

The remaining $15 billion, or 24%, was invested in adaptation efforts to help countries build resilience to the mounting impacts of climate change, including worsening droughts and more extreme weather events from extreme flooding to rising sea levels.

The report combines data from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the African Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank Group, the World Bank Group and—for the first time—the Islamic Development Bank, which joined the working group in October 2017. In 2019, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank also joined MDB working groups, and its data is presented separately in the report.

Additional climate funds channeled through MDBs—such as from the Climate Investment Funds, the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund, the Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund, the European Union’s Funds for Climate Action, and the Green Climate Fund—also play an important role in boosting MDB climate financing. In 2019, the MDBs reported a further $102.7 billion in net climate cofinancing from public and private sources. This raised the total climate activity financed by MDBs in 2019 to $164.3 billion.

“The growing flow of MDB climate finance shows our joint resolve to take on climate change and, in the face of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, it is more important than ever to ‘build back better’ in a low carbon and climate resilient way,” said the Director General of ADB’s Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department Woochong Um. “The report shows that climate finance provided by and through the MDBs is providing increasing support for these needed transitions.”

In 2019, ADB committed almost $7.1 billion in climate finance (more than $5.5 billion for mitigation and $1.5 billion for adaptation). This included $705 million from external resources, including multilateral climate funds. Further, ADB mobilized $8.8 billion of climate cofinancing.

The report shows that the MDBs are on track to deliver on their increased climate finance commitments. In 2019, the MDBs committed their global annual climate financing to reach $65 billion by 2025—with $50 billion for low- and middle-income countries—and that MDB adaptation finance would double to $18 billion by 2025. The MDBs have reported on climate finance since 2011, based on a jointly developed methodology for climate finance tracking.

The 2019 Joint Report on Multilateral Development Banks’ Climate Finance is published in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused significant social and economic disruption, temporarily reducing global carbon emissions to 2006 levels.

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Public Transport Can Bounce Back from COVID-19 with New and Green Technology

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Public transport must adapt to a “new normal” in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and adopt technologies that will render it more green and resilient to future disasters, according to a new report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The report, Guidance Note on COVID-19 and Transport in Asia and the Pacific, details the profound impact of the pandemic on transport, as swift lockdowns forced millions this year to work from home overnight, schools to shift to e-learning, and consumers to flock to online shopping and food delivery.

While public transit may have been previously perceived as a mostly green, efficient, and affordable mode of travel, initial trends in cities that have re-opened have indicated that public transit is still considered to be relatively unsafe and is not bouncing back as quickly as the use of private vehicles, cycling, and walking.

“The two key challenges ahead are addressing capacity on public transport to maintain safe distancing requirements, and how best to regain public confidence to return to public transport,” said Bambang Susantono, ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development. “In the short term, more effort is needed to reassure public transport users of safety and demonstrate clean and safe public transport. In the longer term, technological advances, big data, artificial intelligence, digitalization, automation, renewables and electric power can potentially offer fresh innovations to tackle changing needs, giving rise to smarter cities.”

While drastic lockdown measures around the world have brought world economies to their knees, satellites have recorded data on how the concentrations of CO2 and air pollutants have fallen drastically, bringing clear blue skies to many cities.

But as cities have reopened, traffic levels have increased. For example, Beijing traffic levels, by early April 2020, exceeded the same period in 2019. If this trend is seen on a wide scale, it could set back decades of effort in promoting sustainable development and more efficient means of urban mobility.

The report says there is a short window of opportunity for cities to promote the adoption of low-carbon alternatives to lock-in the improved air quality conditions gained during the peak of the pandemic lockdown. Public transport can play an important role through more active promotion of clean vehicles, provision of quality travel alternatives in public transport, and a better environment for non-motorized modes such as walking and cycling to enhance overall health and wellbeing.

The confidence of passengers on public transport should be restored through protective measures such as cleaning, thermal scanning, tracking and face covering, the report says. Further study to explore how protective and preventive measures can be stepped up to allow relaxation of safe distancing requirements would help mitigate capacity challenges. A possible future trend may be consolidation of services and rationalization of routes to better serve the emerging travel demand patterns and practices.

As countries enter the “recovery” phase, further preventive and precautionary operating measures and advanced technology should be implemented to enable contactless processes and facilitate an agile response. Demand management measures can facilitate crowd control in public transport systems and airports. As a complementary measure, non-motorized transport capacity could be expanded to absorb spillover demand from public transport.

Since mass public transport is the lifeblood of most economies, government policies and financial support are essential during this period, to enable public transport operators to stay viable and continue to support the movement of passengers and goods in a sustainable way.

For ADB, which committed last year $7 billion to the transport sector, behavioral trends linked to COVID-19 may require a review of the short-term viability of passenger transport and operational performance to meet changing demand for public transit systems. “Regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic it is clear that developing Asia will continue to have a large need for additional transport infrastructure and services,” the report concludes. “It would take several years before the projects currently in the pipeline would be operational and much can happen during these years.”

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Zero emission economy will lead to 15 million new jobs by 2030 in Latin America and Caribbean

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In a new groundbreaking study , the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) show that the transition to a net-zero emission economy could create 15 million net new jobs in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2030. To support a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic , the region urgently needs to create decent jobs and build a more sustainable and inclusive future.

The report finds that the transition to a net-zero carbon economy would end 7.5 million jobs in fossil fuel electricity, fossil fuel extraction, and animal-based food production. However, these lost jobs are more than compensated for new employment opportunities: 22.5 million jobs are created in agriculture and plant-based food production, renewable electricity, forestry, construction, and manufacturing.

The report is also the first of its kind to highlight how shifting to healthier and more sustainable diets, which reduce meat and dairy consumption while increasing plant-based foods, would create jobs and reduce pressure on the region’s unique biodiversity. With this shift, LAC’s agri-food sector could expand the creation of 19 million full-time equivalent jobs despite 4.3 million fewer jobs in livestock, poultry, dairy and fishing.

Moreover, the report offers a blueprint on how countries can create decent jobs and transition to net-zero emissions. This includes policies facilitating the reallocation of workers, advance decent work in rural areas, offer new business models, enhance social protection and support to displaced, enterprises, communities and workers.

Social dialogue between the private sector, trade unions, and governments is essential to design long-term strategies to achieve net-zero emissions, which creates jobs, helps to reduce inequality and delivers on the Sustainable Development Goals .

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