The use of Internet of Things (IoT) to manage infrastructure and services is not a new concept, but response to the new normal of pandemic life, natural disasters, and the implementation of 5G networks all could accelerate the implementation of IoT solutions.
Stay-at-home orders, social distancing measures, and backlogged inspection schedules all combine to make a great case for implementing sensors and other IoT devices as part of infrastructure management. With technology providing data on the status of equipment, facilities, and general infrastructure like roads and bridges, the need to deploy inspectors to the field can be minimized. In the short term, this reduces potential points of exposure for inspectors and field staff. Longer term, it adds a new "colleague" to field management teams. IoT can handle routine, low risk monitoring, freeing up humans to focus on more complex or higher priority tasks and activities.
In regards to remote working, the general consensus seems to be, "you can't put the genie back in the bottle."
A good portion of the government workforce has been working from home for the past year, and the world has continued turning. In fact, some agencies report productivity is up since teleworking became the norm. While people will return to the office, it will look different with many alternating office days with days they work from home. The past year has shown us that working arrangements do not necessarily need to be confined to an office. And, when we also remove the stress of students learning from home, caring for homebound elderly parents, and a pandemic in general, employees may realize a new level of balance and job satisfaction.
To support the continued success of remote work, agencies need to shore up the IT that was put in place to simply keep the trains running on time. Some technology was implemented quickly to meet the immediate need, and now is the time to take a hard look at all of those solutions to see if they will scale to meet the long-term reality of a dispersed workforce.
The events market was among the first industries to feel the impact of the coronavirus and will continue to feel its effects for months to come. GovEvents looked at the impact on the government events market and found that 22% of events listed on the site were canceled with no plans to reschedule in 2020. This means many missed opportunities for professional development, best practices sharing, and introduction to new technologies for public sector professionals. But as with many industries, the events market is quickly adapting and finding ways to provide education, development and collaboration for government professionals hungry to learn.
The event Is Canceled, but Learning Is Not.
Organizations that had events planned for early March through this summer had to decide whether to cancel, postpone, or move their events online. For many, canceling their government events was not an option. They had enthusiastic government speakers with stories to share and an audience thirsty for information. In fact, 26% of live events on GovEvents scheduled for March 16 or later moved to virtual.
DataRobot's AI Experience conference was scheduled for March 19. This one-day, in-person event brought together government leaders to discuss how they were using and how they wanted to use artificial intelligence (AI) to further their mission. DataRobot had planned to live stream the event as early as February since they were already getting news that registrants would not be able to travel so they had a streaming company and equipment ready to go. On March 11, gatherings of more than 250 were prohibited and DataRobot already had 550 registered so they began moving to a virtual format. A few days later it became clear they would not be able to get the speakers to the venue either, so they pivoted once again and moved it all to a remote stream.
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From time to time GovEvents will come across information we feel our members and audience would benefit from. Here's something we wanted to share:
Many people wonder why meeting planners are consistently rated in the top 5 most stressful jobs lists. It can definitely be argued that first responders, doctors, military personnel, nurses, etc. all have more difficult jobs, and as a planner myself, I wouldn't disagree with you. It is a stressful job for sure, but we are very aware that we are not in the business of saving lives. While planners are not likely to be putting out literal fires, they certainly have their own fires to put out throughout the entire planning process and onsite. Planners are meticulous and focused on the details. As the primary point of contact for countless vendors, they must be prepared to handle or delegate any situation that arises. The event may be a once-in-a-lifetime program or a primary revenue source for the organization, adding to the pressure to make everything perfect. It takes a great deal of organization, multi-tasking, time management, budget oversight, staff wrangling, vendor connections, and communication to pull off an event. All these tasks often occurring within a 30-minute period.
Consider for a moment the following scenario -
You are three weeks out from your annual conference. You've spent a year working on every detail. Selecting design elements to perfectly complement the event location, coordinating the faculty and the agenda, and overall event aesthetic. You've negotiated and established relationships with countless vendors and contractors. Made at least 3 trips to the venue to ensure the layout and flow would be perfect for your event to make the experience easy on attendees and keep them wanting to come back next year for more. Sure, the normal stressors pop up along the way - the venue notifies you that they double booked one of your primary breakout conference spaces, so you'll have to move to a different room. Never mind that your signs and program have already been designed, so you'll have to make changes on those items. This is all par for the course and what makes planning exciting. Being ready for the unexpected, creative and critical thinking when the inevitable problems occur. We power through and come out triumphant.