Wifi Spark: UK's public services are suffering the worst spell in their history
The UK’s public services, ranging from town councils to higher education, have a difficult time communicating with their communities and growing in a way that reflects visitor desires. As we reach the mid-way point of 2021, the world around us has changed drastically and we, as visitors, tourists and consumers, are demanding more from our public services.
We expect the technology to mirror, if not exceed what we have in our homes, we want to be inspired by the spaces we visit, to learn and understand the history and the stories of our towns and cities and, perhaps most prominently of all, we want to be heard and responded to if something is amiss.
How can it be done? Well, we think technology is the answer.
Having revolutionised the way we live, technology has become ingrained our everyday. Some see this as a negative and long for a simpler life, whilst most embrace the myriad of ways it makes our lives easier. So why shouldn’t the public sector embrace technology too?
Outdoor WiFi and connectivity are advancing to ensure that open spaces have the same reliable connection we’ve come to expect indoors. This acts as a base from which public services can develop innovative ways to connect with their communities and get the most out of their WiFi provision. Now, we’re not expecting our local councils to innovate and develop the technology, but work with companies who already are.
Take Hello Lamp Post, working with Southwark Council in Central London, the tech firm aims to reimagine public spaces and enable public service providers to engage with their communities on issues both local and global. It does this by placing signage next to objects that grab people’s attention such as bus stops, trees and lamp posts. Passers-by are encouraged to begin a SMS conversation with the object to share their views, learn about the city or get directions.
In Southwark, the Council was able to learn how its community felt about themes such as air pollution and flooding: two direct issues facing the city center spot due to its proximity to the Thames. Not only does this prompt an active engagement with the community but enables future planning and public service delivery to learn from the thoughts and feelings of the people it effects. All with a little help from technology.
Adopting digital into public services can also generate a revenue stream. South West based WiFi SPARK developed a solution that works to fortify outdoor and public space WiFi and deliver speed and reliability whilst offering a number of value-added services that elevate public service delivery. From analytics that enable providers to learn about their visitors to an interactive User Experience portal (UX) that allows visitors to be greeted with information on the area, contact details and wayfinding.
Having recently worked with English Heritage at 28 of their locations, WiFi SPARK was able to develop a UX that acted as a virtual site booklet with information to engage visitors, provide WiFi and allow English Heritage to market directly to their visitors. With a solution to fit a range of budgets and scales, elevating public space WiFi to truly get the most out of it has never been easier.
In short, the future of our public services is digital. Tech-focused investment can increase engagement with visitors, enable companies to bolster brand identity and provide an opportunity for brands to reach further and develop a loyal and returning customer base. And it’s all possible through collaboration with providers already championing innovative solutions. The future of our public services can only be enriched by tech, and it’s never been easier.
This blog was written by Rebecca Duffin, Head of Marketing, Wifi Spark. To learn more about this author, please visit their LinkedIN page. To know more about Wifi Spark, please visit their Twitter and LinkedIN page.
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