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At Microsoft Envision 2018 last week, we were privileged to hear from many technology and business leaders from all levels of government. They spoke about how technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud services are helping them deliver better services in a more cost-effective way.

As governments begin to find new ways to make use of huge amounts of data, digital technology will become an even more critical component in helping them engage citizens, empower employees, and find new operational efficiencies.

Envision’s intelligent government sessions featured inspiring stories and insights from all kinds of communities across the United States and beyond. Here’s a recap of what they had to say.

An introduction to intelligent government

The session kicked off with an overview of the challenges governments face today, with our very own VP of Worldwide Education and Government, Anthony Salcito, discussing how advanced technologies can help governments reinvent operations, transform service delivery, and better support their communities.

Philip Dumortier, CIO at the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, discussed how they first introduced technology to the embassies that limited the agility needed due to security requirements.  Thus, employees ended up using their personal computers.  Philip is working to make sure they develop systems that provide the agility needed by embassy personnel while at the same time meeting security requirements.

David Heyman, Co-Founder of Smart City Works, shared about how his organization is involved with building and launching the next generation of infrastructure technology companies that can improve the livability, operations, and resilience of cities. These startups focus on ‘Solve Local / Scale Global’ to solve problems around housing, energy, water and transportation.

Increasing citizen engagement

For governments to deliver the best outcomes, they need citizens to be engaged—which means giving them ways to engage from anywhere at any time.

James Lindauer of Denver Smart Cities and Shonte Eldridge from the City of Baltimore shared how their communities are increasing engagement and support by enabling citizen-centric government, making services and information more accessible and sustainable.

Empowering employees to make a difference

Talented people get into government full of enthusiasm to make a real contribution, and intelligent government is all about giving those people the tools and workplaces they need to make a difference to citizens’ lives.

Derek Vale from the State of Hawaii Department of Health, and Mirian Avalos, CIO at the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, discussed how they are empowering first line health professionals. By using data to understand individual citizens’ needs, health workers can work with government agencies to find the right approach to get the best outcome for each person.

Improving operational efficiency for a better citizen experience

Speakers from Los Angeles, District of Columbia, and Montgomery County shared their experiences of using cloud, IoT and AI-powered analytics to drive new efficiencies that are revolutionizing the services they’re able to deliver.

We heard some great real-world stories of the use cases governments are finding for analytics, IoT, and AI technologies. For example, did you know what LA’s bus drivers now get real-time feedback on traffic conditions, so they know exactly what speed they need to travel to hit more green lights?

A personal perspective on technology and context

It was also great to catch The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah at Envision, talking about his own experiences of growing up with technology, and how it helped him discover new worlds beyond his immediate environment.

As many of the Envision sessions revolved around the role of AI in the government of the future, something Trevor said struck a chord with me. He spoke about the importance of context, and how understanding the context of conversations, actions, and events can shape our perceptions and responses. This will be a key consideration as government adoption of intelligent technologies increases.

Enabling the proactive, citizen-centric government of the future

AI technologies enable the intelligent government to use IoT and other information to take proactive, contextual action (just like the bus drivers in LA). And with cloud services providing a cost-effective, secure infrastructure, it’s now much simpler and more affordable for governments to deliver outstanding services—and better outcomes for the communities they serve.

Find the answers to your specific government challenges—explore our growing portfolio of solutions built with the intelligent government of the future in mind: Microsoft in Government solutions