Public sector executives fear that budget cuts and a lack of a long term implementation programme could lead to a “lock-in effect” where public bodies are left with outdated technologies at a greater cost than modern alternatives, according to research from GE Lighting and the Carbon Trust.
The study found that most areas of the public sector have already begun adopting smart technologies, for social, economic and environmental benefits; these have included sensory systems, with internet connectivity and smart building control systems.
Researchers surveyed 164 public sector sustainability professionals from local authorities, NHS trusts, universities, emergency services, central government departments and housing associations, who attended the Carbon Trust Public Sector Conference in the UK in February 2015.
Whilst the public sector is beginning to realise the potential benefits of smart technologies, almost two thirds of a sample of public sector executives said that availability of funds is the greatest barrier to implementing smart technologies.
Aside from financial barriers, a third blamed a lack of an agreed long term strategy plan or model for technology adoption and a lack of a procurement capacity.
According to the research, these three major barriers can be addressed through increased communication, training and skills to help public sector employees build a greater smart technology network.
Agostino Renna, president and chief executive of GE Lighting Europe, Middle East & Africa, said: “Technology is no longer the key barrier for adoption of smart technologies, the barriers are now related to procurement and skills.”
Tim Pryce, head of public sector at the Carbon Trust, said: “There are a number of barriers that prevent public sector bodies from moving forward.
“Public sector sustainability professionals need a mix of financial, procurement and project management skills to design and implement investable projects.
“This will help public bodies to build the business case for investing in technologies and equipment that can deliver real efficiency and carbon savings.”