Public Sector lagging behind on ‘Voice First’ technology strategy but Public Safety looking to the future

By Richard Stevenson, CEO, Red Box Today, voice is a critical data set for the digital transformation of both private and public sector businesses. It holds much more value than any other means of communication because it conveys context, sentiment, intent, emotion and actions, providing real intelligence and driving valuable business outcomes.

Recent advances in transcription, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) make the value of voice data sets (previously only accessible by listening) realisable, providing organisations with significant opportunities and benefits.

Research* across both the private and public sector shows that more than three quarters (76%) of CIOs and tech specialists believe that a ‘Voice First’ strategy will be in place within five years, showing a clear shift towards recognising the value of the spoken word.

When it comes to isolating the public sector however, this figure is only 55%, with 6% claiming this may take more than ten years to achieve. For many, the reality today is that fewer than one third (31%) of public sector organisation-wide conversations are being captured, suggesting possible limitations with current call recording solutions and set up. Furthermore, roughly two thirds (65%) of the data being captured is locked away and inaccessible for AI and analytics, highlighting a missed opportunity to maximise the value of this data.

The funding available to public sector organisations has not kept pace with the increasing requirement to comply to new legislation. In addition, we have seen a burgeoning demand being placed on these services by the public, particularly those in public safety. As such, these organisations must maintain their push toward efficiency while driving innovation and utilising technology to help them do so.

Automation is a focus area for those in senior public sector IT positions. For example, in public safety efficiencies can be driven by turning communications captured across control rooms and public safety workers in the field, into structured voice data sets. Red Box is working closely with many of our public safety customers to set up the delivery of automated and accurate transcriptions of those conversations into their case management or CRM system of choice to verify important details, reconstruct events for evidence gathering, and improve quality and training procedures. As this is currently done manually in many cases, an automated solution drives efficiencies and more effective incident reconstruction and evidencing given the increased focus of those doing this work on the output rather than the input.

There are areas in the public sector where technological change is being driven forward. One example of this is in the creation of a £1.2bn Emergency Services Network (ESN) which has resulted in the Home Office bringing together technology vendors, such as Red Box, and public safety organisations to deliver an integrated 4G LTE system. The working group is sharing best practices and understanding the technology requirements and challenges and working closely and collaboratively through the development process so that the move away from Airwave is as smooth as possible without a break in service when it is rolled out.

The home office needs buy in from technology vendors to help encourage the emergency services to move across quickly so that the need to run two systems simultaneously is kept to the minimum amount of time possible and Red Box is actively participating in these preparations in close collaboration with our customers and partners.  Despite several delays, the new service, due to replace the current Airwave system, is expected to start rolling out next year to police, fire and ambulance staff and the UK will be delivering critical voice and data for emergency services over an enhanced and more resilient commercial 4G network.

Speed, accuracy and reliability are prerequisites of any solution designed for the emergency services or other safety-focused organisations. The public sector must use its current technological drivers, such as those in the emergency services and public safety, as a tool to realise the importance of voice as a valuable data set in the future.

The technology is available to those with the vision to proceed towards a ‘Voice First’ future.


*Survey conducted by Sapio Research for Red Box, asking 588 IT Directors or C-level executives responsible for IT across UK, US and Singapore.

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