Taking Public Services to the Last Mile
This year, thousands of people met us at Cisco Live in Berlin and Melbourne to enjoy multiple days of education, networking and fun. The overarching theme – Your Time is Now – called attention to the immediacy of digital transformation. The innovation talks, various learning paths, seminars and demo zones all focused on tools that will enable the sustainable growth and prosperity of those who embrace the innovative changes needed to succeed in the digital era.
From IoT to Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence, the world of technology continues to evolve at a ground-breaking pace, with each new advancement promising to transform organizations. Sounds great, where do we sign up? First, it’s important to understand where to begin, what steps can and should be taken, how to manage the change, and goals now and for the future. Ruba Borno, Vice President of Growth Initiatives and Chief of Staff to the Office of the CEO, delivered the European event’s opening keynote, in which she addressed exactly this with Cisco’s vision, making clear that the secure network is the future-proof solution for digital transformation.
The Future Unfolds with Digital Transformation:
It is not only businesses that feed off of and contribute to the digital transformation engine; public sector entities also innovate by introducing new approaches to better respond to society’s needs. Important to this is the collaboration between public and private organizations at central, state and local levels.
The closing segment of Berlin’s keynote featured an important mash-up of Cisco, Deutsche Bahn, Charité and SAVD efforts of taking public mobility services to a new level with the medibus. Since launching last year, one medibus is in use 6 days a week to deliver health services to rural regions and underserved populations in northern Germany. Just last month, an elderly woman living in a small remote village and challenged with her ability to travel for healthcare needs received treatment for chronic diseases from arthritis to diabetes. Lacking a permanent local option, and if not for the medibus, this woman would’ve likely had to leave her family and relocate to an assistance home in the city. And a larger version of the medibus is the backbone of a large vaccination campaign of the medical center Charité in Berlin. It has enabled thousands of medical screenings and vaccinations in a few months with its highly productive medical office workflow and realtime VR translators in 70 languages.
On stage with Ruba was key architect behind the medibus concept and Deutsche Bahn Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Christian Gravert, who was asked how this model can evolve in the future. Although Dr. Gravert did a magnificent job covering the vision and potential for reiterations of the medibus, we would like to re-address this important prompt to consider the larger picture. There is so much opportunity for this kind of mobile public service delivery platform that is worth ongoing thought and discussion.
Across the globe, we are seeing large population and demographic shifts that increasingly affect how governments, health facilities, and educators deliver imperative services. As seen in rural Germany in the medibus example above, many professionals in remote regions are also aging or migrating to urban centers, too, creating a vacuum to meet local public service needs. Truly smart, connected and secure innovations, like the medibus, will continue to help overcome these challenges.
Let’s first consider the possibilities for local government and citizen participation. For those who cannot manage travel or may not be able to afford the option to lose out on paid hours of work, the mobility services model of the medibus could be converted to a use case to enable alternative voting location options for popular elections.
We’ve already seen some of what this kind of innovation can bring to the field of health and wellness, but what about a step further? Health specialists can be hard to access and difficult to afford, perhaps the future of the medibus could be used to create affordable and more readily available delivery of specialist services like for family planning and mental health.
And possibly primary education school buses can have dual functions, both for student transport and for after-hours tutoring sessions to help those children that may need more attention.
There’s an endless stream of possibility; especially as we dive further and further into the world of digital transformation. We’ve only just begun to scratch the surface.
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