You may think it's an oxymoron, but Gartner says it is possible to have a smart government. The temptation to be facetious is pretty strong here, but after initial skepticism, we found that what Gartner was talking about is 10 different technologies that can make government more efficient.

Smart governments, Gartner says, are governments that integrate information, communication and operational technologies across multiple domains, process areas and jurisdictions to generate “sustainable public value.”

By using these emerging technologies, which were identified at the recent Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Dubai, the taxpayers should get some bigger bangs for their bucks.

Deja Vu?

If the technologies on this list look familiar, it's probably because we came across many of them as part of IBM’s Smarter Planet and, in particular, its Smarter Cities initiatives. That's not to mention the role the technologies are playing, and will play, in the Internet of Things (IoT).

Going back to last January, you may recall that we spoke with Katharine Frase, the Chief Technology Officer with IBM’s Public Sector business, to tease out the difference between Smart Cities and the IoT, given that both depend on the large quantities of information gleaned from interconnected devices. IBM describes Smart Cities as:

…an interconnected system of systems. A dynamic work in progress, with progress as its watchword. Smarter cities of the future will drive sustainable economic growth. Their leaders have the tools to analyze data for better decisions, anticipate problems to resolve them proactively and coordinate resources to operate effectively.

Already, there are many cities worldwide that are following this model and using the technology, but it is clear that with the rise of IoT a lot more technologies are going to be pulled into the mix.

In both cases, Frase said, the emphasis is on data and the use of data to provide actionable insights into human behaviors. If IoT processors takes the information from all kinds of consumer goods, Smart Cities and government take it from the same processors, but combines that information with information from traditional sources.

Gartner, has in the meantime identified 10 technology trends that will have a significant impact on smart governments, assuming that smart government’s are those governing bodies that administer the smart cities. The 10 strategic technology trends for smart government include:

1. Personal Mobile Workplace

While some forward thinking organizations have developed Bring-Your-Own Device strategies (BYOD) that incorporate the organization’s security with the personal device preferences of workers, many other public and private entities have not. Ultimately, organizations will have to allow employees decide how they want to use their devices in tandem with organizational security and data concerns. It appears that what is starting to emerge is a consensus between organizations and workers.

2. Mobile Engagement

Gartner says it has received several inquiries in recent months about the use of mobile and social software in delivering citizen-facing services. Improvements in technology, and pressure from political leadership is driving these developments. However, the kinds of services to be delivered across mobile channels will depend on potential level of automation, immediacy and relevancy of the service. It will also depend on how appropriate it is to deliver information in such a manner.

3. Big Data Analytics

While governments produce huge sets of big data on a daily basis, most are still, using traditional data management methods to keep it under control. However, like the private sector, with the exploding volume of usable data, traditional methods are longer feasible. Smart governments will pull big data concepts and initiatives, as well as the associated technologies, into the public sector.