Seven trends set to shape public sector tech in 2022

Digital and mobile now dominate many aspects of our lives; what were once just ‘cool apps’ are becoming central to how we engage

In fact a recent survey found we spend an average of 4.8 hours a day on our phones. Meanwhile, restrictions on how we could shop sped up technologies like augmented reality to ‘try before we buy’, while the rise of chatbots continued, now becoming essential members of our teams and further improving frontline services.

Our ways of living and working have also evolved into a blended pattern that looks set to continue. For many of us, this is an opportunity to rethink and change. Into 2022 and beyond, we’re likely to refine our expectations and assumptions of this new way of life – here are the trends we think will shape it. 

  1. Personalisation as a service – Citizens now expect the same level of personalisation in public services as they currently get with digital services like Amazon and Netflix.  This growing trend for personalisation will offer opportunities to improve the citizen experience and even provide improved support services. It’s a view shared by public sector leaders: in a recent Civica survey, 88% said personalised services could benefit their sector.  
  1. AI + Human Collective Intelligence = ?  Increasing demand for public services will mean not enough people to meet demand. One possible solution is to embrace the collective intelligence of humans and machines.  This is not about robots replacing our jobs, but about ‘augmentation’: using the processing power of intelligent algorithms to make services more resilient and put valuable insights into our hands.
  1. Embracing the hybrid life – The blended home and office environment has become part of our daily lives, and we believe this is here to stay.  The next iteration of virtual interactions is already arriving with tech companies like Meta and Microsoft investing heavily into the metaverse. This year will see demand for inclusive, hybrid physical/digital offerings that ensure high quality services for all, regardless of how they choose to deliver or access them. 
  1. A smarter society – There are now more smart devices in the world (12.3 billion) than people.  The spaces around us are becoming increasingly more sensor-driven, generating data about everything from energy usage to air quality. Demand will increase for in-home, and personal wearable devices to communicate with each other and create a complete ‘internet of us’. We predict continued interest in connecting more devices and building a smarter society.
  1. Trust as the new currency – We are now at a tipping point of trust. Having robust data standards in place will help ensure both transparency and confidence address the wider question of how our data is used, by whom and for what value. With public services facing increased scrutiny, we will see new technologies such as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), cryptocurrencies and blockchain being investigated for managing funds and putting transactions into public view. 
  1. Supercharged digital democracy – People are investing more time in their local communities and consequently taking more interest in local decisions. The rising demand to include the citizen voice will be an important trend when designing and delivering future public services. But an important challenge for public services will be to have all voices heard, not just the loudest. 
  1. Rising social consciousness – Social impact has become mainstream. The demand for public services to demonstrate practical action on some of the biggest environmental and social issues will impact their desirability as an employer as well as influencing public support and engagement. Data and AI will play a key role in supporting transparency, evidence-based decision making on social impact as well as helping track and share its progress. We will also see more innovation around social impact investing, development of local economic systems and carbon credit trading. 

About the Author

Liz O’Driscoll is Head of Innovation at Civica. Civica is one of the UK’s largest software companies, with over 30 years of proven expertise in deliveringimproved outcomes for public services around the world.