Did you know financial sustainability is the biggest threat currently facing local governments across Australia? In February this year, the Queensland Audit Office (QAO) reported to parliament that over half of Queensland councils spend more than they earn.
Like any business, councils face challenges that impact the longevity of their operations. Thankfully, advancements in data collection can help local governments reduce costs and improve services.
With more IoT-enabled and smart devices gathering information daily, businesses that harness big data will be able to improve customer experiences, make faster decisions and boost productivity.
Here’s what big data can do for local governments.
Reduced Fuel Usage
Last year’s Teletrac Navman Telematics Benchmark Report found that fuel is the second biggest business expense for fleets, just behind payroll.
Using real-time and historical data collected via telematics and presented within fleet management software, you can uncover a wealth of information to help you optimise fuel usage. With a clear picture of where your vehicles are at any time, including engine management data, you can assign a task to the worker closest to the jobsite, reduce time spend idling, curb harsh usage, and more. This will reduce unnecessary fuel use while helping to improve customer service.
Real-time Artificial-Intelligence (AI) based analytics will also show fuel consumption per vehicle so you can pinpoint trends, and cross reference by driver. View how often your vehicles are idling, speeding and engaging in harsh behaviours, all of which contribute to more unnecessary fuel use, so you can address the issue with the drivers directly.
Telematics also lets you review previous routes. If garbage collection is taking longer than anticipated in a certain suburb, you can look at the driver’s history to direct them via the quickest, most effective route or find where the delays are happening.
Improved Waste Management
Data can be used to optimise garbage collection routes, but you can also use historical data to combat waste contamination.
Traditionally, many councils when implementing a marketing campaign would send out information area-wide. But if you identify a certain street or block that has a track record of mixing garden waste with recycling, or overloading bins, you can work on a campaign to help curb the issue at the source. You’re ensuring you reach the most relevant audience, and you’re cutting costs with hyper-targeted messaging aimed at areas of inefficiency.
Evaluate Your Environmental Impact
Speeding, idling and unnecessary harsh behaviours all contribute to more CO2 entering our atmosphere.
The Beyond Zero Emission Australian Local Government Climate Action Review found 56 per cent of surveyed councils had a corporate emissions reduction target, while a further 25 per cent intended to have one.
Data collected via telematics helps councils keep their emissions strategies on track. Identify instances of idling and speeding in real-time at the back-office, while in-cabin devices alert drivers of any environmentally unfriendly behaviours.
You can also use this info to encourage employees to ‘buy in’ to your green initiatives. Set KPIs based on their driving history, like reducing overall CO2 emissions by 20 per cent. Reward eco-friendly driving behaviours and educate those who may be unaware how their habits impact the environment.
Improved Disaster Management
Responses to recent emergencies such as this year’s bushfires demonstrate the vital support local governments provide their communities during times of need.
Big data can improve how councils react to disasters as they unfold. For example, if flash flooding occurs near a major roadway, fleet management software will paint a comprehensive picture of where all your workers and assets are. Assign the closest vehicle to control traffic. Or, if you know a council worker who has prior experience dealing with flash flooding, you can pinpoint their precise location and assign them to the task.
Data can also predict potential disasters before they occur. If you’re in a council that’s prone to bushfires, you can collect information regarding temperature, wind speed, humidity and more.
Compare real-time data to info from previous bushfires. Recognising trends will help you identify problem areas and dangerous conditions, so you back burn and take the appropriate measures to prevent a serious disaster.
94 per cent of business professionals say data analytics is important to their overall growth and digital transformation. Local governments that harness the power of big data to inform operations will see lower costs, improved service and a reduced carbon footprint.