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Study: Mobile technology has conquered the public sector - and it's here to stay

Mobile technology is being used at all levels of the public sector, according to a new study.

The new iGov survey, commissioned by HP, looked at the adoption of services designed to work on mobile devices within the public sector.

In total, 261 organisations completed the survey which represented a broad cross section of public authorities from local government (43 per cent), central government (18 per cent), NHS (27 per cent) and universities (12 per cent).

In contrast to a lot of recent reports in the media, the public sector is increasingly coming to terms with the large-scale shifts taking place as a result of the rapid adoption of mobile technology.

Some 73 per cent of those surveyed said that they use mobile technology to deliver services to employees and the public. A further 30 per cent of those surveyed said that either they or their departments intend to offer up to 49 per cent of their services via mobile technology over the next 18 months.

In fact, mobile has already gained a surprising amount of traction among public sector employees, with 60 per cent of respondents reporting that they were already using it to enable staff to work flexibly and more productively, for instance when working remotely (30 per cent) or as a day-to-day tool for staff in the field (26 per cent).

A third of those surveyed also indicated that allowing staff to bring mobile technology to the workplace had freed up time for delivering services and increased productivity.

The main barrier to mobile technology being adopted is still the concern over security, with 23 per cent citing it as a major concern.

Back in March 2013, Tom Loosemore, the deputy director at the government digital service argued that "People should be able to use digital services wherever they are, on the device of their choosing," adding that "We're confident that for government services, the mobile web is a winner, both from a user and a cost perspective".

Time will tell whether this advice will be adopted to the fullest possible extent, but one thing's for sure: mobile technology is here in the public sector, and it's here to stay.

Image: Flickr (CharlesFred)