Outsourcing giant Capita is working to develop the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN) into a testbed for IoT innovation

Te public sector and the Internet of Tings. Could 2019 be the year when smart networks really take off in Scotland?


At the beginning of July the Scottish Government’s procurement and commercial directorate invited suppliers of Internet of Tings (IoT) products and services to join a new purchasing framework. Released without fanfare, the

‘Dynamic Purchasing Sys- tem’ (DPS) has the potential to revolutionise how public sector bodies deliver their services to citizens across the country who are soon likely to start feeling real benefits from a wave of ‘smart networks’. If you have an Amazon Echo Dot or Google Assistant in your home, you are already a

consumer of internet-connected smart services, so you may not be surprised to know that the public sector is extremely interested in delivering its services to citizens via these direct data interfaces. Te question is very much not ‘if’ but ‘when’, and the creation of the Scottish Government’s DPS is a crucial stepping stone towards IoT-enabled public services.

The procurement framework joins three other tech-focused supplier frameworks within Scottish Government and was the culmination of a great deal of development work both inside and outside government. One


Jack Anderson, Head of Digital & Innovation/SWAN at Capita IT & Networks, at Capita’s ‘Living Lab’ IoT innovation hub outside Glasgow

organisation which played an influential role was the outsourc- ing company Capita, whose contract to run the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN) began in 2014 and is crucial to the delivery of a shared network and common ICT infrastructure delivering data services to the likes of Scottish local authorities and NHS boards, serving 50% of the public sector nationwide. In terms of IoT, the network can also be harnessed by those organisations to build a range of innovative sensor-based services - from assisted living technologies which can enhance social care provision for the elderly to ground-breaking water

treatment methods that can auto- mate the detection, and possibly the removal of, pharmaceuticals in hospital waste-water.

The framework is relatively new and inevitably demand will be stimulated by the necessary investment in innovation. But as part of Capita’s contract, it is committed to investing into the SWAN Innovation Fund, and the company has set up a ‘Living Lab’ at its Tannochside development site near Uddingston, outside Glasgow. Jack Anderson, Head of Digital & Innovation at Capita, explains: “Te Living Lab is part of our contractual commitment

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