The Northern Periphery and Arctic has the capacity to improve the way public services are provided. This is the main conclusion extracted from the work carried out by Northern Periphery and Arctic Area Programme funded DISTINCT project partners Umeå University (Sweden), Karelia University of Applied Sciences (Finland) and the ERNACT network (Lead Partner).
There is a significant pool of expertise in disruptive technologies that, if well applied, can assist the public sector in their challenging task of providing quality and sustainable services in rural and peripheral communities.
These statements are the result of the analysis carried out covering 2 main domains. On one side, a foresight analysis has been made taking responses from 45 responsible of public services from organisations from Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden about the state of play of their organisations in relation to the application of disruptive technologies (Virtual Reality (VR), Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain) in public services provision. Special focus has been put around health and social care, environmental management and training and education service areas.
On the other side, we have mapped the existing capacity around these disruptive technologies in the NPA area and produced factsheets of 22 organisations with this expertise.
The lack of awareness about available solutions along with a skills gap are among the main factors for public sector not to apply these technologies in their provision of services.
There is a great opportunity for public organisations in the NPA to become early adopters of these solutions seeking for enhanced public services.
IoT presents a good level of maturity in health and environmental management. Virtual reality is being used at some extent in health and training services while the application of artificial intelligence is mainly applied to assist automated chatbots in the provision of information and supporting decision-making processed from professionals.