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Pushing the boundaries of technology to develop new capabilities even more closely aligned to evolving customer needs

Across all the sectors in which we operate, the needs and expectations of our customers continue to evolve at pace. Growing appetites for greater productivity, efficiency, agility and improved outcomes are driving innovation in all dimensions of what we do.

At the same time, new digital and disruptive technologies are redefining traditional service delivery whilst radical reductions in the cost of data storage and processing are exponentially expanding data availability and connectivity.

For Serco, this is creating unprecedented opportunities, not only to improve existing capabilities, but to develop transformational new capabilities even more closely aligned to meeting customer needs.

“Customers come to Serco for our operational systems and expertise in managing complex, challenging environments – such as hospitals, prisons and military facilities, “says John Lockett, Group Chief Information Officer. “Hand-in-hand with everyday service delivery, we are constantly challenging ourselves to improve those services through all means at our disposal.”

“Right now, from an information technology perspective, we’re building and experimenting in lots of different ways. Reducing soft fraud through facial recognition systems for leisure centre access in the UK, for example, and making the processing of Medicare and Medicaid applications in the US faster and more accurate through optical character recognition and Robotic Process Automation.”

“One area we’re excited about is the application of IoT (Internet of Things) sensor technology across our facilities management (FM) estate. Others are doing it, but often in simpler, mainly office-based environments – which represents a tiny fraction of where we operate. Also, they tend to focus only on what the sensors reveal, rather than how you can harness that information. Quite rightly, our customers want more than intelligence, they want intelligent decisions and intelligent outcomes.”

In the last year, we have launched several IoT pilots, including a trial in the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, where multiple sensor systems have been installed and integrated throughout, for such purposes as monitoring environmental factors, restroom cleanliness, and wheelchair and bed occupancy. This provides a unique window on the operation of the hospital and how best to optimise performance based upon the data.

However, as well as investing in the smart technology, we are also investing in the layer above, to be able to turn the ‘what’ data into even more valuable ‘so what’ data.

“All the data we can now collect is certainly helping us to optimise our FM services – creating cost-savings, improving service experience and enabling us to address other immediate challenges – but we are aiming for much more. By joining up all these ‘smart’ service capabilities to create entire intelligent, predictive and automated FM ‘ecosystems’, we can go way beyond siloes of incremental optimisation and start making even bigger leaps forward in what we do and how we do it.”

“And if we can do it in one building, why not two, or three? If we get them all ‘talking’ and ‘learning’ together, the results could be revolutionary – for us, for the environment, for everyone.”