To continue my series of blog posts about how to practice the Internet of Things in different sectors, here is one for the public sector.

One of the most exciting things that is happening in our industry is that more and more organizations are publishing their data and functionality as APIs, and thereby enabling the creation of value ecosystems for the benefit of the end user. One such example is that we helped our client Philips to make the functionality of their Hue lights available to everyone in a public API.

Especially interesting is that many public institutions are making their very useful and previously hidden digital assets available to all citizens. One great example is the US open data initiative started by President Obama, which now publishes some 200,000 APIs in many areas such as business, agriculture, climate, consumer, ecosystems, education, energy, finance, health, etc. There’s so much information available that I encourage you to check out their catalog, and it really gets interesting when you consider what can be done by combining these APIs. If you are an institution (or any organization) who is looking for a way to making your data available to the public, I can tell you that there are nice tools available today that makes it easy. If so, please don’t hesitate to contact me, and I can tell you more, or even quickly set up an example of how it could look and work.

Pretty brunette blowing her nose on a sunny day

One example of such an API is provided by a Swedish institution, and it gives access to pollen levels for different locations. That’s really valuable if you are allergic to some of them, like myself. When I’m traveling to Sweden, I always check their web site for current levels, to be prepared if they are high. However, it’s not very convenient to find the information  I’m looking for, and I often forget to check, which leads to a lot of sneezing. An interesting use of this data would be to make it more easily available to people with allergic problems, and in a way that is more accessible than browsing a web site, finding the right page, and so on. We could even do better than an app with a smart and connected device that could translate the levels into a more accessible and simple indicator. How about a small box right inside the door at home, so that you could check the levels with a quick glance? That would save time, prevent unpleasant surprises and even be fun. Especially if you indicate the levels with a smiley.

Christian Forsberg AUTHOR:
Chris Forsberg is Sogeti's Global Digital Channels Lead Architect, and his passion is apps and the Internet of Things. He has been involved in the implementation of more than 100 apps on iOS and Android, and most with integration to back-end systems.

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