Top SLED trends to watch in 2018: Part II

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By Rachel Eckert
SLED consultant
immixGroup, an Arrow company
In Part I of the top SLED trends to watch in 2018, I covered the technology drivers for the state, local and education market in the coming year. Now it’s time to talk about the market segments within SLED that will be major focus areas in 2018.
From health care to transportation, SLED organizations will be turning more and more to technology for solutions. (We’re seeing similar trends in the commercial market.) Here’s a rundown of what to watch:

Health & Human Services

Behind the headlines of street and prescription drugs, there exists an issue with the systems and databases that track these substances. Nearly every state with the exception of Missouri has a statewide prescription drug monitoring system that requires input from doctors, pharmacists, therapists and hospitals that dispense opioid prescription medication. The IT piece of this is in the management of the database that houses this information.
A database won’t help them make smarter decisions unless they perform analytics on their data. Analytics on prescription information will help hard-hit areas like Ohio make real-time decisions. This is exactly what the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team is doing through their Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System.
Another area to watch is telehealth. This is all about improving the delivery of healthcare services in rural areas, which are historically underserved for even the most basic preventative care. More than half of states have already passed a parity law that enables doctors and insurance companies to bill telehealth services as though they were performed in person. States will need to ensure they have adequate broadband to support the cloud-based programs that will be running the services. All of this will need a security wrapper to ensure patient data is kept confidential and secure.


The first issue to watch for in education is the continual incorporation of digital content into classrooms. More classroom content is moving online and the course curriculum is provided via cloud. Students need devices in order to access their digital content, which requires more mobility technologies and apps. Large school districts and universities will have the money to purchase these types of programs and incorporate them into curriculums.
The second major opportunity to watch is the broadband gap, which really exists in smaller and rural schools. Lack of money has prevented many of these districts from upgrading but the incorporation of more online content is making the upgrade necessary. Schools are using e-Rate to help pay for these upgrades, but the real opportunity will be after the school has made the transition to more broadband capacity. Schools will need to upgrade their data and storage capacity with demonstrated savings and assurance.


The first area to watch within transportation is autonomous or connected vehicles. This technology is beginning to move from new-fangled technology to mainstream adoption. Several states and major metro areas have begun allowing the testing of these vehicles. In Nevada, the recent passage of AB-69 gave the ability to test autonomous vehicles on public highways. The DMV has already begun accepting applications from developers of autonomous technology. The opportunity here spans the whole gamut of IoT from sensors in roadways, to networking, cloud storage, and cyber and analytics. This is an opportunity to create a niche and drive standardization in the industry potentially around a company’s specific technology.
The second issue to watch is data sharing–not only with sister and regional governments but with third parties like traffic app, Waze. States already collect a great deal of data about the transportation system and pooling that data to create a holistic picture can enable stronger more predictive analytics. The data can be analyzed and then visualized into mobile programs and apps for public consumption, ranging from train systems to traffic conditions, but also for transportation agencies on how to streamline and improve traffic flow. The IT opportunities include cloud storage, cyber, analytics and mobility. Focus on heavy traffic regions like New York, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

Law Enforcement & Public Safety

One important area to watch is the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), which is designed to be the first responder interoperable broadband solution. Final state plans were sent to each state representative, and they were required to make their final decisions by Dec. 29 on whether they will be opting-in or opting-out of FirstNet. Opting in means that AT&T & FirstNet will build-out and upgrade that state’s network based on the state plan. States that opt out will be responsible for building out and upgrading their own radio network and seeking approval from the FirstNet authority on interoperability before proceeding.
We now know that 53 states and territories have opted in. This will have wide-ranging opportunities after radio networks are upgraded as more law enforcement activities and first responders will be seeking advanced digital technologies and applications. So this is one to monitor over the next several years for follow-on opportunities post upgrade in mobility and other cloud-leveraging programs.
Another opportunity to watch is drones. The applications for drones in the state and local space include agriculture, forestry, fire control and law enforcement. The best targets for sales opportunities are sheriff’s departments and police departments. There are some politics at play and there are some areas where drones are not permitted. The data collected by drones and the transmitting of that data will definitely need mobility technologies, networking, cybersecurity, data storage and analytics. Vendors should work in flexible cloud options and integration with other technologies as a way to improve effectiveness and speed of data analysis.
To hear more on SLED trends in 2018, watch this session on Selling to SLED—Updates and Innovations from immixGroup’s Government IT Sales Summit.

Last modified: May 3, 2019