Last year we wrote about mental health spending taking the No. 1 spot in the 2016 hotspot report put out by Onvia, a leading commerce intelligence company covering the business-to-government market. This year's research identified several categories from the human services realm. One example: serving people with disabilities. If the forecasts hold true, they suggest a needed focus on disadvantaged populations as well as important infrastructure improvements – such as improving water quality – that benefit everyone. – Philip Bane
Using its proprietary ontology that applies smart tags to government solicitations, Onvia researchers identified 10 products or services that are experiencing much faster growth in usage or adoption by state and local government agencies -- based on factors like new technologies, new legislation and larger changes in demographics or society.
Here are Onvia's 2017 rankings of government contracting hotspots:
1. Improving medical equipment
2. Innovating education
3. Expanding connectivity
4. Enabling government with IT
5. Upgrading to smart lighting
6. Strengthening disaster services
7. Preparing sites for construction
8. Serving those with disabilities
9. Improving water quality
10. Growing school bus services
Now let's drill down on a few of them to see what's behind the spending forecasts, as detailed in 10 Hotspots for Government Contracting for 2017. We’ve also linked some related articles for additional background on the role technology is playing in these categories.
Improving medical equipment
Onvia identifies a number of drivers in this category, from efforts to curb high healthcare costs with greater emphasis on innovative healthcare technologies that support testing, prevention and less invasive procedures to more emphasis on providing care outside the hospital setting. Also factors: more households with health insurance than in the past and addressing the needs of aging baby boomers.
Led by major device makers such as General Electric and Siemens, Onvia's report indicates the volume of bids and RFPs in medical equipment from public hospitals and healthcare systems grew by 21% over the past year.
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Onvia suggests three prominent trends are behind growth in education training and consulting contracts in the K-12 space:
- Continued demand for more/better use of technology tools and training (or “edtech”)
- Focus on science/technology/engineering/math (STEM) as a subject area
- Evolving standards for curriculum and performance measurement
The researchers note that "the concept of blended learning has been important to designing effective classroom experiences that work for different styles of learning and incorporate technology." Amid these significant changes in tools and strategies for teaching, they report that bids and RFPs for educational services have grown at a rate of 20% over the past year.
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Serving those with disabilities
Updates to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) adopted last year are no doubt a factor driving this growth. Onvia's B2G Intelligence System (B2GIS) indicated the specific category of wheelchair ramp construction and the broader area of ADA compliance were both significantly higher in bid volume last year over 2015 (up 13%).
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Providing clean water
Government agencies got a wake-up call on water quality with the Flint, Michigan crisis and Onvia suggests utility buyers have increased their number of bids and RFPs for water treatment services, equipment and products by 12% since 2015. Meanwhile, smart water technologies are helping bolster aging water infrastructure, leveraging modern digital sensors and analytics to predict, manage and optimize for the best water system performance and reliability.
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This article is from the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative which highlights how city leaders and other stakeholders can leverage smart technologies to end suffering in their communities and give all citizens a route out of poverty. Click the Compassionate Cities box on our registration page to receive our weekly newsletter.
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