For most of us, technology is now a fundamental part of our working lives. We rely on it for communication, processes, training and more. It can help us to perform better and to build on our own skills and experience. Many would now find it difficult to do their job without technology. We have become Human+ Workers; our own skills and capabilities augmented by technology. The impact this is having is game-changing, making it our third trend in Accenture’s Technology Vision 2019.

The vision of a “Connected Officer” has been developing for some time and is gaining momentum, particularly in frontline operational roles, such as police officers or border service officers. The officer of the future is enabled through technology such as wearables, empowered through data and analytics, and supported through technology to ensure well-being. A great example of this in action is the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in Singapore where they are piloting the connected officer concept by combining body worn cameras, video analytics, and real time alerts.

However, the fast-paced change that comes with new technology is creating new challenges for Border agencies. We are now seeing a workforce gap, where the demand for new technology from employees is outpacing its implementation. Of the public service leaders we surveyed, sixty five percent agreed that their employees were more digitally mature than their organisation, resulting in a culture of the organisation trying to ‘catch-up’.

The speed at which new technology is entering the workplace is also affecting the need for reskilling.  In many organisations, new technology has created roles that didn’t exist ten years ago, and those that did exist have changed significantly. Leading Border agencies recognise the need for reskilling. Overall, sixty four percent of public service executives we surveyed said that within the next three years at least forty percent of their workforce will move into new roles that will require substantial reskilling owing to the impact of technology. The good news is that the same technologies that are leading to the displacement of the workforce can be used to retrain the workforce with new skills.

Despite the challenges, there are huge benefits that come with the Human+ Worker, including the ability to solve issues in new ways. By using AI and smart technologies, individual workers are given access to vast amounts of data in an instant, allowing them to provide a better, more personalised service for their customers. For example, AVEnueS is a VR solution designed to accelerate and expand the training and development of child welfare caseworkers. It offers case workers immersive and experiential training, which is critical when learning how to make decisions that can have a significant impact on peoples’ lives. This solution could be deployed to train key operational roles in Border agencies, such as the border services officers who assess goods or passengers, or asylum officers who need to take a decision on asylum applications.

So how should Border agencies move forward? Employees want and expect to use the latest technology and closing this gap will provide significant opportunities, particularly in areas such as operational or field case work, intelligence and enforcement, and field force training.

What are the specific issues facing your organisation that Human+ Workers could best address? Make sure to follow the rest of this blog series on LinkedIn as we explore each technology trend.

Prasanna Ellanti

Global Border Services Lead

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