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The evolution of information and communications technology is changing the way people live their lives and provides new opportunities for local government to improve the delivery of local services and the way we govern our communities.

Technology companies launch new products every day. The likely implications of a new launch may not always be apparent and the pace of change can be bewildering. The technologies discussed are in some cases evolving and are additive in their effect, still others are disruptive and change the way society operates. These technologies form a continuum from those that enhance the way the sector goes about its business, by increasing efficiencies and reducing costs to those that may completely change the way a service is provided.

As prudent and responsible managers of public resources, we must understand the likely, plausible and possible implications of new information and electronic technologies to the needs of the community, and to the role and operations of the local government sector.

This joint report from Taituarã and ALGIM identifies advances in information technology and demonstrates their relevance for our 78 local authorities. It intends to provide thought leadership, and to that extent is an example of the change in strategic direction to which Taituarã members have agreed.

This is not a document for the 'techies'. The report has been written to help non-expert local government managers understand the opportunities and implications of the most relevant advances in information technology today and into the future.

The report focuses on 10 evolving and emerging technologies. These are treated in a logical progression from the unconnected elements, that include mobile communication and 3D printing, to electric vehicles. The opportunities that connectivity brings are also explored with the Internet of Things, big data analytics and cloud computing.

Each chapter provides just enough of an introduction to allow management and leadership teams to understand the principles and potential of each technology. This is followed by a section on the opportunities for the sector that each technology offers. The impacts and implications of each technology are explored to round out the understanding and sector relevance.

Each chapter then has a section on potential implementation strategies, and if the technology is deemed relevant, this is supported by case studies and contact details of those involved. All the way through, the report liberally provides links and references to additional resource material to help understand the technologies, and the opportunities and implications of uptake.

Issues relating to security of data/information, privacy, transparency and savings, common to the majority of the technologies and transitional issues such as legal, resourcing and risks associated with adoption are addressed in the final section to avoid duplication.

Our thanks to the working party of Blair Dickie (Taituarã - Waikato Regional Council), Mike Manson (ALGIM), Stephanie Rose (Taituarã - Wanganui District Council), Gillian Payne (Taituarã - Western Bay of Plenty District Council), Marion Dowd (ALGIM - Western Bay of Plenty District Council), Jason Dawson (ALGIM - Hamilton City Council) and Billy Michels (ALGIM - Waikato Regional Council).