Free Wifi and artificial intelligence part of Harrogate council's future plans

Free Wifi across the district and an increased reliance on artificial intelligence to handle public queries will form key parts of Harrogate Borough Council's future use of information technology.

Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 2:25 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 2:32 pm
Free Wifi could be a feature throughout the district's town centres in the near future.

The plans were revealed in a report on the council's Information Computer Technology (ITC) strategy for 2018-2024, with cabinet members approving its adoption.

The report provides a strategic direction for the council's ICT unit, as opposed to a detailed action plan.

It paints a broad picture for what Harrogate's tech future will consist of.

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Among the departments vision for 2021 is free Wifi access across the borough and all council offices, increased broadband speed throughout the district, and a heightened capability for council staff to be able to work remotely.

Their 2024 vision includes the use of artificial intelligence to aid customer service, such as the use of online "chat bots", smart devices such as air quality readers installed across the borough, and rural broadband speeds comparable with town connections.

Various councillors praised the widespread installation of Wifi as "exciting".

Resources, enterprise and economic development cabinet member Coun Graham Swift said he hoped the development said easily accessible, free Wifi would be a promotion in itself for Harrogate and the wider borough.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporting Service