Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Case for Citizen Centric Mobile Gov

Very interesting article about government developed 'apps'.  The government is actually very active in developing applications for smart phones and needs to educate the users on how productive these apps can be by:
  • educating federal department and agency leadership, program staff, and IT staff on the benefits of mobile use;
  • developing criteria to identify better projects and better ways to implement them;
  • encouraging mobile strategy and technology investment decisions to meet agency mission goals; and
  • spurring and modeling interagency collaboration to accelerate Mobile Gov.
The use of apps also has grown impressively over the last year as illustrated by this chart:

Chart from Pew Internet showing the change in use of non-voice data applications on cell phones from April 2009 to May 2010 based on a survey. 66 percent used their cell phone to take a picture in April 2009; 76 percent in May 2010. 65 percent used their cell phone to send or receive text messages in April 2009; 72 percent in May 2010. 27 percent used their cell phone to play a game in April 2009; 34 percent in May 2010. 25 percent used their cell phone to send or receive email in April 2009; 34 percent in May 2010. 25 percent used their cell phone to access the internet in April 2009; 38 percent in May 2010. 21 percent used their cell phone to play music in April 2009; 33 percent in May 2010. 20 percent used their cell phone to send or receive instant messages in April 2009; 30 percent in May 2010. 19 percent used their cell phone to record a video in April 2009; 34 percent in May 2010.

According to the article, "Agencies are starting by taking existing information or services and repackaging them for new devices. In mobile form, these services can provide immediate alerts, save call center costs, and make the most of existing government data stores.
  • Citizens can have health information sent directly to their phones by signing up for a daily text message (SMS) health tip from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Taxpayers can check their refund status on the go with the Internal Revenue Service’s app, IRS2go—saving the IRS expensive, call-center interactions.
  • Travelers can learn about airport delays and what they can carry on a flight from the Transportation Security Administration’s My TSA app for smartphone and mobile Web. While there are contact center savings here, too, TSA also updates answers for all information channels--website and call center-- based on feedback that users share via the mobile app.
  • People with concerns about food safety and handling can access food-safety information anytime, anywhere with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Ask Karen. Users with iPhones and Androids can also get questions answered by live chat."
Further, mobile websites provide pertinent information on top government tasks, saving mobile users time and headaches. Some agencies are creating mobile websites for specific audiences and tasks.
  • Disaster survivors can use their mobile devices to access to find disaster recovery centers and find out how to let their families know they are safe. The Federal Emergency Management Agency designed it to meet the needs of people who don’t have electricity but who have a charge left in their cell phones.
  • Spanish speakers can use mobile to find government information in Spanish.
  • Prospective employees can look for jobs and internships using USAJobs, NSA Career Links, and NCI @ NIH Summer Internship Program.

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