We all love mobile apps that make our lives a little bit easier, but what if there were more local, state, or federal government apps that were actually helpful to us as citizens? In 2010, there were only seventeen federal mobile apps available to download. That number has now increased to a few hundred at usa.gov/mobile-apps, but you will most likely have trouble finding many native apps at the state or county level. Here’s three ways better government mobile apps could help make life easier for citizens:
1. Waiting for Services – Are There Apps for That?
You’ve probably waited in line for services a time or two, wondering how long the wait was going to be. Wish there was an app where you could view live wait times at the DMV, health clinic, or other government agency quickly and easily? Making accessing information easier could help streamline processes like appointments for citizens, and make providing resources or answering questions much easier for thousands of federal, state, and local employees dealing with FAQ’s.
Apps with live streaming wait times could help you select the nearest DMV with the shortest wait time, for example.
2. Navigating Parks, Buildings, and Facilities
Finding your way around national parks, government buildings, or cemeteries, for example, can be overwhelming. A simple wayfinding app using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons could make this experience more interactive, and make navigating in crowded areas a lot easier. Use cases involving beacons are practically endless.
Users simply receive push notifications containing personalized messages when they are within a 50 meter range of a beacon. For areas with a radius greater than 50 meters, geofencing technology can be used.
3. Government Job Training
A GAO study from 2011 found that job training programs in the United States costs an estimated 18 billion dollars per year.
Could these dollars be used more effectively if programs provided mobile apps to make it easier to access content, and stay up to date while searching or training for a job? According to Pew Research, 64 percent of Americans own a smartphone, while 7 percent are “smartphone dependent”, using it as their only form of internet access for these types of tasks.
A Change in Strategy?
Truly useful mobile apps could not only make lives easier for community members, but also potentially be a cost saver in the long run if mobile apps were created based on real citizen feedback to improve processes. By making mobile app development easier, could IT or Line of Business leaders redefine a government app strategy from being viewed as an afterthought to more of a cost saving investment?
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