Increasingly, governments are finding that smartphones are the perfect place to engage with citizens, and since 87 percent of adults own cell phones and nearly half own smartphones, the opportunity is impossible to ignore.
Since the inception of optional weather- and emergency-related alerts from the government in 2006, creative ideas like 311 apps and mobile public transportation payment systems, along with a movement towards open and transparent data, have spawned a new era of government-citizen interaction.
University at Albany’s Center for Technology in Government offers a snapshot of how two states are tackling mobile:
The State of Arkansas is one of the leaders for delivering government services via mobile devices. On http://mobile.ar.gov, citizens can access a wide array of services, such as secure payment processing for real estate taxes, voter registration status, employment opportunity search, and others. The services are available on any smartphone operating platform, including iPhone, Blackberry, Google Android, Windows Mobile, and Palm.
Likewise, the New York State Department of Transportation offers a 511NY Mobile Web service and a 511NY Mobile Web app for up to the minute real-time information on traffic, transit, and travel conditions. The mobile Web provides traffic and transit information, and a trip planner, as well as incident, construction, special event, and speed information. Users can access cameras, weather forecasts and alerts, and get travel times for bridges and tunnels.
The infographic below provides a brief outline of the relationship between governments and mobile devices.