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Could 2012 be an "appy" new year?
Sunday, 8th January 2012
In her post, More mobile than ever, Nancy Davis Kho noted that the take up of smartphones is on the increase; particularly by those aged between 18 and 34. But don’t rule out some of the … ahem, older members of society. Though not in the same age demographic, I recently joined the fray by purchasing an iPhone and I must say, I love what this thing is capable of; not because it’s an iPhone, but because it’s a smartphone. The Samsung, HTC and other equivalents are just as smart!
What makes these devices the useful little gizmos they are of course is the seemingly endless variety of apps – the mini programs which allow you to interact with or access a specific service. There really does seem to be an app for everything. As cool, hip, fun and trendy as the more light-hearted of these clearly are, there are some real opportunities here for service delivery providers to take advantage of the growth in ownership of smart mobile devices.
In a recent ComputerWord announcement, it was reported that Surrey County Council intends to improve its public engagement using dedicated social media apps. Although the Council currently uses traditional social media platforms e.g., Facebook, Twitter and RSS feeds to post news, job vacancies and details of events, it wants to develop and make available to local citizens, dedicated applications to improve the delivery of specific services.
The call to embrace social media to inform and interact with citizens is also taken up in an excellent article by Lesley Riddoch. She wryly remarks that, “Already, the way we search for travel information has changed. It’s no longer a one-way street where authorities give and the public passively receives – it’s a collaborative effort based on our innate impulse to share and the rational belief that people on the spot probably know some things better than official websites updated last week.”
An article in the same publication also reports the rise of the "appy office", claiming that, in a recent survey, over half the individuals surveyed said their company issues smartphones and over a quarter said they issue tablets. It’s also reported that, in companies that build apps, 65% are driven by staff demand.
So, the appetite (pun intended) for mobile apps seems to be growing. They allow us to interact with people and services at all levels of society – not just friends and colleagues – but with local governments too, while on the move. Although apps themselves are not new; the technology often takes a while to catch on. So, could 2012 be the year of the app? I think it could!
By Dale Moore
Dale Moore is employed as an information manager and English language teacher at a private language school in the South West of England. He has a masters degree in information management from the University of Sheffield and over 12 years experience as an information practitioner.
He has worked for a number of organisations of all sizes from the BBC in London to government funded regional entities providing business support to small companies.
Dale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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