How mobile apps enable local governments to engage with citizens

city-skyline

You’re heading home through your neighborhood when you run into a nasty pothole, see a dead animal, or a downed tree blocks your way. But instead of having to write a letter to the city council or make a call during which you’d have to lengthily describe the problem, you pull out your phone open an app and send a detailed report with just a couple taps of your finger.

The so-called 311 apps are a path which a growing number of local governments have taken in order to further improve the quality of living in their cities and towns. Why “311 apps” you might ask? These type of apps have been named after a telephone number that in North America provides access to non-emergency municipal services dealing with such issues, as we described above.

In the United States, the City of Boston (where our American office is based ;) has been pioneering civic mobile apps ever since 2009 when the council released Citizens Connect – a mobile app designed to mirror the local 311 hotline. After reporting an issue users receive a tracking number and in the app they can monitor when the city fixes the issue. Numerous other cities have followed suit ever since, including Chicago, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington.

In the meantime, Boston has not only re-branded its app to BOS:311, but introduced other individual apps that help residents handle thrash disposal, parking payments and tickets. In Boston they even created an app that can record the users ride and gather data from device’s accelerometer – this data will then help experts to evaluate the quality of city roads and deal with existing and potential issues in a timely and strategic way.

However, these kinds of apps still require considerable resources and effort to build, which limits them mostly to larger cities. Municipalities still need to invest into development of mobile applications and find a way how to connect them with their database.

To avoid custom development, local governments and offices around the world that utilize Microsoft Dynamics CRM, can utilize Resco Mobile CRM to give citizens an app that will enable them to get engaged in public affairs. Municipalities can easily use the Woodford customization tool to modify both the app’s functionality and looks to fit their needs. They simply pick what information they wish to receive and share from their Dynamics CRM. Then they can customize the colors, icons, logos, and even entirely change the user interface of the app. And after they publish it, citizens have an effortless way of reaching out and handling common civic matters.

To learn more about how governments can use Resco Mobile CRM visit www.resco.net/mobilecrm/consumer-apps.aspx. Or join us this November at resco.next 2016, where we will also further discuss how can organizations easily create mobile applications for customers, partners, citizens, and any other stakeholders.

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