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Mobile is a must for the public sector
One of the essential cogs in the government machinery, irrespective of nation and era, has been communication with its citizens. Governments need to communicate with citizens in times of peace as well as unrest, and the faster and wider the communication medium is, the smoother this machinery can function. Even a decade or two ago, the medium of choice was the television or even radio, but both came with their own share of drawbacks, with the most crucial one being that they were both one-way transmissions. Thus, even when the government was able to reach out to the people, there was no way for the people, especially individual citizens, to talk to the government via the same media. The arrival of the mobile phone, and more specifically multimedia-rich smartphones, has been an absolute game changer in this regard.
Today, there are more mobile phone connections in the UK than there are people. A comprehensive mobile app or website can ensure that more people have smooth and easy access to government services and communication, and even provide feedback on various issues, than ever before. Plus mobile can help internal departments/employees to automate processes (such as paper based systems) and provide access to information on the move. Let’s take a look at just some of the areas of governance that can benefit by going mobile.
Citizens require permits before carrying out any kind of construction work, even if they are doing so in their own homes. Getting such permits usually involves submission of a number of forms at respective offices of the Government. A citizen may also be required to visit the offices several times, in order to ensure that the permit gets issued in time for the construction. This process can be sped up to a great extent by allowing citizens to use their mobile phones for carrying out the processes. For instance, citizens can access the relevant forms via the mobile app, fill them up right then and there and submit it, all in one smooth, streamlined process. Similarly, the forms can be uploaded to a mobile website, making it possible for millions of citizens to download them at the same time.
Environment and Health
Maintaining a healthy environment is one of the prime responsibilities for any Government. Since it also requires active participation from citizens, using mobile phones for communication can actually make the process a lot more efficient. For instance, a section of the app can be devoted to complaints from citizens regarding environmental hazards. By integrating the app with the phone camera, citizens can even send photographs and video clips of the same. Once such a system is in place, the Government can expect contributions from responsible citizens towards improvement of environmental conditions in every region within its constituencies.
Government officials working in social service departments often have to work closely with citizens, especially when providing services like social security and healthcare. Even these processes can be made more efficient by utilising mobile technology. For instance, a social worker can update their case records on the move or show relevant information to the family/ - like relevant care packages available, plus complete forms “on-line” etc. This would reduce the care worker having to repeatedly visit the person and make more effective use of the social workers time as well as improving efficiency.
Utilisation of mobile technologies can make it easy for the Government to keep citizens aware of any sudden changes in transportation patterns, in addition for officers in transport departments to monitor roads and lighting as well as collecting fines.
While the government sector is warming up to the mobile, SMS is still the tool of choice in most areas. However, SMSs do not have the flexibility and power of a full-fledged app, which can provide not just a single service, but all the ones mentioned above, and more, via a single interface. Additionally, an app can be efficiently integrated to the central database system already in use, making record keeping a much simpler process. Moreover, it would be possible to add features and facilities to an app or a mobile website over time, enhancing its usefulness beyond its original purpose.
Article by Web Spiders. Founded in 2000 with over 250 employees today, Web Spiders helps organisations (through mobile app/web development and integration) use mobile within departments (internal) or with the public (external) to; automate processes, provide access to information and generate revenue.
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