Did you know that by 2017 the app economy will hit $151 billion and there will be 6.1 billion smartphone users by 2020? We live in a connected, app-driven world and it’s becoming more important for companies and government agencies to find ways to connect to today’s smartphone-dependent customer and constituent.
Whether you want to edit a photo, catch up on what your friends are doing across the globe, manage your to-do list or track how many calories you’ve burned – there’s an app for that. And every industry, including the public sector, is latching on. The mobile app directory on the USA.gov website outlines hundreds and hundreds of government apps that are available to citizens.
Government agencies are finding ways to transform constituent communication and service through a host of mobile apps combined with notifications and text messaging that makes the public sector work better for citizens and agencies. If you’re skeptical that this type of service isn’t effective, think again. Gartner’s Ian Finley estimates that delivering services via mobile devices can allow public sector entities to reach more than 90 percent of their citizens, compared to around 30 or 40 percent for web-based applications. Apps allow citizen engagement and service to happen anywhere at any time versus waiting to receive piece of mail or sit in front of a computer. Apps that notify you and send you reminders provide even greater value.
From an agency perspective, a recent study from Good Technology found that the public sector is more likely to use mobile apps for managing documents than any other purpose. These apps improve productivity and customer service, and ultimately lead to agency-wide cost savings.
Every citizen can also access a variety of government-provided apps to make their lives easier. Here are a handful of examples of apps that support today’s citizens:
- Mobile 311: This free smartphone app created by the City of Riverside allows citizens to report graffiti, potholes or other problems by snapping a picture. The image is instantly sent to the city with the GPS location, saving the city time and money and citizen’s hassle and frustration.
- Due Date Plus: Developed by Wildflower Health, this app provides important health resources so pregnant women can better manage their pregnancies to avoid complications. The app is already live in Wyoming and will soon be available to Medicaid populations nationwide.
- Go Program Way2Go: Is an app available with all Go Program Way2Go MasterCard and Visa electronic payment card services. The app gives users a fast way to monitor their available balance no matter when and where and shows up to 18 months of transaction history.
- ExpertPay: For those who need to make child support payments, this updated ExpertPay app with a revamped user interface makes child support management and transactions easier for parents, employers and government employees.
A Nokia study found that the average person checks their phone 150 times a day. Today’s population is connected to their smartphone from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed, so creating apps that enable open communication and service between government agencies and constituents should be a no brainer. What government apps are making your life simpler? We’d love to hear some of your favorites below.