Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mobile Technology Creates a Win-Win

Mobile Technology Creates a Win-Win

            A special report on Enterprise Mobility in the Public CIO journal highlighted some of the benefits local and state governments can gain by leveraging technology.  Along with this, the article hints at a resource that few governments are taking advantage of that possesses a win-win for all parties involved. 

Virtually all governments across America are facing similar situations with shrinking budgets, but also the same ability to leverage technology, yet few governments have sought new ways to capture the power that most devices offer.  An area where mobile technology is being exploited for its benefits is the area of emergency preparedness.  Unlike most, the county of Pierce, Washington uses mobile devices to conduct damage assessments of buildings and infrastructures after natural disasters.  In the past, damage assessments were collected via paper, which led to input errors as due to human mistake.  Now, field operators can immediately upload the data to the emergency operations center. 
Pierce County also partners with the University of Washington to increase its efficiency while lowering its costs had they contracted out this service.  Working together, these two institutions developed a program where university students collaborate with Pierce county IT professionals to develop applications during their internship.  The students are exposed to real life experience along with coaching and other mentorship opportunities.  Additionally the students report that this opportunity sets them apart from others who have never received this experience.  This partnership gives the city the reach back capability of the students along with free labor.  Similar to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center case we recently discussed in class, the University also serves as a pool or bench for future employment. 
The city of Anaheim California is taking a different approach of the advantages that mobile technology.  They have developed an app that allows residents to report graffiti or non-emergency suspicious activity using their phones camera and GPS tagging capabilities. 

Though these two example are completely different, it shows that governments can indeed use mobile devices for various uses.  Cities can take advantage of the academic institutions where mobile technology is studied in order to govern more effectively. 
There are countless other ways that governments can take advantage of this field.  Does anyone have any other examples?

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