Cities: You have three years to start rolling out smartphone apps

Wed, 2013-11-06 06:07 -- Jesse Berst

Today government apps for smartphones are still seen as progressive... a "bonus." Soon, however, they will be expected. In fact, cities in most parts of the world have three to five years before citizens will expect them as a matter of course.

My advice -- don't let your individuals departments rush out to build mobile apps on their own. Instead, take the time to create a platform that any department can build upon, along with some standards for privacy, security and look-and-feel. Council Lead Partner AT&T has one such "starter pack" called AT&T Community Central, and there are other great options. -- Jesse Berst

A survey of iPhone and Android users in five major cities around the world found that more than 80% expect things like mobile services for dinner reservations, in-store mobile navigation and mobile-based personal traffic navigation systems will be commonplace in the next three years.

The smartphone users surveyed, ages 15 to 69, were asked how such services influence their satisfaction with their city's livability and also about the positive and negative aspects of city life. The respondents suggested information and communications technologies (ICT) were drivers in three aspects of city life that gave them satisfaction: shopping, eating out and attending sports, entertainment and cultural events.

A report in IT World Canada quoted Cecilia Atterwell, head of the Ericsson Consumer Lab that released the survey:  “We are headed for an extreme app demand of a projected growth of about five times what we have today,” she said. “This is a call out to government agencies, device manufacturers, carriers and businesses that if they intend to remain relevant to their clientele, they need to be prepared to roll out these type of mobile services within the next three to five years.”

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Jesse Berst is the founding Chairman of the Smart Cities Council. Click to subscribe to SmartCitiesNow, the weekly newsletter highlighting smart city trends, technologies and techniques.