Smart city apps that give local businesses a shout out

Wed, 2014-03-12 06:00 -- Liz Enbysk

Smart cities are vibrant cities – and apps can help. Scroll down for a peek at three from our Smart Cities Apps Gallery that demonstrate how cities large and small – from the Village of Grayslake, Illinois to Santander, Spain -- are using smartphone apps to promote local businesses.

The Village of Grayslake, Illinois – population 21,000-plus -- used funds from its economic development budget to launch an app to promote local businesses. The Shop Grayslake app includes a business directory, perks that users can redeem via their smartphones and the ability to receive updates from favorite businesses. The app, developed by SweetPerk, Inc., also serves as a digital punch card.

The Spanish port city of Santander – with a population approaching 180,000 – has an app that includes information about 2,700 places in the city -- from beaches to shops to parking places. Using augmented reality technology, it creates an overlay on the smartphone screen showing nearby points of interest and when selected displays a short description, photo and distance to it.

Jacksonville, Florida – which has a population around 836,507 – offers residents and visitors a way to keep tabs on local doings. In a bid to boost economic development, the city's Office of Special Events and Information Technologies Division developed JaxHapps – a smartphone app that showcases a variety of local activities – from sporting events and concerts to charity events and more.

These are just a few examples of apps in our Apps Gallery that illustrate how cities are promoting economic development. The Gallery features a wide range of apps cities are using to connect with citizens and streamline services – citizen reporting apps, public safety apps, even a category of apps for city hall insiders. If you need inspiration to get your city on the apps bandwagon -- or new ideas to freshen your apps portfolio – you'll want to visit the Gallery. (Note: A free, one-time registration is required. Learn more.)

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