Mobile users of government websites are growing in double digit percentages and will likely soon become the majority. For some recent internal project research, I dove into some of the federal government-wide analytics looking at mobile usage and found a few interesting tidbits to share: It’s an OS battle of the As. Apple devices slightly edge out Android as the most popular with 49.24% to 44.88% of the audience. There’s no realistic third contender.
Have you ever taken your prescription to the pharmacy, the one that you fill regularly, and the pharmacist hands you pills that have a different name and look quite different from what you regularly get? As a chemist by training, I try to curb my initial anxiety by checking out the composition. However, I have always looked for reassurance from the pharmacist that he/she has dispensed an equivalent generic drug at the direction of my doctor.
Gone are the days when you have to drive miles on a hot and humid afternoon or a cold wintry morning to your local post office to mail your letters, get your stamps or determine how much postage you will need for that package. Technology has become integral to our lives, and now many of these familiar postal services are available at our fingertips on our mobile devices. Categorized under business, the USPS Mobile® app services customers’ postal needs.
Went a little too far with a bad habit? Do you or someone you love have difficulty putting down the cancer sticks? The National Cancer Institute has developed a triple threat to help kick this issue for good with an app, responsively-designed website and SMS program to help lead the way to a healthier life! The quitSTART app is free and available to everyone, though tailored to teens.
A penny saved is a penny earned. But spending your pennies on mobile development is necessary to meet 21st century needs. Regardless of how you plan to create that awesome anytime, anywhere mobile experience, it’s going to cost you. While the most obvious parts of the mobile price tag for native app development are initial development and launch, the long term maintenance of the app must also be considered.
We all know it is virtually impossible to prevent natural phenomena such as hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis etc., and we cannot easily avoid these inevitable geological and climatic incidences, as they are typically unpredictable and occur swiftly. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) report, released in March 2015, states that economic losses from disasters are now reaching an average of $250 billion to $300 billion, annually.
The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) released three new mobile apps this summer to honor fallen veterans in overseas cemeteries in Belgium, France and Italy. Information about Flanders Field, Meuse-Argonneand Sicily-RomeAmerican Cemeteries are all now accessible via mobile apps for both Android and iOS. ABMC developed these apps in line with their strategy of “providing an inspirational and educational visitor experience through effective outreach and interpretive programs.” Visitors to the cemeteries overseas are able to download these apps prior to travel or via WiFi in the visitor centers.
We continue our celebration of American history and legacy this July 2015 with the New Horizons spacecraft’s dramatic flight past the icy dwarf planet Pluto and its moons—momentous in space exploration. Just think about it—New Horizons, a NASA space probe traveled over 3 billion miles to the ninth and final planet, making America the first and only country that has sent space probes to every planet that makes up our solar system.
Ahhh… Summer is here at last! It’s time for relaxing vacation! Whether you want to scale the peaks of Mount Everest, scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef, ride a camel in the deserts of Mongolia, or shop in Paris—it is time for a travel app. Gone are the days of just booking cheap flights and accommodations. Now there are travel apps for just about anything—planning, packing, pet care, parking, expense tracking, currency conversion, language translation and even optimal light and dark times to help minimize jet lags.
Analytics company, Localytics, released a new report about mobile app retention rates from the past 4 years that agencies should heed when considering their needs for building native mobile apps, compared to mobile-friendly websites. In the U.S. the number of users that re-engage more than once after installing is pretty low, with 19% of American users abandoning after just one use. The number of “regular” users who have opened the app more than 10 times is also low—42% in 2015, but that is trending upward from 41% in 2014 and 35% in 2013.
The rise in mobile device usage has created a rise in expectations: the public wants new and innovative interactions with all organizations, including government. Incorporating social media in mobile websites and native apps is one way federal agencies have increased public interaction. Six agencies have leveraged native app functionality for crowdsourcing purposes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) leads the way with three public-facing applications that transform ordinary citizens into citizen scientists: Dolphin and Whale 911, Release Mako and CrowdMag.
Just in time for the summer season, the U.S. Coast Guard launched a brand new app to give smartphone users easy, on-demand access to critical boating safety information and resources. With this new app, called United States Coast Guard, users can ensure they have proper equipment, check the weather, file a float plan, and so much more. The app also features an emergency assistance button, which calls the closest Coast Guard command center if the phone’s location services are enabled.
Mobile-friendliness is a must for government. But mobilizing the whole digital enchilada takes time due to various challenges, as experiences from the Department of Education and National Park Service have illustrated. Many agencies are thinking big things for 2015, but if your agency is struggling with that first mobile implementation, you will be asking yourself where to start. Think mobile moments! The mobile moments concept has been popularized by Forrester analysts Julie Ask and Ted Schadler.
Armed with a smartphone instead of a badge, ordinary Americans are helping law enforcement officers capture child predators. After exhausting all investigative leads, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents turn to the public for help to locate fugitive child predators through the Operation Predator smartphone app and social media outreach. And it’s working. Since Operation Predator launched for iPhones in September 2013 and Android devices in Oct 2014, the app has assisted in 6 arrests on charges related to child exploitation.
Spoiler Alert: Every year, billions of pounds of good food go to waste in the U.S. because Americans are not sure if the food is spoiled. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that retailers and consumers waste 36 pounds of food per person each month. The USDA’s FoodKeeper app helps Americans avoid this problem by offering users valuable storage advice about more than 400 food and beverage items, including various types of baby food, dairy products and eggs, meat, poultry, produce, seafood, and more.
The Apple iTunes App store is the only marketplace for downloading apps for the Apple platform. In order to put apps in the iTunes store, agencies or their contractors have signed agreements with Apple to use Apple Software to produce mobile apps that can later be distributed to the public, free of charge. The information included in this article is based on the experiences provided by members of the MobileGov Community of Practice.