Federal government boosts digital strategy with mobile apps, security programs
By Chantal Tode
May 29, 2013
The White House is talking up a series of recent mobile initiatives designed to more efficiently and effectively connect Americans with government, including mobile security guidelines and a mobile application development program.
These developments reflect the growing role that mobile is playing in people’s lives and the government’s strategy to deliver information anywhere, anytime and on any device. The news was revealed by the White House on the year anniversary of the release of its Digital Government Strategy and is meant to build on that strategy.
A blog post introducing the mobile initiatives addressed how open government data that is publicly accessible in easy-to-use formats can fuel innovation and economic growth.
One way that the government is embracing mobile is through the release of hundreds of APIs that can be used by private-sector developers to create new applications and services.
These APIs encompass government datasets such as home and business energy trends, real-time earthquake notifications around the world and the current weather on Mars transmitted from the Curiosity Rover.
To facilitate the creation of new apps, each government agency has released its own developer pages and Data.gov launched a government-wide API directory so these resources are easier to find and use.
These moves were further supported by President Obama’s recently executive order and open data policy making open and machine-readable the new default for government data.
The federal government also created the Mobile Application Development Program to help agencies launch mobile apps.
The government is also focused on optimizing federal Web sites for mobile devices and creating its own mobile apps to ensure government services are available to citizens on any device.
For example, the new USAJobs app from the Office of Personnel Management makes it easier for job seekers to search and apply for jobs with their mobile devices, and the SaferBus app from the Department of Transportation allows users to access a bus company’s safety performance record and file a complaint from their mobile devices.
In order to have insight into what information the public is looking for, where they are looking for it and if they are able to find it, the government has implemented a digital analytics program.
Centralizing the management of mobile devices used by government employees and strengthen the security of government’s mobile platforms is the focus of another series of developments, including the creation of a government-wide mobile and wireless contract program that acts as a “family plan” for the federal government and which is expected to save taxpayers $300 million over the next five years.
A new Managed Mobility Program was also created at GSA.
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York
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