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Smart Apps Review

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  • 1. Smart Apps 1
  • 2. 1. Background 42. Developing 5 Smart Apps 2
  • 3. IntroductionThe term “smart apps” refers to software applicationsthat run on smart phones. The basic purpose of theseapplications is to enable users to make use of digitalservices without having to access an internet browser.They also enable people to use services in ways thataren’t as possible on other channels, that: o Locate where you are and personalise the service around that. o Barcode transactional information to make payments or access services. o Overlay digital information relevant to where you are.1With councils looking to promote and share informationabout their services in a way that is quick and easilyaccessible to the general public and looking at waysthat their customers can communicate with them aswell, smart apps appear to offer a potential solution.This is especially the case due to the increase in use ofthis technology and its ability to enable people to easilyexchange information and make transactions. This hasled us to research the long term applicability of thistechnology as well as looking at the opportunities todevelop KCC Apps.This guide should help to you understand thebackground to smart apps and go through the stepsof developing approaches to build new apps whichcan provide council services to the public.1 Otherwise known as augmented reality 3
  • 4. 1. BackgroundSmart applications are being used more and moreacross the country. Indeed, over the past four years,sales of smartphones in the UK have risen almosttenfold2 with 15% of mobile phone users owning asmartphone. They are predicted to continue growingyear on year by over 35%3.Furthermore, these applications are not only limited tomobile phone users, as apps can also be accessedthrough other type of mobile applications, such as theiPod Touch or the iPad and so potentially offer an evenwider customer base.There is limited evidence on statistics for take up ofpublic services apps as they are so new, but forexample Warwickshire Council have seen a fifteen foldincrease of smart phone users to its website from1000-15,000 hits since it developed its own generalpurpose smart app. As mentioned above, this is in linewith the increase in smart phone usage across the UK.For specific uses from a clientele that is less likely touse smart phones, i.e. those out of work, about 6% ofJobcentre Plus customers use its app with over 60,000downloads.Alongside the rapid growth of smartphone sales, thereseems strong rationale for further exploring the use ofsmart phone applications which could provideinnovative and cost effective services for people inKent.By changing the way people approach using theirmobiles and accessing online public services, theseapps, designed to serve people on the move anddeveloped to provide multiple services, should helpdeliver benefits for both KCC and the people of Kent.2 OFCOM Technology Tracker3 Inform Telecoms and Media 4
  • 5. Developing Smart Phone AppsHaving read the background to why smart apps couldbenefit councils you may wish to develop your ownsmart app. To do this you will need to: 1. Develop the approach 2. Engage people in your project 5
  • 6. 1. Develop the approachFor the smart apps to become a useful tool for yourresidents and your council, develop an approach thatfocuses on different strands which all complementeach other. o Develop a cost benefit analysis of the effectiveness of smart apps in order to see whether the benefits outweigh the costs. For this you should calculate the proportion of service users who have downloaded the app versus the proportion of users who use online/phone/face to face access. You should also calculate the costs to develop and administrate apps versus the cost of the overall process of developing and managing the service. Given the cost of development ranges from £0- £12000 depending on which smartphone you want to develop an app for and whether or not you have the skills available to program the language the required, it is recommended to conduct a thorough market analysis. o Develop a market analysis which analyses the app economy in Kent to identify local developers that we could work with to develop your apps. Further, you should learn what types of smartphones are available, which are most widely used and review the different platforms4. o Develop a customer analysis which allows you to review the different demographic groupings against smart phone users. This can be achieved using the Mosaic database. This should include: o Age o Gender o Location o If they have a high demand on public servicesOptionally, you could assess the behaviour of thecustomers of your service in use of smart phone appsto access local services in Kent.4 Including Nokia Symbian (38.8%), RIM Blackberry OS (19.2%), Apple iOS(15.9%) Google Android (9.8%). 6
  • 7. o Develop a resource analysis which evaluates the cost, skills and technology needed to develop apps to each of the different types of smart phones. This should include the: o Different types of smartphone apps available o Data traffic by platform o Costs of developing apps for different platforms o Skills needed to develop apps o Technology needed to develop apps o Review of existing online services for apps5Resources TypesNeeded of Smart PhoneTo develop Time Technology Research Funding Trainingor test outthese tools,we need nota lot (1),some (2) or alot of (3) iPhone 2 3 2 2 3 OS Blackber 1 1 2 1 2 ry OS Android 1 1 2 1 2 Symbian 1 1 2 2 1 OS Window s Mobile 1 2 2 1 25 For example “Apply for it” apps, “Ask for it” apps, “Find it” apps, “Pay for it” apps,“Report it” apps. 7
  • 8. 2. Engage people in your project o Encourage app developers to explore how you could test or pilot these tools out, especially those groups helping prototype apps to improve public services6. o Raise awareness across your local area, sector7, national media8 and other related work streams in your council. This could be achieved by posting videos on the KCC Website would allow you to explain your ideas to the public. You could also feature a vox pop or forum there to get quick feedback and discover new ideas. o Involve business units responsible to identify what research you could capture together of the impact of apps on improving services. Representatives of your communications, technology, engagement and information services are critical. o Engage companies enabling users to develop apps for them to see if there any opportunities for collaboration9 and understanding lessons they have learnt. o Sound out people who are already working on smart apps. This will give you a better understanding on how to engage the community of developers in this field. o Get people to help each other. Encourage volunteers to get together and complete tasks while they’re out and about. Get young people excited about positive activities and connect with each other.6 http://appsforgood.org/7 http://www.idea.gov.uk/idk/core/page.do?pageId=92746278 http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/oct/30/politics-web29 Such as O2 Litmus 8