As smartphones have become increasingly faster and more adept in their processing capabilities, mobile apps have followed suit, offering more user-friendly ways of accessing information, communicating with others, and increasing productivity. By the end of 2017, research indicates that nearly half of the world throughout 80 countries will own smartphones.
As these numbers continue to grow, so do opportunities for municipalities to engage with their communities. Municipal leaders looking to expand their reach and increase civic engagement can connect with users through any web-enabled device with mobile apps. Municipal apps, like the IHUBApp powered by InspireHUB Technologies, help cities thrive by providing the tools needed to improve both internal communications and productivity, while offering residents instant access to municipal data, services and leaders.
1. Make Communication Easier and More Convenient
To maximize stretched budgets, more municipalities are adopting digital communication strategies that feature a mobile app as their key platform for communicating with their community. It boosts engagement where paper newsletters are falling off, and offers an easier way for even non-technical municipal staff to share news and other resources with residents.
95% of Americans now own a cellphone of some kind, with it being the key entry point to the online world for many of them. Since mobile apps are a part of most people’s lives as a key source of information, a municipal app is the perfect internal communication tool to increase engagement between civic officials and community members.
Because progressive web apps are available across iOS, Android, and other mobile platforms, and can be accessed on all devices, including laptops, tablets, smartphones, and any web-enabled platform, many smaller municipalities are utilizing Progressive Web Apps for two-way community communication. Tony Haddad, CAO of Town of Tecumseh, shares what made the IHUBApp such a powerful launchpad for them. “The first feature that drew us to the IHUBApp was the Automated Newsletter Digest. Communication is very important and our app builds a digest based on what channels our residents join and also lets them determine how often they are notified so that communications are timely. The second feature of the app was that it allows us the flexibility to give every elected official their own channel directly into their wards. Now, Councillors have a tool to engage with their residents while maintaining compliance with the Municipal Act during election season. Our Councillors all felt this was a strength and are looking forward to using this tool.”
Municipalities who have been using PWA’s are seeing increased user engagement, including return visits, longer usage times, and larger numbers of daily active users because Progressive Web Apps are available both online and offline.
Without needing a network or wifi connection, residents can still access council updates, city services news and schedules, festival and events information, parks and recreation activity guides, and other points of civic engagement. The Progressive Web App platform provides an easy-to-use interface for any type of digital communication strategy that have resident’s goals in mind.
2. Provide Access to Municipal Informatioin and Data, Anywhere, Anytime
City apps are a perfect way for municipal offices to store local government information, such as election results, festival and conference details, or answers to frequently asked questions. Providing a faster and more efficient alternative for communities to access civic information, rather than having to take time out of their day to visit a physical office, or wait on the phone, or in line adds tremendous value. Supporting a city or town with 24/7 access to municipal information creates a thriving community that is united through local news, updates, and even neighborhood-level communication.
3. Boost Civic Productivity
Municipalities thrive when their officials have the right tools to communicate important information quickly and affordably, and to respond to their residents’ ideas and concerns. PWA’s are providing municipalities with content and event management tools that make it easier to reach and interact with their constituents. The Town of Greater Napanee was also one of the first municipalities to recognize the potential of the IHUBApp, powered by InspireHUB Technologies. They recognized the potential for not only improving their productivity internally, but also increasing community engagement. The Town has been looking for ways to communicate quickly and promote special events in a cost-effective manner for some time now," explains Ray Callery CAO of Greater Napanee . "What we found with this product is that it is easy to use from both the content development and end user perspective. As soon as we developed the content for one event, staff had identified hundreds of possible uses for interacting with our residents, businesses and visitors. The IHUBApp offers huge potential and is very cost effective for smaller municipalities trying to improve two-way communication. Here are some of the IHUBApp features that are helping them do that:
- Ability to conduct real-time polls and surveys
- Tools to automate registration for conferences, festivals and events
- Access to unlimited public and private channels to share information and resources, and manage communication campaigns
- An easy way to promote municipality-centered opportunities
- Tools that make it simple to invite residents and staff to upload their own content for sharing.
When civic leaders and staff have tools to help them manage communications more effectively, they are able to focus more of their time directly on the people they serve, and activities that create thriving, sustainable communities.
Using Progressive Web Apps, like the IHUBApp, powered by InspireHUB Technologies, provides municipalities with opportunities to boost their productivity and reduce their spending, while sharing important information faster, to more of the people they serve, and truly engaging their residents.
Town of Tecumseh Mayor, Gary McNamara, shares what made the IHUBApp such a compelling municipal app. “The Town of Tecumseh is always looking at new ways to reach residents and continue to communicate the work we do for them. We have three main priorities to engage our residents: communication, compliance, and reach. When we learned about the IHUBApp and saw that residents controlled their app experience by joining the channels they are interested in, we felt that was a game changer. More residents can participate."