21 Sep
2018

Kevin Wiens

By

Town of Arnprior, Ontario Releases a Mobile App

town of arnprior logo

The Town of Arnprior, Ontario, with approximately 8,795 residents, has launched a mobile app to improve communication and engagement with citizens.

 

 

Available for free on both iOS and Android, Arnprior residents are now equipped with an on-the-go mobile application to perform daily tasks and navigate within the town.

 

“Arnprior is out front on this issue,” CAO Michael Wildman said. “So it’s all right there at your fingertips.”

 

arnprior app

 

The Town of Arnprior focused heavily on location-based engagement by providing automated notifications with “beacons” to notify residents. Residents will be notified when driving by the Arnprior & District Museum about the latest exhibits, for example. Or, while biking along Robert Simpson Park a message will encourage the user to learn about the upcoming concert in the park. These are just a few of the geographic-based notifications provided by the Town of Arnprior.

 

The app also encourages active mobility in the Town by including locations lists and information for healthcare facilities, parks, libraries, trails, parking lots, and municipal buildings.

 

arnprior app

 

Town staff plan to constantly update and add new content, such as the “Vote 2018” features that help citizens participate in its upcoming municipal election. Residents can view the schedule of events, register to vote, view registered candidates and view FAQs.

 

After the election commences, Arnprior staff can access the Info Grove backend, delete the election content, and add new features to keep the app fresh.

 

arnprior app

 

In order to facilitate two-way communication, the Town has added important information about council and committees, such as meeting calendars, the mayor and council list, agendas and meeting minutes, and a “request to speak” feature.

 

An important focus of the app was to help citizens complete real-world tasks. Citizens can access garbage and recycling schedules and view recreation schedules like public swimming or ice skating.

 

Lastly, citizens can view information on job opportunities, access festival and event details, and information on road closures and other emergency information.

 

 

“It is the wave of the future,” Mayor David Reid said about the Town’s new mobile app.

 

 

Info Grove mobile apps

 

The Arnprior mobile app was built and hosted using 14 Oranges’ Info Grove platform. Click here to learn more about Info Grove mobile apps!

14 Sep
2018

Kevin Wiens

By

5 Reasons to Adopt a Mobile-First Strategy

 

According to a study conducted by Google, people are 2x more likely to have a brand experience on a mobile device than they are to interact in person, through the TV or through a computer. – Forbes

 

Developing a mobile-first strategy requires a deep understanding of mobile consumer habits. Going mobile-first will likely require a new focus on content and a shift from the desktop or printed material. ComScore recently released its statistics on mobile usage trends. Here are 5 reasons to develop a mobile-first strategy today. All graphs and statistics are courtesy of ComScore.

 

1. Mobile users consume more than 2x minutes vs. desktop users:

When looking at each region’s desktop users and mobile users separately, mobile users universally consume more digital minutes per person – more than double in the majority of countries.

 

 

2. Smartphone takes the largest share of global digital minutes:

The smartphone is now the dominant platform in terms of total minutes across every market.

 

 

3. Apps account for 80% of mobile time:

When considering mobile (smartphone and tablet) minutes in isolation, they are overwhelmingly dominated by app consumption – over 80% of all mobile time in the markets considered for this report.

 

 

4. Size of ‘mobile only’ audience grew almost universally:

‘Mobile only’ audiences are now second only to ‘multi-platform’ users in the majority of markets, and appear to be increasing their reach among the overall population in many markets.

 

 

5. Mobile-Only usage within the Retail category has increased across all generations:

 

 

 

The statistics do not lie. Across all countries, age groups, and interests, we are seeing increased mobile usage. However, simply building a mobile app will not be enough to maximize return on investment. A mobile app must do more than “exist” on the app stores, the content will need updating and will require adjusting to reflect feedback and analytics. A mobile-first strategy requires adopting new ways of communicating and generating revenue.

If you don’t have a technical background or the budget to develop an app in-house, look for a mobile app solution that comes equipped with a backend content management system. A system like Info Grove has a user-friendly backend that allows for quick content updates, setting geo-fences, adding banner ads, and more. Click here to learn more about Info Grove mobile apps and see if it’s right for you.

 

 

Info Grove mobile apps

 

 

04 Sep
2018

Kevin Wiens

By

Unifor Mobile App

 

 

Unifor is Canada’s largest private sector union with more than 315,000 members across the country working in every major sector of the Canadian economy.

 

Unifor has launched its new mobile app for union members and the public to stay connected in an easy to use digital platform. The app is available for free on both iOS and Android and operates in both French and English. Primarily, the app focuses on the information most relevant to local Unifor activists, including breaking news, priority solidarity campaigns, and a calendar of events.

 

Unifor mobile app

 

Unifor runs advocacy campaigns, such as “Support Local 597! Send a letter to Dwight Ball” or “Universal Pharmacare” and plans to use the app to gain public momentum. A series of targeted push notifications, based on union sectors, member status, and geographic location, can be sent to members across the country in seconds. Union members have immediate access to campaign links and can send an advocacy email in minutes.

mobile advocacy campaigns

 

The mobile app also includes a breaking news section, which is automatically updated on an ongoing basis. Unifor members can access the latest union news in seconds, making staying informed faster and more convenient.

 

mobile app breaking news

 

“Unifor has a comprehensive online presence. This new tool will help activists and allies stay up-to-date on campaigns and get more involved,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

 

event mobile app

 

UNIFOR brings a modern approach to unionism: adopting new tools, involving and engaging members, and looking for new ways to develop the role and approach of unions to meet demands in the 21st century.

 

custom app experience

 

While the Unifor website remains the most complete source of news and resources about the union’s broad range of activities, the mobile app is designed to be the “at-a-glance” digital tool for staying engaged.

 

Unifor mobile app

 

“Members have told us they want easy access to news they can use about their union, on their mobile phones and we have delivered,” said Katha Fortier, Assistant to the National President in charge of the Local Union Task Force.

 

The Unifor app was built using 14 Oranges’ Info Grove platform. Info Grove allows Unifor staff to independently add and edit content in the backend CMS. Staff can set geo-fences, add banner ads, and create new campaigns with the content management system. Click here to learn more about Info Grove mobile apps.

 

Info Grove mobile apps

 

 

28 Aug
2018

Kevin Wiens

By

Education Minnesota Mobile App

Education Minnesota Mobile app

 

Education Minnesota has launched its new mobile app for members, students, and the general public to stay engaged with education in Minnesota.

 

The mobile app is available for free on both iOS and Android to members and the general public.

 

Comprised of over 89,000 members, Education Minnesota includes K-12 teachers, university faculty, college students, and retired educators all committed to positive educational change in Minnesota.

 

Education Minnesota

 

The app connects union members and industry advocates with an easy-to-navigate mobile platform for advocacy, events, and communication.

 

Available exclusively to members is the membership card section, which allows members to access their benefit card and launch their unique QR code to redeem benefits where accepted.

 

Education Minnesota

 

Also available through the mobile app is a calendar of events, all recent publications from the Minnesota Educator Magazine, links to social media, and information about advocacy action.

 

The mobile app can be used by members to stay up to date regarding industry news and events, and access resources to improve their individual impact.

 

mobile app events

 

Members will have improved access to tools that contact lawmakers and increase legislative action. Education Minnesota can send push notifications immediately to direct users with a call to action.

 

 

The mobile app was built using 14 Oranges’ Info Grove platform. Info Grove is a combination of a web-based content management system and a mobile app that gives staff quick access to app content.

 

Education Minnesota staff will be able to quickly update and add new content with a user friendly backend interface.

 

Education Minnesota can also send targeted push notifications, set up geo-fences and beacons, create polls and surveys, and much more.

Click here to learn more about Info Grove mobile apps!

20 Aug
2018

Kevin Wiens

By

Macdonald-Laurier Public Policy App

 

macdonald laurier logo

 

 

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is a non-partisan, independent national public policy think tank in Ottawa focusing on the full range of issues that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Download the app for Android and iOS today!

 

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute mobile app is the touchstone resource for informed, non-partisan commentary on Canadian federal public policy. The mobile app is available for free on iOS and Android.

 

Macdonald laurier mobile app

 

The app provides Canadian opinion leaders, decision makers, and concerned citizens with timely access to the best ideas on vital Canadian issues including national security, global affairs, fiscal policy, innovation, natural resource management, Indigenous rights and criminal justice, to name just a few.

Along with quick and easy access to videos, commentary and podcasts, and social media integration, the app is the best way to receive upcoming MLI event notices.

 

Also included in the MLI mobile app is a list of institute experts with contact information and biographies, and PDF downloads for all recent MLI Inside Policy Magazine.

 

 

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute mobile app was built using 14 Oranges’ Info Grove platform.

 

Info Grove is an easy-to-use mobile app and content management system for organizations and government bodies. Info Grove allows non-technical individuals to access and edit app content using the cloud-hosted CMS.

 

Interested in a mobile app for your organization? Click here to learn more about Info Grove.

Info Grove mobile apps

27 Jun
2018

Sylvain Marcotte

By

Uber Me Mobile App

Over the last little while, we have had a lot a folks approaching us with an idea to build an Uber of “Insert Market here”. All of them very good ideas. Now we are not about to share those ideas with you (we sign strict NDAs with our customers) but what we will discuss here are some of the common aspects these ideas have and also some of the common challenges.

 

The Uber Concept

 

Well unless you have been living under a rock or living in Vancouver where Uber is still not allowed, Uber needs no introduction. The peer-to-peer ride service has revolutionized the transportation industry (much to the chagrin of taxi companies) and demonstrated the power of the web and crowdsourcing allowing to tie customers with locally sourced providers in a very efficient way. You install the app, create an account, and voila, you have a fleet of drivers ready to drive you anywhere at a fraction of the costs that a normal taxi would charge you. All transactions are handled by the service with no physical money being exchanged by the end users. As you can imagine, this delivery model can be applied to many other industries. For the purpose of this example, let’s imagine a Uber service designed to help you find local dog walkers. Your dog needs to go for a stroll, you fire up an app and find people near you that don’t mind walking an extra dog for a fee. They come and pick up your dog, walk it (and clean the stuff), and bring it back to you. Once the dog is returned to you, you don’t even need to pay them directly. The service handles it. Simple enough right? Unfortunately not so. Let’s dive into why.

 

Common Aspects

 

All the Uber like services have some very common aspects that need to considered when designing the service:

  1. A Customer App

     

  2. A Supplier App

     

  3. Locally Sourced Providers/Customers

     

  4. Time Sensitive Behaviour

     

  5. Backend Services

     

Customer App

 

Kind of goes with saying that a service like that would need an app. Now don’t get me wrong, some services such as Craigslist and Kijiji have been very successful as desktop applications but the convenience and ease of use of an app coupled with the ability to use a reliable GPS signal within have really enabled Uber to explode like it did. The key here is that our app needs to be able to easily display the suppliers that are available, their rates, available times, and their details. Maybe they only walk small dogs or big dogs.

Supplier App

 

The supplier app is for the other side of the fence and is often forgotten. The app allows our dog walkers to see a list of customers that are requesting to have their dogs walked, the type of dogs, how many, and their schedule. The user interface may have some common aspects with the customer app but in general will differ quite a bit. Suppliers will need to have buttons/controls to specify when they are available and when they are not, specify when they are on a job or not, have the ability to view job requests and accept or reject them. All things that a customer would not have to deal with.

Locally Sourced Suppliers/Customers

 

For both the Customer app and the Supplier app, it is vital for the Suppliers and Customers respectively to be locally sourced. If you live in San Francisco and are looking to have your dog walked, it doesn’t help you if someone from Arkansas sees your request. In fact, it probably hinders you as your request may be buried by hundreds of requests from another more popular location.

Time Sensitive Behaviour

 

When looking for a supplier to fulfill your request, you typically need to have it done within a certain time frame. Now dog walking may have a more repeatable nature compared to requiring a car ride which tends to be more ephemeral but in general, you are looking for someone to handle your request sooner rather than later or within a very specific window.

Backend Services

 

Although these type of services are called peer-to-peer since they involve direct connection between customers and suppliers without involvement from a supervisory body, they are (for most) in fact, very much centralized services. If that wasn’t the case, it would be difficult (although not impossible) for the service to collect its fees. Again with Uber, customers and drivers don’t exchange money directly. It all flows through Uber allowing them to take their cut. Moreover, administrators must be able to oversee how the service is running and see logs of requests, services rendered, so on to help with customer service or any refunds or conflict resolutions.

 

Common Challenges

 

Chicken and the Egg

So, we have a good idea, we will help customers find dog walkers. We put all the pieces in place, the customer app and the supplier app are on the respective app stores, we have our backend services all fired up and we launch our service. What happens day one? Nothing. Why? No customer is willing to download the app because they are no dog walkers and no dog walkers are willing to download the app because they are no customers. As you can see we have a pretty big chicken and the egg problem. Unfortunately this service is not one that can grow organically one customer at a time. We need to start with a critical mass. How can we resolve that? There are a couple of ways.

 
Superbowl Ad

We can pay to run an ad during the Superbowl to advertise our service which should get a whole bunch of people signed up all at once and we are up and running. All good; however, beside the cost of running the ad (7 figures), we better hope our service is foolproof; otherwise, customers and suppliers will run away very quickly if they find our service to not function properly.

 
Focused Launch

The simpler way (and the way Uber took) is to pick a city that we understand well and only deploy with that city and then do some advance leg work to seed the service with both customers and suppliers. Perhaps we tell dog walkers that we guarantee them some customers within X amount of days or we make the service free to customers for the first X days and advertise heavily. Most scenarios involve an investment in time and money (usually the latter) to get the service up and running. Once we got our first city up and running, we can then look to expand to a second city, so on, so forth, and eventually the cost to capture a new city gets cheaper and cheaper as words gets out about the service and we don’t need to advertise as much or discount our service as much to get people to sign up.

Costs

 

As you probably gathered, launching our dog walking service is not going to be on the cheap side. We need to develop 2 apps, an administrator interface and server infrastructure, and finally we need to make a big investment into securing suppliers and customers day one to get our service up and running. So how much are we talking about here? Well in our experience (we have actually launched such a service called Questogo), we are easily looking at 6 figures. Yes that’s a number with 5 zeros after.  There is a reason why there aren’t too many competitors for Uber as the technology itself is not earth shattering. If it was cheap, anyone could replicate the model and enter cities where Uber is not in yet and capture it first. Lyft is Uber’s direct competitor and it is probably a safe bet that Lyft is likely more popular in some cities than others.  

Can You Walk the Walk?

 

Now we are not trying to discourage you in building such service (if you want to build a service to walk dogs, you are more than welcome to use our idea). The services do offer some great benefits and really unlock the power of the web and mobile phones. However, you have to be ready to walk the walk and come with a full wallet.

 

 

22 Jun
2018

Kevin Wiens

By

City of Lethbridge Parks & Rec App

city of lethbridge logo

 

The City of Lethbridge has released its new mobile app for citizens and visitors to explore parks and recreation within the city. The Lethbridge Parks app is where users will find information on parks, playgrounds, pathways and other outdoor activities in the city.

 

Available for free on both iOS and Android, the new mobile app demonstrates a mobile-first approach to active engagement within the City of Lethbridge.

 

The mobile app allows users to access a wide variety of city information in a convenient mobile format. The majority of content is available offline, meaning users do not need a data or a wifi connection in order to access information.

 

Lethbridge Parks strongly encourages active engagement with city facilities and public spaces, and the new app will make it easier for citizens who aren’t aware of the opportunities to get engaged.

 

According to the City website, Lethbridge Parks offer many benefits to residents – they connect citizens to the city’s past, help to keep citizens healthy, make them happy and are good for the environment.

city of lethbridge mobile app

Here are some of the top features in the mobile app:

Trails & Pathways

Synced with Google Maps, users can avoid the busy streets and opt to travel via the cities large network of trails and pathways.

 

 

Parks & Recreation

The app provides a list of all parks, green spaces, playgrounds, sports fields, recreation sites, and sites of interest. Users can view the list alphabetically, sort by distance, or search by keyword. Also, users can switch from a list to a map to provide a spatial perspective.

Once a user finds a place of interest, they can click on it and learn more about the space. For example, citizens can learn whether or not a playground has a public washroom, if it’s wheelchair accessible, and learn about the playground material and surface.

If citizens want to visit the space, they can quickly get directions via Google Maps. Or, they can click on the myRIDE feature, which provides a directory of modes of public transportation in the City of Lethbridge.

city of lethbridge mobile app

Service Request

To help facilitate two-way communication, the mobile app allows citizens to report a service request in and around the city. Citizens can report problems such as graffiti, potholes, or broken equipment.

 

City News

The app connects users to city news, via an automatically synced RSS feed.

 

Parks and Rec Guide

The City of Lethbridge recreation and culture guide is a monthly publication that promotes activities, programs, and services for the citizens of Lethbridge. Through the app, citizens have access to the PDF documents to review.

 

Social Media

The app allows citizens to access all City of Lethbridge social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.

 

Future updates

The City of Lethbridge mobile app was built using 14 Oranges’ Info Grove platform. Info Grove is a combination of a mobile app and a cloud-hosted content management system.

 

Info Grove allows City staff with no technical background to make edits within the app and add new content with ease.

 

Staff can create new buttons and content for temporary events, update resources, and adapt to the opinions of the citizens.

 

The City of Lethbridge will be able to send push notifications to update citizens regarding emergencies or facility breakdowns.

 

Lastly, Info Grove is equipped with geo-fence and beacon technology. The City of Lethbridge will be able to leverage this to create spatial-based triggers to notify users when entering a park or recreation facility, if relevant.

 

 

 

Info Grove Mobile Apps

 

 

07 Jun
2018

Kevin Wiens

By

Orica Mining Mobile App: Field Worker Management

Orica mobile app

 

 

Orica is the world’s largest provider of commercial explosives and innovative blasting systems to the mining, quarrying, oil and gas and construction markets, a leading supplier of sodium cyanide for gold extraction, and a specialist provider of ground support services in mining and tunnelling.

 

 

Orica mining

 

The Problem?

 

Orica has over 100 field workers and was looking for a way to improve field worker efficiency. Orica's field workers are required to fill out forms, submit claims, and act quickly in case of emergency. Orica had documents and reference materials that were only available by PDF or hard copy, so they were looking for a solution that could make the documents readily accessible by users on their phones without having to rely on internet connectivity.

 

paper forms

 

The Solution

Orica mining mobile app

 

 

14 Oranges came in and developed a mobile app that allows users to access reference materials, procedures, and contact information without an internet connection.

14 Oranges converted Orica’s unique paper forms into a mobile format that works with smartphones and tablets. As Orica adds new forms, and require edits to forms, they will be able to access the backend and make changes without coming back to 14 Oranges.

 

orica mobile app
orica mobile app

In addition, the app has other forms and quick links to external resources, including a touch-to-dial or touch-to-email feature. Users can fill out forms remotely and choose to send them once they're back in a location with cell service or wifi.

In the case of an emergency, the app provides a step by step process for the field workers to follow. The app uses minimal battery usage, as all content is stored offline and requires no data or wifi connection to operate.

 

orica map

 

 

Info Grove Mobile Apps

 

 

Info Grove Mobile Apps

 

 

Orica uses our Info Grove mobile app platform as an internal app for field workers to complete forms and submit claims on the job.

All forms and data collected in the app are stored in Info Grove’s content management system, along with the email addresses of staff members.

Info Grove is perfect for companies that require a tool for mobile field workers. Info Grove has a variety of complex form features, allowing users to take photos, submit data, and email from the app.

In addition to complex forms and a backend data source, Info Grove provides access to PDF documents, spatial-based triggers (geo-fences and beacons), contact list, location list, footers, targeted push notifications, and can be password protected.

Interested in a mobile app for your business? Click here to learn more about Info Grove mobile apps.

18 May
2018

Kevin Wiens

By

Geo-Fencing: Location-Based Mobile Engagement

geo-fence mobile app

 

What is a geo-fence?

A geo-fence is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area. The virtual area is set up using global positioning system (GPS) technology. The majority of geo-fences work together with a mobile device and a downloaded mobile app. In most cases, as a mobile device enters a geo-fence, it triggers a pre-programmed action on the device.

 

 

How does a geo-fence work?

We will explain the process as if your geo-fence is working in conjunction with a mobile app.

First, the virtual area must be configured by an administrator in the backend of your mobile app. For many applications, this involves accessing a content management system and setting a longitude and latitude for the desired area. The administrator then determines how large the geographic boundary will be, in meters. The size of your geo-fence is set drawing a radius from the latitude and longitude and creates a virtual circle around your defined area. The final step is to determine what type of location-timed service you are going to provide, either a local notification or location-specific content.

Second, the user must have your app installed and they’ll require location services turned on for your app. It’s important to ensure the app users have location services turned on in order for your geo-fence to function.

 

How to use geo-fences

Geo-fencing is most commonly performed with local notifications. As a mobile device enters the pre-defined area, the device will become “activated” within the geo-fence. At 14 Oranges, we provide you two options for using geo-fences:

 

1. Automatically send a local notification to the user within seconds of the app user entering your defined perimeter. The notification can provide information, link them to other pages within the app, external URLs, and mobile resources.

2. Activate content that is only accessible when the app user is physically inside of the pre-defined area. When a user enters the area, they “unlock” new pieces of content in the app that would otherwise be inaccessible when they’re outside of the area.

 

Real-World Example: Snapchat

Snapchat uses geo-fence technology to enable specific filters as mobile devices enter new areas; this an example of “unlocking” location-based content. If you’ve used apps like Snapchat in the past, you’ve probably noticed this location-based service. Location-based filters and stickers are widely used with Snapchat. Most major cities in North America have their own unique Snapchat filter made with a geo-fence which covers city limits.

 

snapchat geo-fence

 

Benefits of geo-fences

There are countless benefits of geo-fence technology working with a mobile app, the most significant being improved mobile engagement. Geo-fencing allows you to notify your app users at the most relevant time or provide more relevant content. Businesses, governments, organizations, and events have a powerful toolkit for reaching their target audience in a timely fashion with geo-fences.

 

Geo-fences for Cities

 

geo-fence cities

 

Cities have a unique opportunity with geo-fence technology. Cities have a guaranteed user base for location-enabled services, as the citizens move around the city every day. Cities can set up geo-fences in the downtown shopping areas, parks and recreation facilities, and relevant boundaries.

Cities can use geo-fences to set up notifications to connect citizens to local deals, discounts, or events, and provide useful information about the physical area they’ve just entered. For example, as a user approaches a trailhead for a hike, they could be greeted with information about rules and safety in the outdoors.

 

Geo-fences for Associations

 

association geo-fence

 

Associations are able to use geo-fences in a few creative ways to enhance member engagement and the overall member (mobile) experience.

 

EVENTS:

Events are a great way to leverage geo-fence technology for associations and organizations. As attendees enter the venue, you’re able to greet them with an automated notification. A geo-fence could remind them about the day’s activities, schedule, or direct them to more content in the app. Add a new geo-fence for every day of the event, or set up a few smaller perimeters for larger events.

Also, associations can enable content that is only accessible when the app user is physically inside of the pre-defined radius. When a user enters the event, they “unlock” new content for the event that would otherwise be inaccessible when they’re outside of the area.

 

ADVOCACY:

Associations are routinely engaging members with grassroots advocacy campaigns. Try setting up a geo-fence around your state legislature or political building and remind users as they cross the radius to contact his or her representative. The notification will likely be viewed as relevant and less obstructive than usual push notifications, as the user is physically located near the building you’ve chosen.

If your mobile app integrates with KnowWho, an online government directory for advocacy, the geo-fence can link users to send an email or phone his or her representative regarding the advocacy issue.

 

MEMBER BENEFITS:

Many associations provide members with a variety of benefits. So many in fact, that members often forget what’s available to them. Enable geo-fence locations around physical storefronts for member benefits.

For example, an association may offer a bank or credit union account or car rental services with membership, so a geo-fence could be set up around those locations to send reminder notifications to members.

You will most likely require members to possess his or her membership card (QR Code) within the mobile app if they wish to redeem their benefits at the locations.

 

Geo-fences for Businesses

 

business geo-fence

 

Businesses with a physical storefront have a competitive advantage with geo-fencing, especially if the business has people returning often, like a restaurant or clothing store. If your business has multiple locations, you can configure separate location-timed notifications.

Sending a local notification to users who already have your app installed will go a long way for increased customer loyalty. For example, configure a geo-fence so when an app user gets within 2km of your storefront, they receive a push notification with a code for 10% off their next purchase. Within the notification, you can list the details of the promo, such as “valid only at our downtown location” or “expires within 24h”.

 

Potential Limitations

 

HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS

 

high rise building

 

It’s important to remember that geo-fences leverage longitude and latitude when generating a perimeter, so a geo-fence can only measure the width of a certain space and not the height.

Why is this important? High rise buildings present a few obstacles for geo-fences.

Example: For a 12 story building, only one geo-fence can be enabled for the entire building. You are not able to add a geo-fence for each floor as the user is passing through the same radius for each floor. If you are attempting to integrate location-based services for this type of scenario, a beacon would be a better fit.

Also, many high rise buildings may interfere with the connectivity of cellular devices to global positioning systems, meaning the geo-fence may not detect the device has entered the area.

 

LOCATION SERVICES

 

location services

We have already touched on location services, but it’s important to discuss again. At the end of the day, if the user does not have location services and data/wifi enabled, they will not receive the geo-fence content.

We recommend reminding users to turn on the feature in their settings, especially for city apps or events. Make sure you explain to the user the benefit of turning these services on and what type of information they will receive.

 

How to set up geo-fences with Info Grove

 

In Info Grove, we define geo-fences as “Location Links.” The reason for this is because geo-fences leverage user locations and often link users to a new location in the mobile app.

 

info grove mobile apps

 

Step 1: Define your geo-fence

The “Name” you choose is only for internal purposes and will not be seen by app users.

 

setting up a geo-fence

 


Step 2: Set your geo-fence

We recommend opening Google Maps and clicking on the centre of your desired location. After you click on the centre, Google Maps will automatically generate a longitude and latitude (example: 49.185974, -123.144002)

 

google maps geo-fence

 

Enter the longitude and latitude in the Info Grove backend. Then, determine how large you want your geo-fence to be. Info Grove recommends making the radius no smaller than 100m to improve accuracy of location services.

setting up a geo-fence

 


Step 3: Set your location-link (if necessary)

Info Grove gives you the option to redirect people when they click on the geo-fence. If you’re providing additional information, you can use this section to define the landing page in the app. You’re able to send users to any of the modules you’ve created in Info Grove. Setting a location is optional; however, if you leave the space blank it will launch the home page of the app when clicked on.

 

setting up a geo-fence

 


 

Step 4: Set local notification (if applicable)

 

 

 


End Result!

As app users enter your geo-fence they will be greeted with a timely local notification!

 

 

If you’re having trouble with your geo-fence, contact us at support@14oranges.com. Or, if you want to learn more about our geo-fence technology and Info Grove, contact us as sales@14oranges.com.

 

Info Grove Mobile Apps

 

26 Apr
2018

Kevin Wiens

By

Mobile Apps for Cities: 10 Citizen Engagement Features

city mobile apps

Cities across North America are developing mobile apps as a new way of reaching citizens in a mobile-first environment. In 2017, the average user spent over two hours a day on mobile apps, and over three hours a day for millennials. Mobile apps present a new avenue to reach citizens, gather insight and opinions, and connect them to local services and events. We often see cities tackling mobile communication with a single-focus app, such as a 311 report or garbage schedule app. While we do see immense value in these types of apps, we believe that a complete city app, with a wide-range of services, provides the most value to citizens. For example, the City of Hamilton uses our Info Grove platform to send emergency notifications, promote events, link citizens to jobs and other services.

 

In addition to the City of Hamilton, we’ve worked with the City of Surrey and several U.S. counties to provide new avenues for mobile-first citizen engagement. Here are the top 10 features to include in a city app for citizen engagement:

 

 

 

1. 311 Reports

 

 

311 report mobile app

 

 

Allow citizens to complete reports in the mobile app to notify city staff regarding important issues.

311 reports provide citizens with the tools to report any problems to the city, such as potholes, graffiti, or property damage. Ideally, you’re able to configure each report so it’s emailed to the appropriate staff member.

 

2. Emergency Notifications

 

 

emergency notification mobile app

 

 

Keep citizens up to date with push notifications for city emergencies.

The City of Hamilton uses push notifications to inform citizens about road closures, weather warnings, and changes in hours of operation for public facilities.

 

 

3. Startup Questions

 

 

personalized mobile app

 

 

Allow citizens to personalize their experience with the mobile app with startup questions.

Not every push notification needs to be sent to every app user. Startup questions give the power to the citizen to determine how often they want to be notified.

 

 

4. Spatial-Based Triggers

 

 

geofencing mobile app

 

 

Integrate geo-fence technology to alert citizens who enter a specific location with push notifications or location-specific content.

For example, when an app user reaches the trailhead for a hike, he or she would automatically be sent a push notification with trail details and any relevant information.

 

 

5. Things To Do

 

 

parks and rec mobile app

 

 

Provide an active directory of things to do in the city. Users should be able to sort by “near me”

Connect citizens to public parks, recreation facilities, hiking trails, shopping malls, bike routes, and other points of interest. The City of Surrey links users to its large system of bike routes for easy access.

 

 

6. Event Information

 

 

event mobile app

 

 

Keep citizens informed with everything happening in the city.

Allow citizens to add events to their native calendars, share on social media, and get directions. Create new content to promote new festivals and conferences in the city.

 

 

7. Weather

 

 

weather mobile app

 

 

A good mobile app has features that keep users coming back for more. Every citizen is interested in weather, right?

Including an active weather widget in the app encourages citizens to launch the app on an ongoing basis and will link them to other app features.

 

 

8. Contact Information

 

 

contact list mobile app

 

 

Two-way communication is vital. Provide citizens with a city contact list organized by citizen need or department.

Allow citizens to email, phone, or schedule a meeting with staff representatives.

 

 

9. City Resources

 

 

city job mobile app

 

 

The list of resources will vary depending on each city’s specific needs:

  • Garbage/recycling schedules
  • Jobs and employment opportunities
  • Renew dog licenses
  • Public transit schedules
  • Pay a parking ticket

 

 

10. Social Media Integration

 

 

social media mobile app

 

 

Gaining organic engagement on social media is difficult. Are citizens even viewing your Tweets?

Integrate your social media accounts in the app and connect users to your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Youtube account.

 

Conclusion

 

The most important feature to include in a city app is updated content. Whatever features you decide to implement, whether a 311 report, garbage schedule, or local events, if your content is outdated or irrelevant you will not gain a consistent user base. Unfortunately, many cities fall behind in this category and we are left with archaic city apps in the app stores. To combat this challenge, a mobile app should find ways to integrate to current communications, such as a website hosted with WordPress or Drupal.

However, you’ll likely have content that does require ongoing maintenance. If you’re choosing to outsource your development to save costs and gain expertise, look for an app service that provides a backend content management system so non-technical staff can log in and update content — no coding required. Also, don’t forget to set up Google Firebase Analytics to track your success!

 

Interested in building a mobile app for your city? Click here to see if Info Grove is right for you!

 

Info Grove mobile apps