City of Pittsburgh Mobile App Allows Citizens to Report Fraud

pittsburgh logo

pittsburgh mobile app

The City of Pittsburgh is taking a mobile-first approach to government accountability and transparency.

 

Pittsburgh residents and employees who suspect the fraud, theft or waste of city dollars can now report it through a mobile app.

“We have employees in every neighborhood in the city. We have citizens who are watching them. This gives an opportunity for citizens to immediately report any of that kind of activity that they believe to be waste or misuse,” said City Controller, Michael Lamb.

This app increases government transparency by bringing mobile accessibility of information to citizens and stakeholders of the City of Pittsburgh. Citizens and staff for the City of Pittsburgh can use the mobile app to:

 

    • Learn more about the Office of the Controller and its role as the independent watchdog of the city’s resources. 
    • Report fraud, waste, and abuse against the City of Pittsburgh. 
    • Search city contracts, campaign donations and expenditures of candidates for City offices, and lobbyist that do business with the City. 
    • Use Fiscal Focus Pittsburgh to create and analyze custom reports on the City’s financial data. 
    • Search Unclaimed Property to see if the City owes citizens or businesses money. 
    • Read Pittsburgh’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the detailed explanation of the City’s revenues and expenditures, or the abbreviated version, Popular Annual Financial Report. 
    • Find City Financial and Performance Audits to see how Pittsburgh has ensured your tax dollars are working for citizens. 
    • Connect with Pittsburgh through social media to get all the latest news from the City office and about City finances. 
    • Give Pittsburgh feedback on how to better to protect Pittsburgh’s finances. 

 

The mobile app collects and stores all forms and information from the app in a backend content management system. All reports are submitted anonymously to ensure citizen safety and confidentiality.

 

The City of Pittsburgh mobile app was built and maintained using 14 Oranges’ Info Grove software.

 

Info Grove mobile apps

 

Governments across North America are using Info Grove to reach citizens using a mobile-first approach. Info Grove allows multiple levels of government staff to access the backend to add and edit content in real-time. To learn how Info Grove can help your city, visit our government page today.

CityApp: A Mobile App for Citizens of Hamilton

city of hamilton logo

The City of Hamilton has launched “CityApp”, a new way for citizens to find news and information in a mobile-first environment.

CityApp was built to provide the most used tools from the City of Hamilton website into a mobile app. After scanning website analytics, City staff identified several primary use cases that became primary integrations in the app. Converting these features into a mobile app environment helps decrease obstacles that citizens face when completing tasks. Download the app for iPhone and Android today!

Mobile-First Approach

hamilton mobile app
 

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger says it’s about taking advantage of the tools that people “tend to travel around with and use most often.”
Since the app has launched, Eisenberger notes there are “12 different areas you can delve into” such as transit, recreational services and waste collection. Types of features include:

 

  • Access waste collection resources, including our interactive waste collection calendar and sorting tools.

     

  • View and filter drop-in recreation schedules by date or location. Add classes to your calendar and get notifications when drop-in programs are cancelled or facilities have emergency closures.

     

  • Browse job opportunities in the City.

     

  • ‘Near Me’ GPS functionality – find local events and festival listings based upon distance from your current location.

     

  • Read recent media releases from the City.

     

  • Find and contact Councillors, easily add committee meetings to your smartphone calendar, check meeting agendas and watch videos of Council sessions.

     

  • Check out City of Hamilton’s official Instagram, Twitter and YouTube channels.

     

  • Pay and view parking tickets.

     

  • Access public transit routes and schedules.

     

  • Buy or renew your dog license, and find a dog park.

     

  • Access information regarding Food Safety and inspection results of restaurants in the City.

     

  • View city locations, including parking lots, flu shot clinics, fire stations, hospitals, swimming pools, and more.

     

  • Write a feedback survey to provide input about the mobile app, feature set, and what to improve.

 

When users first download CityApp, they are prompted to answer a series of start-up questions to personalize their experience with the app. Users are asked questions such as what area of Hamilton they live in and specific services or topics of interest. This allows the City of Hamilton to send out notifications for emergencies, road closures, program cancellations, and service changes citywide or surrounding areas only.

 

A Dynamic Mobile Experience

 

The City of Hamilton plans to update the app on an ongoing basis and provide new links and resources for citizens. The CityApp is built and maintained using 14 Oranges’ Info Grove platform, allowing city staff to easily update and edit content in the app. Info Grove is built with a unique framework that allows City staff without a technical background to make changes in the app.

 

At any time, citizens are able to update their preferences to receive more or less push notifications. Citizens are also encouraged to give their opinions about the app and how it can be improved.

 

“We are working hard to grow our digital capacity and provide residents and visitors with a better online experience. Our new CityApp provides more opportunities to access information and interact with the City of Hamilton on the go. I encourage our residents and visitors to download CityApp and take advantage of this new, convenient and fun way to access our programs and services.”  – Mayor Fred Eisenberger

While growing its digital capacity, City of Hamilton staff were trained on how to use the content management system tied to Info Grove. City of Hamilton staff have access to the backend where they can add and edit content, send push notifications, collect forms and data, and create banner ads for emergencies. The system is easy to learn and is able to sync with 3rd party tools, such as WordPress and Drupal.

To learn more about the app platform that the City of Hamilton is using to reach its citizens, visit our Info Grove page today!

Info Grove Mobile Apps

The Washington State Pharmacy App for Mobile Advocacy

Washington State Pharmacy association

 

The Washington State Pharmacy Association has launched its new mobile app for association members and pharmacy advocates. The WSPARX mobile app is available on both iPhone and Android and offers resources, news, and tools to connect users to the pharmaceutical industry. 

wspa mobile app

Member Engagement Mobile App

The mobile app allows association members to access resources and information in a mobile-first environment, with content stored offline for quick access. Members use the app as an all-in-one toolkit to perform advocacy actions, attend events, and share content on social media.

wsparx mobile app

 

The app provides association members with immediate access to KnowWho, a membership engagement service to contact their legislature representative. With a push notification directing members to the KnowWho page, an association can run a mass advocacy campaign in a mobile environment. Users can contact state legislators by email or phone, take online education courses, and participate in surveys that reflect local principles.

 

 

Mobile Apps Made Easy

 

The Washington State Pharmacy Association mobile app is built using 14 Oranges’ Info Grove mobile app software. Info Grove is a content management system that allows association staff to add and update content, send push notifications, and receive user information (polls, surveys, push notifications).

 

Info Grove mobile apps CMS

 

Staff members from the Washington State Pharmacy Association can easily reach their audience with Info Grove’s targeted push notifications. Alerts can be sent to members based on predefined factors, such as age, location, or profession.

 

The mobile app also serves as a powerful event engagement platform. Specific content and pages within the app can be added with just a few clicks, making event apps extremely easy. The platform is quick to learn and requires no coding background to operate. Staff can easily send push notifications during live events, quiz the audience, and provide maps and information to users.

 

Info Grove Mobile Apps

 

Reach your members today. Learn more about Info Grove mobile apps.

Manitoba Egg Farmers Association Launch Mobile App

MEF logo mobile app

 

The Manitoba Egg Farmers Association has launched its mobile app for association members and provincial farming advocates. The Manitoba Egg Farmers (MEF) represents 170 regulated egg and pullet farmers across Manitoba and is an independent organization, funded entirely by egg and pullet farmers. The MEF mobile app is available for free on both iOS and Android.

 

manitoba egg farmers association mobile app

The Manitoba Egg Farmers Association are the third agricultural association to launch a mobile app for both iPhone and Android under the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) app umbrella, or ASApp.

CAHRC developed the Agricultural Smart-Association App (ASApp), a powerful smartphone app that helps agricultural associations engage their members, save money and generate revenue by providing self-managed mobile application services.

 

The mobile app was built using 14 Oranges Info Grove platform, allowing CAHRC to develop and maintain mobile apps for its affiliate associations. In addition to Manitoba Egg Farmers, the Canadian Young Farmers Forum and the Canadian Honey Council have also launched mobile apps with CAHRC and 14 Oranges.

 

The majority of the content in the Manitoba Egg Farmer mobile app is maintained by staff at the Manitoba Egg Farmers Association, while also receiving content updates from CAHRC in specific areas in the app.

manitoba egg farmer mobile app

 

The mobile app includes access to CAHRC-provided employer tools, including the AgriHR Toolkit and other staff management services. The mobile app also links users to the national job board for agricultural work, either to find work or post new positions.

 

As farmers spend a great deal of time out on the field, the app was built to provide crucial information regardless of a phone connection. Association members have immediate access to national level safety guides for agricultural best practices. The Canada FarmSafe Place (CASA) and the Emergency Plan section of CASA are available to app users without in the app while offline, perfect for farmers who spend the day away from home.

 

Users of the Manitoba Egg Farmer mobile app will have quick access to egg prices and quota exchanges month to month, important information for egg farmers. The MEF mobile app also updates members with agricultural updates, or “Poultry News” via an automated RSS feed.

 

 

“Each association’s version of the app is customized for branding and functionality, allowing ASApp to adjust menus, content and features as desired,” explains Andrew Hurrell, Business Development and Stakeholder Engagement, CAHRC. “Smartphone apps like ASApp bring the best of your website to your members’ mobile phones.”

 

 

Other organizational advantages to ASApp are cost savings, as it retires traditional print and media approaches and brings newsletters, journals, and event programs right to the phones of association members – with all information easily updated by staff via the web interface.

 

Finally, mobile app usage analytics and easy to administer member surveys help association staff receive insights about their membership engagement levels. The data collected helps staff understand what’s driving mobile engagement and find new ways to increase communication with members.

 

 

Learn how easy it is to manage a mobile app today. 

 

 

Michigan & Missouri Education Associations Launch New UI/UX

Event app

The Michigan and Missouri Education Associations, in partnership with 14 Oranges, has released their new and improved mobile apps. Members of both associations will notice the apps have been updated to meet the latest system offerings by Android and iPhone. Before, members of both associations had a different user-interface (UI) depending on their device, either Android or iPhone. Using 14 Oranges’ Info Grove Platform, the cross-platform UI design will now provide users on both devices with the same user-experience (UX).

 

OLD Android UI/UX: Missouri (left) and Michigan (right)
OLD iPhone UI/UX: Missouri (left) and Michigan (right)

 

Android users will notice the biggest changes, as they no longer have a “hamburger menu” to navigate between app content. iPhone users, who formerly had a condensed grid that required swiping between pages, now have all buttons located on the main home screen. 

New Missouri Education Association Mobile Interface
New Michigan Education Association Mobile Interface

 

 

Members of the Michigan and Missouri Education Associations will spend less time swiping between pages and searching for information and more time engaging with content. But most important, is the experience and interface are the same across all platforms, including tablets and iPads.

 

Michigan Education Association

 

The Michigan Education Association (MEA) is a self-governing education association, representing about 140,000 teachers, education support professionals and higher-education employees throughout the state. The MEA Mobile App is designed to connect industry personnel to news, advocacy information, events, and resources. Also, the app links members to association benefits, such as “MyDeals” which offers discounts on day to day purchases.

 

Missouri Education Association

 

The Missouri NEA is an advocate for public schools, public school students, and public school employees. The 35,000 members of the Missouri National Education Association are public school teachers, librarians, counselors, coaches, school psychologists and psychiatrists, administrators and faculty in colleges and universities. Association members can use the app for a variety of purposes, such as carrying their MNEA E-Membership card and look up legislators to contact for advocacy purposes.

 

 

Info Grove – Software-as-a-Service Model

 

Info Grove is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) communication platform for member-based associations. With the “SaaS” model, association directors don’t need to worry when a new phone is released or a system update is required. 14 Oranges takes care of updating the apps against the ever-changing system offerings by Android and iPhone for the associations. In doing so, 14 Oranges ensures that apps maintain full compatibility against all platform versions.

Using Info Grove’s backend content management system (CMS), association directors are now able to add and edit content within the app without going back to 14 Oranges, saving them time and money. Directors can now send targeted push notifications with ease and reach members in a timely fashion.

 

Are you looking to transition your outdated mobile application? Contact us today to see if Info Grove is right for you!

 

New Jersey Counties Use Apps For Political Engagement

Union County and Monmouth County are now using 14 Oranges’ Info Grove self-managed mobile app service to engage citizens politically. Both counties have recognized the need to provide political content on the digital screen of the public’s choice in order to increase engagement.

 

 

Mobile-First Political Engagement

As government communication is becoming increasingly mobile, Union County and Monmouth County have adapted quickly to this transition. Both counties are using the app to provide election-related information to help citizens in a variety of ways. Most important is that they are helping citizens determine whether they are registered and where to vote, view district maps, and review candidates.

How Info Grove Helps Political Communication

The app acts as an all-in-one stop for political events, dates, and information. Union County and Monmouth County will be able to continuously update and add content using Info Grove’s backend content management system. This allows non-technical staff to edit their app and fill it with new content every election year to keep the app up to date.

 

Mobile App Features

Voters can view candidate promises and objectives, review past elections, and access PDF resources. This means that citizens will have improved access to information to help them make informed decisions. Both counties even go as far as to assist military and overseas Americans who aren’t physically present to cast their ballot.

 

Interested in learning how a mobile app can help your political objectives? Contact us today for a free online demonstration!

Keys In My Pocket: Why I Use Car Sharing Mobile Apps Evo & Car2Go

 

It was 5 years ago when I was first introduced to car sharing. I did not understand it nor buy into it. The entire concept of sharing vehicles with other people confused me. However, it did not take long for me to abandon this mindset when Car2go had an info booth on my university campus. Next thing I knew they offered me 30 free minutes of driving and I signed on the dotted line. Today, I use both the Evo and Car2Go mobile apps and in doing so, I always have a set of vehicle keys in my pocket.

 

 

How does it work? Car2Go & Evo. 

 

First, you have to register for a car sharing provider (they all have sign up fees but often offer promos) and download their mobile app. You’ll need a valid driver’s license and a clean driving record. When you have been approved, all you have to do is open the app, find the closest car to you and press “reserve/book this car.” Car2Go and Evo will hold your reservation for 30 minutes. Once you make it to your chosen vehicle, open the app again and press “start rental.” From here on you’re being charged per minute. When you’ve reached your destination, park the car in a designated spot, open the app and end your trip. However, car sharing operates with a “home zone” attached. Meaning as long as you leave the vehicle within that zone, your parking is free. These home zones cover the geographic boundaries of an associated city, so in most cases, this is not an issue.

 

Pricing.

 

For just 32-41 cents a minute, Car2go and Evo car sharing apps adapt to your life. Whether you’re doing a quick shopping trip or driving home from work, car sharing helps you get around a busy city. Evo and Car2go also offer pricing for longer trips. With Car2Go, you can take a smart car for 24 hours for just $65, and Evo charges $89 for the same period. A great part of Evo and Car2Go is that they only charge $2/year to keep your membership, meaning if you don’t drive you don’t pay!

 

 

 

Why own a car?

 

In a busy city like Vancouver, owning your own vehicle may not make the most sense. With public transit, bike lanes, and densely populated areas, a car may not be right for you. By using these services you have all of the benefits of owning a car without having to deal with all of the hassles. No oil changes, no insurance, no inflating tires, no maintenance, and no problems. You do not have to pay for gas or for parking (unless it is a metered spot). Car sharing is best for people who don’t need a vehicle everyday. With the costs associated with owning a car (insurance, gas, maintenance, and etc.), carsharing in an urban city is a perfect solution. Pay for when you use it, not for when you don’t.

 

Peace of mind.

 

The part of these services that I enjoy the most is the peace of mind. I know that at all times I have a way home. I know that living in Vancouver, there is most likely an available car within walking distance. No longer do I feel stranded left hoping a cab drives by or actually comes when I call (hint: we need Uber). Car sharing mobile apps connect us with our cities like never before. Mobility in your city should not cause stress, so download an app that gives you 24/7 access to car keys in your pocket.

 

 

City of Surrey’s Citizen Engagement Mobile App

City of Surrey Mobile App

City of Surrey App is LIVE!

14 Oranges, in partnership with the City of Surrey, has officially re-launched the MySurrey mobile app available for both iPhone and Android. Effective last week, the all-in-one citizen engagement app can be downloaded from both the App Store and Google Play Store for free. Surrey leverages our powerful Info Grove software as a communication platform to keep citizens informed about local interests. 

Mobile Apps Made Easy

After the departure of their prior developer, the City of Surrey was left stranded with an unusable mobile app. 14 Oranges answered the call, working with the City of Surrey, allowing for Surrey residents to now have their old app back in their pocket. In just a few weeks all of the old data and information was transferred to a new app using 14 Oranges’ Info Grove platform. Info Grove is a great option to transform old legacy applications to more modern native technology, thus providing the best user experience. 

MySurrey Mobile App

Using the MySurrey app, citizens are able to access all of Surrey’s important information and related content from a centralized platform. Residents can use the app to locate bike routes and wifi hotspots, search job opportunities and events, contact city personnel, and more. Also, MySurrey will link residents to the City of Surrey RCMP, Dinesafe locations, garbage/recycling schedules, and provide the ability to request maintenance. As Surrey continues to grow and expand, the app will be updated to keep providing the most relevant and important information. 

Software-as-a-Service Mobile Apps (SaaS)

The City of Surrey was able to accomplish this fast transition by utilizing 14 Oranges’ SaaS (Software as a Service) offering called “Info Grove.” Info Grove is a self-managed mobile app service that is being increasingly used by governments and associations across North America. Governments can use the apps for more than just general communication, it can be a great resource to drive political engagement and report problems. 

If you prefer a podcast, click here to listen to a short clip of our CEO, Sylvain Marcotte, discussing mobile apps for the City of Surrey.

Outbound Communication

Info Grove acts as an outbound communication platform. Primarily used by member-based organizations, the self-managed app software allows administrators and other non-technical staff to change and add content without going back to 14 Oranges. Staff at the City of Surrey will now be able to add new events, news stories, and send push notifications with ease using the Info Grove backend management system. Info Grove follows similar guidelines to WordPress and 14 Oranges ensures the platform is as user-friendly as possible. 

 

 

Click here to learn more about Info Grove mobile apps.

Best practices for mobile workforce management in government

MetroGrove-WebMobileLogo-512

Ensure staff acceptance

As the digitization of government services accelerates, the strains of this change have weighed heavily on government workers. The senior staff, largely of the baby boomer generation, are being asked to throw out decades worth of paper driven processes in favor of paperless environments, driven by tablet and smartphone based applications. Junior staff, particularly millennials, are surprised by how far behind government systems are from the video games and apps they have grown up using. For millennials moving from a world designed around easy to use, intuitive UIs, to a form and data driven environment can quickly leave them doubting their future in government service.

Sad millennial

“Fear, uncertainty and discomfort are your compasses toward growth” – Barack Obama

With the launch of our Metro Grove service, we have been at the forefront of developing and releasing mobile applications for use by government employees to enhance workforce efficiency. That experience has taught us some of the best practices on introducing new technology to staff at both ends of seniority spectrum, and at a pace that permits the staff to adapt comfortably, without rejecting the change. Here are some of our learnings:

Massive change invites massive failure

One of the first lessons we share is not to change everything overnight. The introduction of tablets or smartphones alone can be a challenge for staff. Getting the right display and system options configured for all users should be the first step taken and staff should be given time to play with the new devices to get used to how they work with familiar apps such as email and web browsers. This comfort with the new devices will then make new applications easier to consume over time, and ensure those services are not rejected due to a lack of understanding on how the new devices work.

Mimic the current paper process

Senior staff in particular will want the new application they use to very closely mimic the old paper processes they are used to performing. In our experience, with building and safety inspectors, we found developing and deploying forms that skilled users could easily move through as if they were filling in the paper equivalents was required. This will help to ensure full technology buy-in by the senior staff.

Listen to the feedback

After the platform and the applications were rolled out, we then began to get suggestions on how to make the service run more smoothly. This feedback included re-arranging data collection fields so they more closely fit with the activities taking place outside the office. As workers started to embrace the technology and the flexibility our solution provided, they became our best references for how to make their own jobs more efficient.

Wizards for Millennials

While the more senior workers knew what data fields and forms they needed to use from experience, more junior employees benefitted from the introduction of wizards that walked them through the process. Leveraging smart, intuitive interface designs, data could be collected quickly, but also checked for range/bounds errors on the fly ensuring clean data collection by new staff.

Magic Moment: Retiring the paper process

The magic moment for the deployment of our mobile workforce service, was when many of the senior workers stopped using the traditional paper-based forms and started using the wizards to collect the data. They had discovered, largely on their own and in conversation with their junior staffers, that the wizard helped to act as a check on the data they were collecting, and was able to remind them when they had forgotten to perform a step. This allowed the supervisors to build the case to end the paper process enshrined in the first iteration of the app and standardize the organization on the wizard-based data collection. This in turn helped to increase the integrity of the data collected and enhance the efficiency of the field processes significantly, which was the ultimate goal of the digital transition in the first place.

BCSA Mobile App

The Metro Grove Advantage

And so we have designed our Metro Grove service to support paced, methodical deployments of mobile workforce management solutions to ensure a sustainable pace of change for government staff. With the ability to customize the deployment, we can support both old and new approaches to collecting data, and help to minimize the impact on staff during the change. This allows senior employees to adapt steadily and realize greater efficiency, while junior employees can make an impact and get the positive reinforcement they need to stay motivated. Change can be painful, but we have designed our service to minimize the impact and ensure a high level of acceptance by our government customers.

Mobile Apps for Political Parties: Engaging Voters, Donors and Volunteers

Mobile Apps for Politics

While political parties and politicians are using Twitter and Facebook to reach their target audience on mobile devices, they are finding their message is simply being echoed back to them, or they are being trolled hard by their opposition, making social media a difficult environment to move political dialog forward in a meaningful way.

Enter mobile applications as a means of engaging the public in a more thoughtful public dialog, linking in capabilities, such as push notifications that allow political organizations to actively mobilize and build their base in a troll-free manner. In this edition of Plugged-In, I share some of my past experience in working with political organizations, and make the case on why more parties, particularly in Canada, should be looking at mobile apps as a measurable means of engaging the public.