Technology has huge potential to improve the way governments communicate with their people as a new app from the government in Hong Kong demonstrates.
The country’s Information Services Department (ISD) has released an iPad application which provides details of government projects, social development and country performance indicators.
The free app, which supports English and Chinese, is quoted as being “a useful reference source” with which to analyse Hong Kong’s social progress over the last year.
According to FutureGov, the app covers a wide number of indicators including “the economy, commerce and industry, employment, the environment, social welfare, education, infrastructural development, culture and recreation, infrastructure development and state of IT adoption.”
While it may not sound like the most fascinating application for an iPad, it is a great example of how an organisation can use technology to make data and information more readily accessible to the public.
With many political leaders already using social media to improve communications with their citizens, preparing information for popular devices and platforms is one of the next steps in the evolution of government communication.
Non-iPad owners may see the bias towards the device as unfair given that there are other popular, less expensive platforms on the market (such as Android). However this is the first iteration of the app, so it is possible that versions for other platforms could be forthcoming in the future if it is deemed a success.
A number of Asian government are looking to harness technology at lower costs to improve connectivity and access to data. In India, the government is readying a $45 low cost Android-based tablet, while Thailand has plans to allocate a tablet to every schoolchild in the country.
Incentives like have the potential to massively improve citizens’ access to the Internet and digital information, although of course there is remains a need for more tradition information storage too.