Mobile apps are proving increasingly popular among municipalities and local authorities in cities across France – such as Paris, Nantes, Rennes and Lyon, as well as the Orne département and the Grand East region. In this post, we take a look at what they are used for.

  1. Simplify Everyday Life for Your Residents

This is, without doubt, people’s primary need. They want to be able to easily access all the information available about the city’s services. This includes the menus on offer in canteens, opening times, contact details for public services (the city hall, the local police station, emergency services, etc.), as well as details of municipal services (gardens, parks, ice-skating rinks, libraries, schools and academies, swimming pools, etc.).

They can also provide access to information about the city’s medical services (where hospitals, emergency services or defibrillators can be found, or lists of out-of-hours doctors or pharmacies).

The municipality of Courbevoie has just launched its first mobile app, with the emphasis on practical information. It features information about the opening times of the town’s various services and facilities, a map, information about air quality, canteen menus, an events diary, etc. As the mobile app is upgraded, it will include a facility for finding parking spaces and a feature for booking Autolib’ electric cars. People will also be able to browse information based on their location.

  1. Keep People Informed and Showcase What’s Going On

Do your residents know what’s going on in the town theater tonight? Keeping them informed about the local authority’s cultural and social events also serves to increase the city’s appeal, showcasing all that is going on – exhibitions, concerts, shows, fairs, events, sports fixtures, markets, events organized by local associations, etc. and ensuring that it’s successful.

This initiative will showcase what the municipality is doing, as well as what local stakeholders – such as associations – are doing.

  1. Inform People in Real Time

Your mobile up must be able to keep people informed about any incidents which might occur. These could include temporary roadworks, traffic problems or any major events. This information must be available in real time and must flow both ways: you should provide your residents with the means to interact with your app so they can share information if they come across any incidents on the public roads.

Having the means to alert your citizens in real time should an incident occur provides them with comfort as far as the city’s security and the way in which it is managed are concerned.

  1. Make Administrative Procedures More Straightforward

We’ve mentioned the need to provide practical information about the local authority’s facilities and emergency services.

But you can go one step further: you can provide information about various administrative procedures, specify what documents people need to provide, who they need to contact in which department, on what days garbage is collected, etc.

You can also make it easier to make appointments and help people get in touch with the city’s various services.

  1. Give A Boost to Local Retail

Mobile apps are useful for pushing out information. Not all of the city’s retailers produce their own mobile apps as means of boosting their sales. But local government can get this kind of initiative off the ground, drawing up an inventory of the city’s stores, even introducing loyalty cards for purchases made from local outlets.

  1. Make It Easier for People to Share Information with Their Local Authorities

Your mobile app can also be used to make it easier for local residents to share information among themselves, or with their local authority. France’s Grand Est region, for example, has rolled out a participatory mobile app as a means of facilitating dialog between people and their elected representatives.

The aim of such an app can be to pass on details of people’s requirements via an ideas box, submit project proposals or suggestions for improvements, warn others about problems on city roads, or just share information about city facilities.

  1. Involve Your Residents in City Management

The Australian tourist office had the excellent idea of promoting photos published on social networks by tourists. Not satisfied with simply using already produced content, the tourist office can now take advantage of the positive effects of people’s testimonies and experiences to promote the country’s appeal.

Involving local residents in managing the city does not just involve sharing information about day-to-day problems. Your mobile app can also leverage the power of residents’ (or tourists’) content, photos and comments when an event is happening, for example.

  1. Promote Tourism in Your City or Region

Mobile apps are perfect for developing tourism in a city. They can be used for publishing hiking routes, mapping tracks and cycle paths, geo-locating the city’s tourist sites and providing practical information so people can get there and purchase tickets, as well as making it easier to publish comments and photos on social networks

If the aim is to use it boost tourism, cities should also think about having the app translated into several languages – at least into English.

Your mobile app should be upgradable. After an initial launch featuring all the practical and essential functions that people need, you have to be able to maintain it, as well as upgrade and expand it to include additional features.

Wakanda’s aim is to provide local authorities with an open-source platform for the whole length of the mobile app production chain so they can:

  • Speed up production lead times
  • Reduce the cost of acquisition
  • Ensure the app continues to perform
  • Make it easier to maintain and upgrade it
  • Always take advantage of all the latest technological innovations

For more information about smart city, read this article on the citizen developer, or this other one about the process to develop a mobile app for smart city.

Also published on Medium.