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Mobile strategy and penetration are already shaping government, business and content delivery, say a slew of presenters at the 2011 Mobile App Forum and Bootcamp held this afternoon at Temple University.
Organized by Mobile Monday Mid-Atlantic in partnership with two Temple Fox School initiatives, the event was opened by at-large City Councilman Bill Green, who focused on his pet issue: IT-focused municipal government efficiencies. Interspersed with networking sessions in the cavernous, sunlit top-floor conference room of the Fox School’s Alter Hall, Green was followed by two panel discussions on the direction of mobile and related roundtables.
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“The city is still not seen as a place to do real business, all the shiny towers in Conshohocken are a testament to that,” said Green, hours after news broke that council had approved a part of his co-sponsored tax reform legislation. “We have technology solutions that can cut our costs and increase our productivity.”
“We need new systems that talk to each ,”Green said, noting the city still maintains some 1,400 servers for fewer than 27,000 employees, each of whom costs an average of $100,000 in salary and benefits. “That’s insanity.”
Other points Green made, in reviewing much of his 10 point Open Government Philadelphia plan:
- Offer a two-tiered city government RFP process, in which global companies like IBM can bid to handle all the city IT services, and smaller firms can bid on portions of the work. The Indiana state government found that in many cases, the smaller bids cut costs without a reduction in services, Green said.
- Seize the opportunity of Wireless Philadelphia, the municipal wireless network that never went fully live but had its $27 million in infrastructure purchased by the city for $2 million, said Green, highlighting the opportunity to increase productivity by allowing police officers and other city officials to file paperwork from the field. The network’s operation, which could be open to residents but prioritized for city use, would cost something like $150,000 a month, Green added.
- Share the city’s data in a dependable, secure, real-time way, noting that embracing the open data movement fully would offer real return for the city. “If we give out good data, people are going to give us ideas that will save us money and make us do better work,” he said.
- The lion’s share of the city’s $120 million IT budget should not be used yet, until workplace process evaluations are done to increase efficiencies in moving forward paperless efforts, rather than recreating existing workflow shortcomings, he said, which means real spending shouldn’t happen for another two years.
Immediately following Green was a panel of big brands talking the future of mobile applications.
Bentley Systems real time asset labs director Frank Rabuck moderated the discussion joined by Piers Lingle, the chief product officer of Comcast Interactive Media, Alan Kaplan, the CTO of Drakontas, Marcio Cyrillo, the head of mobile for Ci&T and Peter Clough, a regional director of sales and business development for appMobi.
The panel followed each of the company’s focuses on future mobile development, though weighing the benefits of native applications and more cross platform HTML5 development was common.
“Whatever the platform, we used to tell the marketing world that you first build your internet site and then build a strategy around that. Now, you want to be mobile-centric, because the usage grows hourly,” he said. “But mobile is still where the web was in 1998 or 1999: there’s excitement but you’re running on what feels like a 56 k modem. As that changes, we’ll see the explosion in impact.”