Introducing iWatch311 Putting 311 into the mobile environment
Enabling Citizens to submit calls for service using smartphones and the internet in a geo-enabled application that maps the report and resources available in real time.
iWatch311 is a form of technology that provides open channels of communication for issues that concern public space and public services. Like iWatch, iWatch311 provides a standardized protocol for location-based collaborative issue-tracking. By enabling Citizens to submit reports via Smartphones, iWatch311 is an evolution of the phone-based 311 systems that many cities in North America offer.
Unlike the synchronous one-to-one communication of a 311 call center, iWatch311 technologies use the internet to enable these interactions to be asynchronous and many-to-many. This means that departments can receive can exchange information centered around a single public issue. The mobile platform allows citizens to provide more actionable information for those who need it most and it encourages the public to be engaged with civic issues because they know their voices are being heard. Yet iWatch311 isn’t just about this more open internet-enabled model for 311 services, it’s also about making sure the technology itself is open so that 311 services and applications are interoperable and can be used everywhere.
Integrates to CAD with our API
iWatch311 saves money by integrating with Citywide initiatives of Open Source community engagement
Currently, the most developed function of iWatch311 technologies is to report and track non-emergency issues in public spaces. Common issues include potholes, broken streetlights, garbage, vandalism, and other problems that compromise public spaces and infrastructure. Using a mobile device or a computer, someone can enter information (ideally with a photo) about a problem at a given location. This report is then routed to the relevant authority to address the problem. What’s different from a traditional 311 report is that this information is available for anyone to see and it allows anyone to contribute more information. By enabling collaboration on these issues, the open model makes it easier to collect and organize more information about important problems. By making the information public, it provides transparency and accountability for those responsible for the problem. Transparency also ensures that everyone’s voice is heard and in-turn encourages more participation.
Yet even despite these significant precedents, we’re only scratching the surface of the level of civic engagement that iWatch311 technologies could facilitate.
Imagine using these tools to not just report what is broken, but to also start a conversation about the overall health and livability of a community: reporting intersections that feel unsafe, marking where a new bike rack is needed, or even suggesting how a vacant lot could become a park. When appropriate, iWatch311 can even be used to manage volunteer efforts to help supplement government workers. iWatch311 also has the potential to be tied into the local knowledge-bases that many existing 311 call-centers use. Furthermore this technology could be connected to idea sourcing platforms like IdeaScale for uses such as community input in urban planning processes.