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The Mobile Citizen: Winter Storm Jonas, Philly 311 and a New Form of Customer Service (Part 4 of 4)

The Mobile Citizen: Winter Storm Jonas, Philly 311 and a New Form of Customer Service (Part 4 of 4)
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This is the fourth post in a series on "The Mobile Citizen," a look at how the Civic Platform is helping agencies of all sizes engage their mobile citizens and stay ahead of the "mobile mind shift." ------ Late last month, Winter Storm Jonas hit much of the east coast. From Friday, January 22 to Sunday, January 24, the storm affected 102.8 million people and covered about 434,000 square miles in 26 states, according to the NOAA. For many local government officials, Winter Storm Jonas meant around-the-clock work to keep citizens safe, roads accessible and communication constant. In Philadelphia, the nationally renowned Philly 311 call center received more than 21,000 calls (8x more than normal), nearly 8,000 requests via its Accela-powered mobile app and website and 6,000 requests through social media. The efforts of the team behind Philly 311 are evidence of the changing nature of customer service in local...
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Environmental Health Informatics – Saving Lives?

Environmental Health Informatics – Saving Lives?
The Environmental Health world, like other government domains, is fertile ground for aspirational data projects. Local Health Departments consistently capture records of applications, permits/licenses, inspections, violations, complaints and the time spent providing services. Financial accounting is also key to doing business. In some ways, our collected data is like a dashboard camera, constantly recording video out the windshield of an Uber car. In most cases, the video is never retrieved and studied…until there’s an accident (or a UFO sighting), in which case, it’s gold! The difference is that dashboard cams are cheap. Data collection is extremely expensive, yet expected without question. The “Dashboard Cam Effect” can be evident when we hear things like the following: Data Collection Dashboard Cam “Our data is collected, but never used again.” The dashboard camera is always on, but the video is never viewed. “Our million-dollar system is great at taking in data, but I...
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I had the opportunity to join Darryl and others at the NEHA Informatics meeting. As a long time local and State environmental heal... Read More
Tuesday, 09 February 2016 14:20
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Reflections and Predictions: How 2015 Successes Position Us to Capitalize on the Year Ahead

Reflections and Predictions: How 2015 Successes Position Us to Capitalize on the Year Ahead
Without a doubt, 2015 was Accela’s biggest year to date. In February, we announced new funding — bringing us just north of $233 million invested in the business. We’re using the latest round to continue growing the Accela family through acquisitions and partnerships, while investing in building an even stronger Civic Platform. Building on six announced acquisitions in 2014 ( Decade Software , Government Outreach , Kinsail , Envista , IQM2 , GeoTMS ), we established our productivity and civic engagement platform as unparalleled in the industry, adding Springbrook Software , SoftRight and PublicStuff in Spring 2015. We’re now laser-focused on efficiently integrating these stellar technologies into the core infrastructure of the Accela Civic Platform. In October, we proudly released Civic Platform 8.0 , offering a responsive and carefully crafted user interface that reinvents the way government workers interact with residents and meet their daily goals. In 2015, Accela’s customer...
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The Mobile Citizen: Accela, the Construct API and...Lasagna? (Part 3 of 4)

The Mobile Citizen: Accela, the Construct API and...Lasagna? (Part 3 of 4)
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This is the third post in a series on "The Mobile Citizen," a look at how the Civic Platform is helping agencies of all sizes engage their mobile citizens and stay ahead of the "mobile mind shift." ------ Wednesdays in the New York City office means a rotating assortment of cuisines for team lunch (follow @dshaeffbk for the occasional #foodtweet). Typically we gather to talk about work, upcoming weekend plans, sports, movies, anything really. Every now and then new faces will spice things up. Earlier this month, Mark Headd and Seth Axthelm from our technical evangelist team were visiting. They work to enable, support, educate and innovate with Accela partners and customers to expand the Civic Platform. The lunch gave Mark and Amir Reavis-Bey, a co-founder of Civic Insight, the chance to catch up between bites of lasagna. As I eavesdropped on their conversation I realized that Mark and Amir's...
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The Mobile Citizen: What Makes a Good Mobile Tool? (Part 2 of 4)

The Mobile Citizen: What Makes a Good Mobile Tool? (Part 2 of 4)
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This is the second post in a series on "The Mobile Citizen," a look at how the Civic Platform is helping agencies of all sizes engage their mobile citizen and stay ahead of the "mobile mind shift." ------ What makes a good mobile tool? This was the question I was asking myself as I read the results of the annual Digital Cities Survey . The survey identified technologies and initiatives that cities are likely to have an increased focus on in the coming year. Mobile technology ranked in the top 3, behind only cybersecurity and open data. As I thought about good examples I’ve seen as both a student of government and working in the industry, I kept coming back to a  quote from Philadelphia CIO Adel Ebeid. To paraphrase, he said that a successful mobile tool solves a real pain point as opposed to being just "cool and fun."...
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Making the Case for a Local Version of the U.S. Digital Service in California

Making the Case for a Local Version of the U.S. Digital Service in California
A California version of the highly acclaimed U.S. Digital Service (USDS) just took a big leap forward. In its recently released report , the Little Hoover Commission, a bipartisan government oversight committee, has called on elected officials in Sacramento to create a local version of the federal program in the form of a new California Digital Service (CDS). For background, the USDS was created by President Obama in 2014 to make it easier and more efficient for Americans to interact with government services. The agency offers designers, engineers, product managers and others from the private sector the opportunity to work for the government for a week, a month or a year, and the work being done is impressive and impactful—from  improving services for America’s veterans, to modernizing our immigration system, to helping Americans access healthcare. In a blog post on TechCrunch back in March, I called on California Governor Jerry...
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