Strategies for Mobile Development
By Doug Joubert
Mobile development and the delivery of information to mobile users is an emerging and quickly evolving field. While strategic and technological challenges exist, a number of federal agencies are leading in the development of mobile apps. On January 26, 2011, we heard from two of these agencies in a webinar on the direction of mobile efforts in the federal government. Here are some key points from it:
The webinar was put together by Mobomo and the National Technical Information Services (NTIS) in the Department of Commerce, which helps federal agencies design, develop, and deliver mobile strategies. The webinar featured representatives from the General Services Administration (GSA), and the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health.
GSA’s Gwynne Kostin highlighted the work of the GSA Program Management Office and its Mobile Apps Gallery, which includes apps developed by federal agencies. Apps in the gallery include traditional apps developed for the Apple (iOS) and the Blackberry (RIM) platforms; however, it also includes mobile optimized websites.
When it comes to developing mobile apps, Ms Kostin encourages agencies to focus primarily on what they are trying to accomplish with a mobile strategy. “The mobile app is not the goal. Your agency’s mission is the goal.” Ms Kostin highlighted text4baby , a successful texting program designed to promote maternal and child health and created through a public-private partnership.
In terms of supporting mobile app development, the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies is building a federal Community of Practice developed around mobile. At this time, the Community of Practice is only open to federal agencies. If you are interested in more information on this effort, please contact Ms Kostin.
Jody Engel with NIH’s Office of Dietary Supplements presented on her team’s efforts to develop a free mobile iPhone app for consumers called MyDS (Dietary Supplements). MyDS allows users to keep track of the vitamins, minerals, and other products they take and to access reliable, science-based information on dietary supplements. Internal analytics for the mobile app include the number of downloads, usage, the length of each session, and remote content updates.
One of the biggest obstacles in the development of the MyDS app was setting up an Apple developer account as an office within the federal government. At the time, Apple didn’t have a full process for handling development requests from federal agencies. Jody noted that Apple is now building a process and knowledge base that will help federal entities get their apps into the iPhone app store. For the time being, offices should contact the Apple Federal representative, the Apple iPhone iPad Federal Government Manager John DiTomasso at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Within HHS, our Office of General Council (OGC) has cleared our use of the Apple iOS; however, we are still working to sign agreements at the Department level for Blackberry (RIM) and Android OS.
Is your office thinking about mobile? What are your biggest barriers to moving forward?
To access the slides and a recording of this webinar, go to this Mobomo blog post .
- Add a link to Strategies for Mobile Development to my browser Favorites
- Send a link to Strategies for Mobile Development to someone by E-mail
- Share Strategies for Mobile Development on Facebook
- Tweet about Strategies for Mobile Development on Twitter
- Bookmark Strategies for Mobile Development on Google
- Submit Strategies for Mobile Development to Yahoo! Buzz
- Bookmark Strategies for Mobile Development on Delicious
- Rank Strategies for Mobile Development on Digg
- Find More places to share Strategies for Mobile Development on AddThis.com…