Monday, March 31, 2014

United Arab Emirates: there's an app for that

The United Arab Emirates has launched the first-ever smart government app store. In conjunction with Google and Apple, local and federal governments have created over 100 apps to serve around 700 people at a time in one location.

The plan is for the UAE to transition to smart government by the middle of 2015, only a little over a year from now. The apps are "characterised by reliability, security, maintenance of government transactions’ data for individuals and businesses, as well as reliability." It offers apps from organizations providing electricity and water, roads and transport, public transportation etc.

The UAE is transitioning into the future, taking advantage of the ways people interact with their world on a daily basis. Is this the end of government bureaucracy? Will citizens of the future interact with their government not through snail mail, endless phone menus and "phone tag", but through intuitive, efficient, speedy apps? Or will this turn out to be massive failure and risk to thousands of people's privacy and information? 

We'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, governments worldwide continue to stagger under their own weight, with minimal efficiency and little benefit to the their citizens. The technology we have available today, like apps and app stores, wifi and powerful operating systems, would allow us to streamline services to get them out to people that need them, making those on Medicaid, Medical, food stamps, and veterans not have to wait for months and months to get the services they need. 

If so many technological innovations can be utilized to help the people that need helping, why aren't we taking advantage of them?

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