A range of smart-city systems, from a central traffic management center to the MySurrey App, are improving livability and better engaging with citizens.
Purple Forge CEO Brian Hurley was an invited participant at the “Building the Smart City Workshop” hosted on April 29 by Invest Ottawa, Hydro Ottawa and The City of Ottawa. The workshop was focused at soliciting feedback from a broad range of city stakeholders on key ambitions for Ottawa, key desired outcomes and critical factors […]
Introducing Miami Pets, a new mobile app from Miami-Dade Animal Services that can help save more lives
Miami-Dade Animal Services has launched an app that’s all about saving the lives of the shelter’s pets. The free app is called Miami Pets and it puts the shelter’s cats, dogs, puppies and kittens in palms of potential adopters’ hands. The Miami Pets app is available as a free download from iTunes for the iPhone and Google Play for the Android version.
In Long Beach, Ca., six city employees were fired after people complained items had gone missing from impounded cars. Philadelphia auditors found safety issues in a dozen rental properties and $350,000 in unpaid taxes. In Richmond, Va., a city employee is on the hook for nearly $10,000 in bogus expenses. Stateline reports that all of these cases were brought to auditors’ attention by tipsters using hotlines or fraud apps, which allow smartphone users to report government waste, fraud and abuse anonymously. Cities and states have long had hotlines for reporting misuse of resources; mobile apps bring a new level of sophistication. They allow people to submit photos and videos in support of their claims; and in some cases auditors can use the app to respond and ask for follow-up information, all while maintaining a tipster’s anonymity.
Sixty-four percent of American adults now carry a smartphone, according to a report from the Pew Research Center. (The Pew Charitable Trusts funds both the Pew Research Center and Stateline.) Because reporting waste, fraud and abuse through an app is so easy, people are more inclined to do so, auditors say.
“Smartphones are becoming a ubiquitous tool, and I think we need to meet people where they are,” said Dave Yost, the state auditor who in 2014 introduced a fraud app in Ohio.
From IBM’s Watson project, Steve Abrams outlined the differences that artificial intelligence will make, backed by a panel of the Watson partners who are applying the technology; for instance, Brian Hurley of Purple Forge is creating AI agents for customer service centers, so that self-service support can give reliable answers to users. Given the poor reputation of call center support staff and the systems they work in, this could be low-hanging fruit for AI to address, although if it actually works the closure of human-based call centers would cause a seismic shift in employment patterns.