On time, in budget and described by Mary Hanafin as “the most exciting project taking place during eWeek”, Mobhaile, an umbrella term for a range of e-citizen services, launched yesterday at ICT Expo with the click of a button from the Minister with responsibility for the Information Society.
The project, exclusively revealed by siliconrepublic.com last year, was developed for local authorities by the Local Government Computer Services Board as a user-friendly front end for e-citizens to access a wide range of local information.
“A single source for local authority services such as planning applications, travel reports and development plans, Mobhaile will act as an all-compassing, 24-hour guide to local services which citizens, businesses and local organisations can readily access. This is ultimately what eGovernment flourishing at grass roots level is all about,” said Hanafin.
Described by LGCSB’s Tim Willoughby as an “unprecedented national roll out”, citizens will soon be able to interact with their local communities via a web site and SMS services based on Microsoft and Vodafone platforms respectively.
“Some are in different states of readiness,” he said. Councils in Meath and South Dublin are expected to launch first, with different counties going live throughout the Summer. “At the start we will focus on getting different communities online, giving them different tool sets,” explains Willoughby. “We’re currently working out charging mechanisms for something like a small football club, for example, where you might want to notify players that a game is cancelled.”
Willoughby describes the rich mix of geographical and community services, built around function, location and time, as a unique mixture and a world first. “No one is doing the community side with the whole geographical emphasis,” he told siliconrepublic.com. Overall technical costs came in at is under €1m, but that is only part of the story. “A lot of the work we have been doing for the year is evangelising what we’re trying to do,” says Willoughby.
By Ian Campbell