Obama gives government services one year to become more mobile

24 May 2012

US President Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama has issued an order that all government agencies make at least two of their public services available on mobile phones over the next 12 months.

The Obama administration in the US – already known for its successful social media exploits to get the man himself elected in 2008 – released its new digital strategy yesterday, pledging to deliver more federal services on mobile devices.

To drive this innovation, Obama has ordered all major federal agencies to make at least two services available on mobile phones, via apps or other mobile technology, within a year.

“Americans deserve a government that works for them anytime, anywhere, and on any device,” Obama said in his statement, clearly understanding the relevance and potential of mobile technology for government bodies.

Enabling technology

The challenge to create mobile apps for government services will, of course, increase public access to government data, but it could also be a boost for the US tech industry, creating jobs and encouraging development.

However, enabling such advancement will require improved wireless broadband services across the country. Increasing use of mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, has put a significant demand on wireless technology in the US, and some telecommunications bodies are using this latest announcement as a platform to demand that more of the broadcast spectrum is freed up for internet access.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.