Mobility in cities: 3 amazing apps to transform the way you work

10 February 2014 | Gary Wachowicz, Industry Managing Director, Worldwide Public Sector

City leaders everywhere are hearing it: employees want mobile apps and devices that enable them to work on the run. People want to integrate modern tools into their work lives just as they do in their personal lives. To you, this means that mobility, which is nothing less than a new computing model for us all, needs to become a focal point of your IT department’s business model. Not only will this satisfy your mobile-hungry employees, but it also will increase their productivity, save taxpayer money, and improve your services to citizens.

Here are three apps I think every city government should try:

Spotfire Metrics  

With this app, you can see real-time visualizations and draw real insights from the data you collect. Let’s say your city is hit with a big snowstorm like the event that raged across the country last week. Spotfire Metrics provides a citywide dashboard to show you where the most citizen requests and complaints are coming from, so you can then send snow plows or emergency responders to the areas where people need them most. You also can use the app to send alerts to the affected citizens that help is on the way. That’s a far cry from the old manual methods that most cities used to track and resolve big events.


Instead of carrying 10-pound briefing books to meetings, why not just bring a tablet? The eBriefing app enables you to convert documents and field data into an eBook that you can access on Windows 8 devices. Your staff saves time (not to mention trees) by not having to print and compile info in a binder. And you can receive updates on the fly, so while you’re traveling to a meeting, your staff can be updating your eBook with the latest data, reports, infographics, notes, you name it. Now you really can be prepared for meetings.

The app will greatly enhance your services for vulnerable citizens and families. The remote version of Semitae Lite developed by the UK’s IEG4, this Windows 8 app enables field social workers to enter, view, and update a citizen’s case—including action plans, support needs, assessments, timelines, and more—within a single view. Their field notes automatically sync when their device is online, updating the case for the whole support team, even when they’re spread across multiple agencies. And it cuts case managers’ assessment times in half, saving you money and enabling them to spend more time helping citizens.

As you take steps to adopt mobile apps like these, along with the modern and secure devices they run on, you won’t be alone. Governments everywhere, and at every level, are responding to mobility’s call. The New Zealand district of Ashburton and the Scots are two of the most recent I’ve heard about. They’re both rolling out Windows 8 devices to help their employees in the field work more efficiently and get closer to citizens. These are no small steps—these steps have the power to transform.  

Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Or e-mail us at

Gary Wachowicz
Industry Managing Director, Worldwide Public Sector

About the Author

Gary Wachowicz | Industry Managing Director, Worldwide Public Sector

Gary provides global strategic support to government agencies, and works with Microsoft partners and their government customers to optimize agency operations and citizen services. Read more