Published on the 24/05/2018 | Written by Jonathan Cotton
Citizens can now report potholes, offer suggestions and complain at will – all digitally – thanks to Datacom’s new app…
It’s texting the council but not as we know it as Datacom announces the official launch of its local government engagement app – what it considers “a first for local government tech”.
The free app – known as Antenno – now lets users submit issues and vent their spleens to councils at the touch of a button.
The new engagement features round out the functionality of the app, which already sends alerts and notifications for places and topics that individuals care about, such as home, work, or school. Now users can report issues as and where they find them – and include evidentiary photos – without having to look up a number or wait in a call queue.
This builds out the functionality of the Antenno app which is already in use in Shire of Manjimup in Australia, and South Waikato District Council and Tāupo District Council in New Zealand. The issue-reporting tech will soon go live in the Marlborough District Council and Kāpiti Coast District Council, with others to follow.
“We are excited to have achieved two-way communication for councils through the Antenno app, as we believe this to be a first in the local government space,” said Mark Matijevic, director local government at Datacom.
“Now that we’ve built this, we’re expecting to see greater engagement from the community as reporting issues through Antenno is very quick and easy.”
Taupō District Council’s head of communications and customer relations Lisa Nairne says while the intention was to do a soft roll out of the new feature, with no promotion while internal testing took place, users had other ideas.
“We received the first reported issue within hours of it going live, which just shows the demand is out there,” she says.
“As a council, we are always looking for ways to make it easy for our customers to contact us and we are sure the reporting feature will make a marked difference to our customer experience.”
South Waikato District Council communication manager Kerry Fabrie reported a similar experience, waxing lyrical about the early results.
“We received the first reported issue within hours of it going live, which just shows the demand is out there.”
South Waikato District Council “is thrilled” with the new feature. “We look forward to receiving reports from our community via Antenno. “What is even more exciting is that we got our first report on day one, within three hours of us notifying our existing users… that’s pretty cool!”
The app is a finalist in the IDC Smart City Awards in the Civic Engagement category.
Jefferson King, IDC NZ associate market analyst, says the project displays the successful leveraging of technology to aid in communication and engagement.
“In a time where information is abundant,” he says, “it is imperative that local governments communicate effectively with the public”.