The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) launched the mGovernment portal, the official resource for all information related to the smart government initiative at the national level, on Wednesday.
Part of the mobile government initiative launched recently by Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the portal will make various government services available on mobile phones.
It will also provide the latest updates about the mGovernment initiative including events, programmes, applications and government services.
The website is also directly linked with the official UAE government portal, and is one of the most important sections in addition to the open data section (bayanat.ae) and the UAE e-participation section (sharik.ae), the TRA said in a statement.
“The launch of the mGovernment portal reflects our strenuous efforts in implementing the mGovernment roadmap in all its projects, missions and milestones,” said Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri, deputy director general for information and e-Government Sector at the TRA and mGovernment Initiative Director.
Dubai’s mGovernment was launched in May last year with an aim to improve the government’s contact with the emirate’s citizens through their smartphones. The UAE has one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world at 73.8 per cent, according to a Google study.
A recent Booz & Company report urged MENA governments to take advantage of the rising smartphone usage in the region.
“Failing to take advantage of new technologies can leave populations disaffected and disengaged, with a belief that their government does not speak with them in meaningful ways or understand their needs,” it said.
Apps also have the potential to generate financial benefits for governments – by delivering services in a more cost-effective manner and by letting governments reduce costly channels and less popular ones, the report said.
According to Booz & Company partner Ramez T. Shehadi, mobile apps offer several advantages to the government.
“Specifically, they are always on. They are highly personal and have intuitive interfaces that require no explanation or instructions,” he said.
“They also contain information that users can access even when they are offline. And, they can take advantage of the broad array of functions and tools now routinely built into smartphones.”
The report also recommended policymakers to design e-government apps that are engaging and user friendly.