From: Jonathan Creaser, Head of ICT, Richmond Housing Partnership
Sir – Not a week goes by without seeing news about a new smartphone app that will change your life. Whether it’s the ability to pay for your parking or destroy an entire city with Godzilla Monster Mayhem, just like the rise of social media, apps are the talk of the town, a must-have to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive economy.
Increasingly, housing providers are dipping their toes in the water – software houses and web design companies are producing customised apps to provide another channel for their customers to access services.
Smartphone apps are about convenience – for conducting simple transactions or using them for reference and entertainment. The rise of social media and the availability of online services for mobile devices have fuelled the fire of progress.
Race Online 2012 is leading an initiative to get an estimated 8.2 million people in the UK online, approximately half of whom live in social housing. By 2013 it is predicted that more people will access the internet using a smartphone than a home computer. So perhaps smartphone development is one of the areas where we should concentrate our efforts?
The introduction of HTML 5 is likely to allow developers to bring in a common platform to host future apps instead of having to develop on and support multiple platforms. Careful and clever design will enable housing providers to provide an increasing number of services to an emerging audience of customers who are migrating to smartphones, which will make everyone very ‘appy.