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It was 4:00 AM UK time on Wednesday, May 15th when the creators of the Colab mobile app presented on Digital Workplace 24 (DW24). So there’s a slight chance you missed it if you live in certain time zones.

If that’s the case here’s what you need to know:

Mobile app helps residents improve city

Josemando Sobral from Brazil joined DW24 to present Colab, the mobile app he and his team have developed.

Colab lets residents of a city document and share urban problems like potholes, vandalism and broken stop lights. Users can then see the nearby problems that others have documented and share ideas about how to resolve them.

Screenshots of Colab's award-winning mobile app and website.

Screenshots of Colab’s award-winning mobile app and website.

Winner of 2013 AppMyCity award

Besides the facts that 1) Josemando’s presentation captivated the DW24 audience and 2) Colab is innovative and useful, the important point to note is that shortly after the DW24 show Colab won an international award for urban mobile apps.

AppMyCity is an annual contest to find the best urban mobile apps that “make good cities great”. The prize “celebrates new mobile applications that improve the urban experience, connect people, and make cities more fun, fair, vibrant, and sustainable places”.

This is the second year of the prize, which was launched in 2012 by the New Cities Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to help cities modernize and become more sustainable.

Finalists for the prize included the apps PublicStuff and BuzzJourney. See a video about the finalists to learn more about the apps.

The Digital Workplace Group (DWG) team is honoured to have had Josemando and Colab on the show and sends their team our hearty congratulations.

Intranet lessons from urban mobile apps

Most intranet and digital workplace managers are currently on the hook to produce enterprise mobile apps and features. This new responsibility, which didn’t really exist just a few years ago, requires a new way of thinking about delivering a company’s information to employees.

Fortunately we can transfer concepts from public mobile app development to enterprise apps:

  • Think of the user’s context of use: Are your frontline employees using tablets or smartphones? In what environment are they working? What are the limitations they face while on the go?
  • Leverage the camera: Some of the most useful enterprise mobile apps take advantage of the cameras on smartphones. 
  • Capitalize on GPS and location data: Geocoding can tie photos and other app data to specific locations. The ways to use this data are infinite.
  • Enable human connections: Tie mobile phones in with online social interactions between employees and you’ve struck gold.
  • Get something done: Mobile apps aren’t just about paging through information, but about accomplishing specific tasks.
  • Solve specific problems: Don’t just deliver a mobile intranet. Figure out the problems of frontline employees that can be solved using targeted mobile apps.

Now all that you intranet and digital workplace managers need is more budget and bodies. Good luck!

More videos on intranet and digital workplace innovations

A recording of the Colab presentation from DW24 is available in our event video library, along with videos of all other 23 hours of the show.

Find out how to access the full video library of DW24 sessions.

About the author

Ephraim Freed, Communications Manager for the Digital Workplace Group (DWG)Ephraim Freed is a communicator and self-proclaimed “intranet nerd”.

Ephraim works at Riot Games now, but previously worked at DWG overseeing marketing, facilitating in-person & online member events and hosting our monthly webinar, Digital Workplace Live.

Prior to that, as a writer and professional services consultant for social intranet software company, ThoughtFarmer and managed internal communications and launched a social intranet at Oxfam America.

In his spare time Ephraim raises his two baby girls, goes trail running and plays many sports with great mediocrity.

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