IS480 Team wiki: 2014T1 Team Epsilon Project Overview
|Home||Project Overview||Project Management||Documentation||Team|
Our motivation for this project stems from the desire to improve the current cumbersome system of resolving infrastructure issues. To raise such issues, the public would usually have to look for the relevant authorities and describe the issues over a call. The details of these issues would be logged by the agency before they begin to resolve it. This process is troublesome and time-consuming for both parties, which discourages the public from highlighting infrastructure issues. Such notifications are also restricted to the normal working hours. In addition, this system is inefficient because a verbal description may not be enough for the agency to fully grasp the issue. For such cases, they would have to expend additional effort in order to begin resolving them.
After our mid-terms presentation, we contacted various news publications and agencies (both government like MSO, NEA, LTA, and non-government) to try out our application. Eventually, we managed to meet up with Ramky, one of the sub-contractors working under NEA in-charge of cleaning parts of Singapore. While they found our app useful (especially for their own private use), the fact that MSO already has plans to release a similar app soon, and that they are under the government’s contract, means our app will not be their priority, but only an alternative means of reporting just like phone call and email. Additionally, MSO also reverted back to us, requesting the data that we already collected.
Though we were unable to garner any commitment from agencies, we realized that there are users interested in voicing out their concerns about infrastructure/ cleanliness issues. As such, we decided to focus on the needs of these users and modified our application accordingly. This change in focus has been approved by both our sponsor, Mr. Low Chin Chau and supervisor, Mr. Chris Boesch. Note that while our target audience has changed, we would still be delivering the functions that we promised our sponsor.
Government's Current Stand
During the National Day Rally 2014, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke about how we can, as a nation, utilise technology to advance ourselves forward as a Smart Nation.
“Citizens also have a role to play to make this our better home… ...you can also be a part of the solution, being our eyes and ears all over Singapore, and we can use technology to crowd-source, to involve Singaporeans so that you can give feedback, you can report incidents, problems on the ground…” - PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG (NATIONAL DAY RALLY 2014)
He introduced the iConnect application which allows residents of Ang Mo Kio to report issues and give feedback on how can the government help to improve the living conditions for the residents. This application was first launched on 29th July 2011 and last updated on 5th April 2013. Despite the developer support site being down, and the app having a lack of updates (5 updates in 3 years) & optimizations for newer devices, there are still active users using the app today.
The fact that there are still active users and admin governing the system today says something, as with today’s fast moving app trends, if an app does not get updated, most users will move on and delete the app.
What does this mean?
- The Singapore Government recognizes there is value in utilising technology to crowdsource for user feedback.
- The Singapore Government is trying to reach out to more Singaporeans, to inform and get them involved in this crowdsourcing plan, as evident from the mention at the National Day Rally 2014.
- There are real users out there who uses this app and genuinely find it useful.
Limitations of iConnect@AMK
The team has tried out the iConnect app and while it offers quite a comprehensive suite of features, it is ultimately limited to promoting the welfare of residents in Ang Mo Kio only.
The app also lacks some features that some users felt is useful and crucial to have, like image annotation and report feedback abuse.
On the left image, we see one of the feedback submission by a user by the nam33e of Mr Cheong Weng Wah. Notice the photo that Mr Cheong submitted has annotation in it. However the iConnect app does not have this feature. What this means is, the desire to annotate the photo pushed Mr Cheong to take the effort to edit the photo using external software before uploading it. This proves that there is inherent value in the annotation feature.
On the right, we see one of the negative user reviews in the app store. User Oh123 found that some users were abusing the feedback submission system, but there was no way for other legit users like him/her to flag inappropriate submissions to inform relevant authorities about it.
Public Feedback & Enquiry Platform
Many people will undoubtedly come to know about this iConnect app, now that PM Lee mentioned it in the National Day Rally; however, what will disappoint these new users will be the fact that the app specifically addresses the needs of the Ang Mo Kio residents only.
With our app, we aim to address the users’ wants and concerns, as well as broaden the reach of this feedback system island wide.