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Obama Administration to Launch National Open 311 Standard


March 03, 2010

Obama Administration to Launch National Open 311 Standard

By Erin Harrison
Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives


Alongside the White House chief information officer, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom today announced the launch of a national open platform for 311 Customer Service Centers – presenting a new opportunity for developers to build applications.

Since the launch of San Francisco’s 311 Center in March 2007, more than 8 million calls have been answered and thousands of requests have been submitted online, according to the mayor’s office.
“Last year, I announced a first-of-its kind partnership with Twitter to make it even easier for San Franciscans to communicate with government and report problems. Thousands of residents have taken advantage of this service tweeting requests to 311 at zero cost to the City. With the success of the Twitter/311 partnership, we have decided to expand to as many different platforms as possible, like Facebook (News - Alert) and mobile devices,” Newsom wrote on Wednesday in a guest blog on Mashable.
The Obama Administration’s “open government initiative” focuses in part on the Open 311 standard, which will allow software developers to write Web applications and create a more user-friendly bridge between government and citizens. In December, a directive by the Obama administration set forth that federal agencies “take immediate, specific steps to achieve key milestones in transparency, participation and collaboration.” 
Vivek Kundra, chief information officer for President Obama, called the Open 311 standard the “answer” to people’s complaints about government that “get swallowed by the bureaucracy.”
“Open 311 is an answer to that problem, placing the role of service evaluator and service dispatcher in the power of citizens’ hands. Through this approach, new Web applications can mash publicly available, real-time data from the cities to allow people to track the status of repairs or improvements, while also allowing them to make new requests for services,” wrote Kundra in this blog post. “Open 311 is an innovation that will improve people’s lives and make better use of taxpayer dollars.”
According to Newsom, the Open311 API will be available to the public next week.

Erin Harrison is a senior editor with TMCnet, primarily covering telecom expense management, politics and technology and Web 2.0. She serves as senior editor for TMC's print publications, including "Internet Telephony (News - Alert)", "Customer Interaction Solutions", "Unified Communications" and "NGN" magazines. Erin also oversees production of TMCnet's weekly iPhone e-Newsletter. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison

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