Get Ready for Mobile Only

More government Web services may be launched without a browser-based option

If 2011 and 2012 brought the concept of "mobile first" to government, 2013 may mark the beginning of a trend toward "mobile only," Deloitte Consulting Chief Technology Officer Mark White said Wednesday.

There are already some government-built native mobile apps that don’t have a browser-based equivalent, such as EyeNote, a Bureau of Engraving and Printing app that identified dollar bill demoninations for the blind. In the coming two years, there will likely be more citizen-facing and employee-facing government apps for which it simply doesn’t make sense to have a non-mobile version, White said.

He was speaking at an event launching Deloitte’s Tech Trends 2013 report.

In the longer term, White said, government mobile technololgy will be characterized by more than simply smartphones and tablets. It will involve mobile sensors in numerous devices.

Already at the Port of Long Beach in Los Angeles, sensors on shore are communicating with sensors onboard ships and on the trucks that haul away the ships’ goods. Those sensors track when ships slow down as they near the port to cut down on pollution and when trucks delay their departures during rush hour to not add to LA’s traffice woes, he said. The sensors can automatically assess a fine or a discount on port services accordingly.

In the longterm, Transportation Security Administration sensors may be able to use similar technology to communicate with travelers’ smartphones when they enter an airport, he said, taking down vital information to cut down the wait time in security lines.