Native App

Trends on Tuesdays: Mobile Phone Camera Upgrades Offer Interesting Opportunities for Government Agencies

Professional photographer and early “iPhonography” pioneer, Chase Jarvis coined the phrase, “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” The recent jumps in mobile phone photo technology presents interesting opportunities for government agencies to consider as mobile phone cameras are starting to rival and surpass professional gear. When Google and Apple both announced their annual flagship phone upgrades this past month, the Pixel XL and iPhone 7 Plus, respectively, the most talked about and touted features were the cameras.

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The Data Briefing: Mobile Apps, Responsive Web Sites, and the “Mobile Moment”

The debate between responsive websites and mobile apps took a decisive turn this week when the United Kingdom’s Digital Service (UKDS) banned the creation of mobile apps. In an interview with GovInsider, the founder of UKDS, Ben Terrett, explained that mobile apps were too expensive to build and maintain. Responsive websites were easier to build and updating the application only requires changing one platform. “For government services that we were providing, the web is a far far better way… and still works on mobile,” Terrett said.

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Using Pirate Metrics to Analyze Your Mobile Application’s Audience

What Makes a Native App Successful? There are over 200 native applications in the federal government with various download numbers. Are the ones with the most downloads the most successful? Is the one with fewer users who are more engaged more successful? It depends on what you are trying to accomplish. David Cooper, the Mobile Application Development Lead with the National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2) and member of the MobileGov Community of Practice, said during a recent DigitalGov University (DGU) webinar, that while vanity metrics such as page views for websites and downloads for apps make you feel good, they don’t tell you anything about how users like your app or site.

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The Data Briefing: What Makes a Great Federal Government App?

USAGov recently released a list of six great federal government mobile apps. There were many apps released by the federal government over the last 5-6 years on a wide range of topics and services. Many are well-designed and useful to the American public. So, what are the outstanding federal government apps for 2016? The Department of State’s Smart Traveler. First launched in 2011, this mobile app helps international travelers find U.

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The Data Briefing: Mobile Websites or Mobile Apps or Both?

The increasing sophistication of mobile devices has created many opportunities for developers. Thanks to APIs* and open data, developers can build thousands of mobile apps and mobile websites to meet users’ needs. This opportunity has created one of the most contentious debates in the mobile development community: mobile apps versus mobile websites? There is, yet, no solution to the debate. However, there are some advantages and disadvantages to both types of mobile solutions.

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Trends on Tuesday: Facebook and Google Products Dominate App Usage

Comscore released new data this month about trends in the smartphone space. The data showed that the Android platform grew in market percentage (when combining all Android manufacturers). Android overall grew 1% from September to December at the cost of Apple and Blackberry, which dropped 0.7% and 0.3%, respectively, in smartphone market share. Comscore’s data on the most popular mobile applications showed Facebook and Google properties continue to dominate usage, with the top seven spots owned by the two corporation’s app properties.

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Trends on Tuesday: Retaining Your Mobile Audience Is Critical (and Difficult!) From Day 1

Google Product Director and author, Luke Wroblewski, wrote a piece about how perfecting your Day 1 experience for users is critical because retention after that point is incredibly difficult. Wroblewski said that 25% of native mobile apps are abandoned after their first use and that the number of active users drops 77% in the first three days after installation. To combat that drop off, he suggested focusing on your onboarding and the user’s first experience with the app through things like gradual sign-ups, since many people will turn off completely when they hit that wall.

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How ABMC Got Started with Mobile App Development

In the sea of apps, users get choosey with which apps can take up space on their phone. With one uninstall click the user can decide to breakup with the app if they have a bad experience. To keep your app from being all alone, the MobileGov Community of Practice put together six Mobile User Experience Guidelines to help keep mobile users in love. DigitalGov University hosted a webinar in which the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) highlighted two of these guidelines.

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Is There a Generic Equivalent to My Brand Name Drug? Find out with FDA OB Express

Have you ever taken your prescription to the pharmacy, the one that you fill regularly, and the pharmacist hands you pills that have a different name and look quite different from what you regularly get? As a chemist by training, I try to curb my initial anxiety by checking out the composition. However, I have always looked for reassurance from the pharmacist that he/she has dispensed an equivalent generic drug at the direction of my doctor.

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Making Federal Employment Accessible thru DOD’s CAP App

“My Disability is One Part of Who I Am” was the theme of the 70th National Disability Employment Awareness Month this past October. We celebrated the many contributions of our friends and co-workers with disabilities and recognized the diverse skills and talents they bring to our workplace. However, the real question is: how do we create a comfortable work environment that provides equal access and growth opportunities for all? The Department of Defense’s Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) created a free app that is available for download at the iTunes App Store and Google Play.

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Skin & Bones Come Alive with Smithsonian App

The night air is cool and crisp, the autumn leaves are falling, your costume is ready, jack-o-lanterns carved, lights dimmed, candy in the basket—what else do you need to make “All Hallows’ Eve trick or treat” complete? Some eerie music, a spine tingling, blood curdling horror movie? No, no—those are for yesteryears! This Halloween, let’s make the skeletons in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History come alive. Let’s try and capture that vampire bat skeleton that pulls itself off the mount to run away, or watch the horror of an extinct Steller’s sea cow materialize in the flesh.

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Trends on Tuesday: Users Spend Most of Their Time in Social Apps

ComScore released a new 2015 U.S. Mobile App report tracking native mobile app usage among adults over 18 years old, and it reinforced a lot of the trends we’ve been reporting on DigitalGov. Quartz succinctly summarized the reportwith the headline: “You really only use three apps on your phone.” The report clearly pointed out that Americans spend 50% of their time in their most-used app, and 78% in their top three favorite apps.

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Know Your Molluscs with the Terrestrial Mollusc Key

I have to admit my knowledge of slugs and snails was limited to the familiar, slimy creatures in my garden that ate holes in leaves, flowers, vegetables—almost anything, really—and left silvery traces behind. The Terrestrial Mollusc Key mobile app from the Department of Agriculture was a revelation. The app, specifically designed to assist in the identification of adult terrestrial slugs and snails of agricultural importance, includes 33 families and 128 species.

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National Cancer Institute’s Smokefree Tools

Went a little too far with a bad habit? Do you or someone you love have difficulty putting down the cancer sticks? The National Cancer Institute has developed a triple threat to help kick this issue for good with an app, responsively-designed website and SMS program to help lead the way to a healthier life! The quitSTART app is free and available to everyone, though tailored to teens.

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The Data Briefing: White House Asks Data Scientists and App Developers to Help Suicide Prevention Efforts

The White House issued a call on September 30, 2015, for data scientists and app developers to help with a vital public health issue: suicide prevention. From the official announcement: “If you are a data scientist, analyst, tech innovator, or entrepreneur interested in sharing ideas and resources for suicide prevention, we want to hear from you! Please send a brief note about your ideas and resources to mbasco[at]ostp.

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Trends on Tuesday: How Much Does It Cost to Go Mobile?

A penny saved is a penny earned. But spending your pennies on mobile development is necessary to meet 21st century needs. Regardless of how you plan to create that awesome anytime, anywhere mobile experience, it’s going to cost you. While the most obvious parts of the mobile price tag for native app development are initial development and launch, the long term maintenance of the app must also be considered.

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Track Time and Wages with Labor’s Timesheet App

Believe it or not, even a couple years ago, I was using pen and paper to record and track the hours I worked. It was definitely a chore, reconciling work hours with leave, overtime and any number of other entries, week after week. However, in these times of mobile apps for almost anything, several products are available to capture and track time. While this category is quite crowded, the U.

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Trends on Tuesday: Content is King for Mobile Apps

Yahoo’s mobile analytics service, Flurry, released a new and provocative report about mobile apps versus mobile browser usage, in which they found audiences are spending almost an hour more with their mobile phones than last year. They also discussed the importance of how “content is king” in mobile apps. The top mobile app categories included mobile messaging/social applications, entertainment, and games, which is nothing new; these continue to reign as the most popular among users as repeat research from different sources continues to prove this.

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Trends on Tuesday: Prepare for ‘Mobilegeddon’ II—Interstitial App Ads

Google has announced a second wave of ‘Mobilegeddon’ search penalties for websites using mobile app install interstitials. Beginning November 1st, mobile app Web pages that use large app install interstitials to hide content from the users will be downgraded in search results for not being mobile-friendly. These are the kind of pop-ups you get when you land on a website for the first time and it immediately prompts you to install their app before you see or experience any content A smarter strategy for this kind of prompt would be to set a tracking cookie and only prompt users that have come back multiple times to the website or base the prompt on a longer period of time or number of pageviews into a visit before you prompt users—not before they even get to see the website.

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Rebuild Healthy Homes from HUD

We all know it is virtually impossible to prevent natural phenomena such as hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis etc., and we cannot easily avoid these inevitable geological and climatic incidences, as they are typically unpredictable and occur swiftly. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) report, released in March 2015, states that economic losses from disasters are now reaching an average of $250 billion to $300 billion, annually.

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Three New Mobile Apps Honor Fallen Veterans Overseas

The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) released three new mobile apps this summer to honor fallen veterans in overseas cemeteries in Belgium, France and Italy. Information about Flanders Field, Meuse-Argonneand Sicily-RomeAmerican Cemeteries are all now accessible via mobile apps for both Android and iOS. ABMC developed these apps in line with their strategy of “providing an inspirational and educational visitor experience through effective outreach and interpretive programs.” Visitors to the cemeteries overseas are able to download these apps prior to travel or via WiFi in the visitor centers.

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Trends on Tuesday: The Rise in “Mobile Addicts”

Yahoo’s mobile analytics division, Flurry, released an interesting report, in July, comparing mobile usage among three distinct types of users around the world based on how frequently they launch mobile applications each day: Regular Users, Super Users and Mobile Addicts. According to Flurry, of the 1.855 billion total mobile app users in the world: 985 million people or 53% are Regular Users 590 million people or 32% are Super Users 280 million people or 15% are Mobile Addicts Each of these categories grew at least 26%, or more, compared to 2014, with Mobile Addicts’ growth exploding to 59% in a year-over-year comparison.

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What Is Mobile Device Compatibility Testing?

In most instances, your hardware and software are developed independently but are expected to function properly together. For example, when a Web application is developed in HTML, it is expected to function properly on an Apple computer using Safari as well as a Windows computer using Internet Explorer. This sounds simple, but there are thousands of combinations of browser types and versions as well as operating systems, and the number of combinations increases exponentially as we add in the multitude of mobile device makes and models.

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Trends on Tuesday: Mobile Web Audiences Abandon Sites with Interstitial Ads

David Morell, a software engineer with Google, posted an interesting case study from the tech giant, sharing data about how users interacted with interstitials (ie webpages displayed before or after an expected content page) on their website. Their analysis showed that 69% of users completely abandoned the page and their original intent after being shown an interstitial. Interstitials take many forms on the Web—native app installation prompts, advertisements, survey opt-in requests (popular on some government sites), email sign-up forms, etc.

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Trends on Tuesday: Native App Push Notifications Drive Repeat Use

Analytics company, Localytics, released a new report about mobile app retention rates from the past 4 years that agencies should heed when considering their needs for building native mobile apps, compared to mobile-friendly websites. In the U.S. the number of users that re-engage more than once after installing is pretty low, with 19% of American users abandoning after just one use. The number of “regular” users who have opened the app more than 10 times is also low—42% in 2015, but that is trending upward from 41% in 2014 and 35% in 2013.

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Using Apps for Mental Healthcare

Technology has opened new pathways for delivering health care, including mental health services. The National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), part of the Department of Defense, offers multiple apps that address health care for service members in a variety of ways. At a talk with the MobileGov Community of Practice earlier this year, Dr. David Cooper, a psychologist for T2, said the apps are a way to provide services and make appointments more effective and efficient for patients.

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Trends on Tuesday: Native App Lessons from the CrowdSource Mobile Testing Program

The more you test, the more you know. We recently highlighted lessons learned from the CrowdSource Mobile Testing Program, discussed the mobile emulator dilemma that many agencies face, and today we’re back with a few insights on native app testing. The Federal CrowdSource Mobile Testing Program yields a rich set of participant feedback that helps individual app creators improve their product. While the program primarily tests mobile websites created by federal agencies, the team tested early prototypes of the American Battle Monuments Commission’s Normandy App and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s CrowdMag app as a pilot.

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The Emulator Dilemma: Can Mobile Device Testing Be Completed Without Mobile Devices?

Government agencies have created a variety of apps to meet the needs of the public. As you join in on the mobile first trend and begin developing your shiny new mobile application, you will need to test it. There are a basic set of questions that must be answered: Does it function properly? Does it function properly on the different mobile devices your customers are using? Do all developers and testers need a collection of devices to physically test the application with?

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New Coast Guard App Streamlines Boating Safety to Maximize Summer Fun

Just in time for the summer season, the U.S. Coast Guard launched a brand new app to give smartphone users easy, on-demand access to critical boating safety information and resources. With this new app, called United States Coast Guard, users can ensure they have proper equipment, check the weather, file a float plan, and so much more. The app also features an emergency assistance button, which calls the closest Coast Guard command center if the phone’s location services are enabled.

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Spoiler Alert: USDA’s FoodKeeper App Helps Americans Avoid Wasting Good Food

Spoiler Alert: Every year, billions of pounds of good food go to waste in the U.S. because Americans are not sure if the food is spoiled. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that retailers and consumers waste 36 pounds of food per person each month. The USDA’s FoodKeeper app helps Americans avoid this problem by offering users valuable storage advice about more than 400 food and beverage items, including various types of baby food, dairy products and eggs, meat, poultry, produce, seafood, and more.

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The API Briefing: Be Prepared with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Mobile App

Before coming to DC in late 2008, I lived in Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville is in the Ohio Valley Region, which meteorologists euphemistically call “weather-rich.” With spring came the beautiful flowers and the Kentucky Derby. Spring also brought flooding, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and windstorms. This is why I had several emergency weather radios that also doubled as flashlights and cell phone chargers. I also have several emergency information apps on my smartphone.

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Trends on Tuesday: U.S. Mobile-Only Internet Users Now Outnumber Desktop-Only Users

Just a week after the ‘Mobilegeddon’ shift in Google search engine rankings to favor mobile-friendly sites, comScore released a research report citing that the U.S. had reached a new inflection point—there are now more mobile-only Internet users than desktop-only. What’s even more interesting is the drop desktop-only usage has taken over the past one-year period. comScore sites: Just a year ago, there was still nearly twice the percentage of desktop-only internet users (19.

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New USGS App Helps Save the Piping Plovers!

iPlover is a new app from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for data collection about habitats on coastal beaches and the environment surrounding them. That sounds like a really difficult and important task, but luckily for us, the app is designed for trained and vetted professionals. It is an example of another federal crowdsourcing app, but for experts. The app is actually intended for use by USGS officials and partners and will not function without an approved log-in.

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IRS2Go App Provides Multi-Symptom Relief for Tax Anxiety

The digital equivalent of a cool rag and a spoonful of Pepto Bismol, the Internal Revenue Service updated their IRS2Go app to provide multi-symptom relief for tax anxiety this year. IRS2Go lets taxpayers check on the status of their tax refund and obtain helpful tax information. If you’re e-filing, you can check your refund status within about 24 hours after the IRS confirms receipt of your tax return. If you’re filing paper tax returns, it takes about four weeks to check your refund status due to longer processing times.

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Focus on Nutrition with DRI Calculator for Healthcare Professionals App

For those of us who need to get our diet under control—and keep it that way—we surely have noticed the recent explosion of health apps and wearable fitness trackers. No doubt we’ve all thought about buying one of those at $100 to $150 bucks a pop even if we didn’t know for sure exactly what it did. My personal two-week obsession in wristband form came in sporty neon orange and provided me plenty of numbers to keep me busy making sense of it all.

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Trends on Tuesday: Using SMS for Customer Support

Don’t forget, mobile first strategy can include text messaging and SMS, not just native apps and responsive Web design. Ninety percent of all SMS messages are read within three minutes of being received, according to a recent blog post on Gigaom. Paired with an average open rate of 98% (versus 22% for email) and the fact that any mobile device out there is able to read a text message, SMS is a great way to reach out to pretty much anyone.

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SaferRide App Could Save Your Life

One death every 52 minutes. That’s how frequently someone died in crashes involving a drunk driver in the U.S. in 2013—10,076 deaths in total. While that number represents a 2.5% reduction in deaths from the previous year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is offering a new mobile app—called SaferRide—to save more lives. Simply put, SaferRide helps people who have been drinking to get a safe ride home.

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Acronyms, Army-isms and Much More: ROTC Handbook App Explains Cadet Life

Have a potential future cadet in the family? Deciding whether the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program is right for you? Already in the program? Study up on the Army ROTC program before you or someone you know steps foot in the classroom in a crisp uniform. Download the ROTC Handbook from the U.S. Army Cadet Command to help learn this new culture—acronyms, Army-isms and all. This app serves a wide audience, including those who are looking to join the program, current cadets and anyone who is interested in cadet life.

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Find Fuel During Disasters with Lantern Live App

Who to call? Where to meet? What to pack? How to find fuel? Make sure your personal disaster preparedness plan includes how to quickly find functioning gas stations in your area with help from the Department of Energy’s Lantern Live app. The app crowdsources the ability to find fuel during an emergency through user-generated status reports of local gas stations. It also allows users to check for power outages in the area, and includes useful tips and guidelines for emergency situations.

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Open and API-Driven Federal Mobile App Registration

Thanks to the power of open data and APIs, federal agencies can now register their mobile native apps and websites on the Federal Mobile Products Registry and have them appear on the USA.gov Federal Mobile Apps Directory (formerly USA.gov Apps Gallery) almost immediately. When we launched the USA.gov Apps Gallery in 2010 there were less than 15 apps. To register an app, an agency would contact us with app info, download screenshots and create a “page” for that app.

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Welcome to Mobile Gov Month on DigitalGov

What’s your mobile itch? A long time ago at a workshop not so far away…we asked the 40 federal government innovators who had released native apps this question. We wanted to know their biggest barriers, challenges, frustrations to building anytime, anywhere government. Their generosity in telling us those pain points informed 2011’s Making Mobile Gov Project, which identified 10 challenges to implementing mobile apps and responsive websites for public audiences in the federal government.

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Bullying: Help Prevent and Protect Anytime, Anywhere, on Any Device

I don’t remember being bullied as a kid, but my younger sister once was. When she was in junior high, a jealous schoolmate who ran in a small tough pack threatened to “beat up” my quiet, mild-mannered sibling at an unspecified time and day during her walk home from school. Sound familiar? Back then (in an era before text messaging and bullying awareness), a well-placed phone call to a high school football player friend of mine who knew said bully made that problem go away.

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Saving the Whales With Just Your Smartphone: West Coast Edition

Saving the whales just got easier for West Coasters with the latest version of the popular Whale Alert app. This free “feel-good” iPhone/iPad app, developed by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and a long list of partners, now enables users on both U.S. coasts to submit reports of whale sightings in real-time that could ultimately alert boaters and vessel captains to slow down and avoid colliding with these majestic creatures.

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CDC App Aids in Prevention of Neonatal Disease

The Centers for Disease Control has added another tool to its suite of mobile applications for healthcare providers and clinicians. The “Prevent Group B Strep” app provides specific, timely guidance to obstetric and neonatal providers to aid in the prevention of perinatal Group B Strep disease. The app’s simple interface delivers, through a series of yes/no questions, recommendations based on programmed algorithms underlying the current guidelines. With this app, healthcare providers and clinicians can:

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Trends on Tuesday: The Mobile Tipping Point?

The International Data Corporation (IDC) is forecasting a strong outlook for smartphone sales during the remaining months of 2014. They predict more than 1.25 billion smartphones will be shipped worldwide before the end of the year. Just 24 hours after going on sale last Friday, the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus broke prior Apple presale records with 4 million units purchased. Reading these stats I couldn’t help but ask, “Are we at a mobile tipping point?

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Trends on Tuesday: Have You Cut the Cord?

First, it was party lines. Then, it was the rotary phone. Now, two-in-five (41%) U.S. households have officially said goodbye to landlines, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s National Center for Health Statistics. If you have been keeping up with previous mobile trends, you won’t be surprised to learn who has decided to cut the telephone cord: An estimated 39.

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The API Briefing: The Census Bureau’s Discovery Tool – Find the Right API for Your App

The Census Bureau recently released a “machine-readable dataset discovery service” that lists 41 Census data sets. It’s in spreadsheet form and gives a description of the datasets along with links to the API and developer documentation. What makes the discovery service machine readable is that’s based on Project Open Data’s “Common Core Metadata Schema” that uses a standard way to describe and index government information sources. The discovery service makes it easier for developers to find and mix different APIs together to create sophisticated apps.

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Trends on Tuesday: Companies Use Mobile for Brand Loyalty

A recent survey of 100 retailers by EPiServer found that 46 percent of those with a mobile strategy in place and 74 percent of those planning to launch one soon said they are using mobile primarily to increase customer loyalty or provide a more personalized experience for customers. In comparison, only 8 percent said they use their mobile strategy for sales. It’s speculated that the brand strategy was used when organizations felt they could not beat other companies with lower prices on products.

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