such as the BlackBerry smartphone.
Reflecting on the new initiatives involving social media and mobile Web browsers, Cosgrave said it's important that the city's services be accessible in whatever form the public likes to use. "We have to provide services in the way that people want to interact," he said.
To build on Bloomberg's push to make city government more transparent, Cosgrave pointed out that the city has released 170 data sets to let developers build applications that will serve residents, visitors, businesses and the public sector. Like the District of Columbia's Apps for Democracy competition, New York launched BigApps as an awards program, with the winners receiving cash prizes. Cosgrave said the city has already received more than 1,700 inquiries and that it plans to announce winners in January.
In other IT developments, Cosgrave highlighted:
- NYC Business Express, an integration project that will streamline and simplify the city's complex and cumbersome business permitting process. Work has just begun on the back-end integration effort.
- Growth in call volume for the city's 311 service has reached 20 percent annually, while the center's head count has been reduced by 20 percent. Cosgrave attributed the productivity gain to better use of interactive voice response software and offloading more calls to 311Online.
- The city is working to close the digital divide by targeting corporate and federal funding to purchase PCs and make them available in poor neighborhoods.