When smartphones first erupted on the scene, governments were slow to realize the potential of offering mobile applications to better connect to their constituents. Over the years, the app has become a technological mainstay for any state or local organization, and the thought of not having one now seems almost comical. But there is another shift coming, not unlike the disruptive smartphone, and two states are taking the lead to embrace the “next thing”: the voice-activated digital assistant. At first glance, the idea of having an Amazon Echo tied to government offerings seems more like a novelty than anything else, but in Mississippi and Utah the technology is adding real value to voice-activated devices. For the citizens of Mississippi, that value is directly tied to the state’s MyMS platform, which was designed to help keep residents current on things like vehicle registrations, license renewals and paying taxes. With the help of what's being called an Alexa “skill,” users of the popular Echo digital assistant can vocalize their questions and expect an accurate and reliable answer.