- Public Sector
- Citizen Engagement
Interact with your city like never before. The ConnectVictoria mobile app lets you securely connect with the City of Victoria to place service requests, and to browse events, attractions, media releases and career opportunities.
The City of Victoria is a smart city, and it needed an app to match. A place where citizens and tourists could not only access city information and services, but where locals could also rediscover the wonders of their own home.
A revolutionary new type of interface we like to call “CityApps”, ConnectVictoria is the first of its kind. It allows citizens and government employees alike to interact with their city like never before through a multitude of exciting features. Built natively for both iOS and Android, ConnectVictoria lets you place service requests, explore the city through the interactive map, browse events and careers, and read the latest news from the city.
So here’s to giving municipalities, big and small, a way to engage, connect, and interact with citizens in a meaningful way. Here’s to connecting us, Victoria.
It was FreshWorks CEO Samarth Mod that first came up with the idea behind ConnectVictoria. He attended multiple mayor drop-in sessions over a three-month period, in order to understand the problems within the city that could potentially be solved with a smart CityApp. He assisted the city staff in the facilitation of focus groups to determine the desired features and functionalities of the app, and reviewed the current City of Victoria website analytics to get a better understanding of existing web traffic. Once the requirements had been gathered, ConnectVictoria went from an idea into action.
A key requirement was to make it easier for residents, visitors and local businesses to access the information and services that matter most to them. Our solution was to design and develop native, user friendly mobile applications (for both iOS and Android) that provide easy access to the most important information and services hosted by the city.
As any programmer or developer knows, no app can exist without the UI/UX design behind it. In its initial stages, the ConnectVictoria app started out as rough sketches outlining the flow of the application, and general buttons and navigational properties.
Once we had final approval on the designs, our developers began implementing a multitude of exciting features. The development team built out the application with ESRI Maps to make it easy for users to locate services in their area, and Node.JS and HTML parsing to extract data from the city’s website to keep information from the website and mobile application updated and running in parallel. All Information added to the website is transmitted (almost) instantaneously between the city’s database and the app. What this means is that any information you view on your app is always current and reflects information that has been published to the city’s website, for example, changes in details to events or the latest announcements.
Imagine this scenario: Alice sees a new pothole in her area that likely hasn’t yet been reported, but causes stress to her daily commute. Alice now has to google the proper contact for her city, potentially wait hours to finally speak to the correct representative, and finally file a service request over the phone. But no more. The Service Request feature of ConnectVictoria empowers residents to streamline the issue of reporting and tracking service requests in their city, using modern technology.
This feature reduces missing information often associated with issue reporting, and provides better efficiency in the response to city problems. Users of the app can specify their location and also provide audio-visual information regarding issues in the city that is compiled in a real-time PDF document sent directly to the appropriate municipal departments, bypassing long holding waits and freeing up municipal employee time all in one, clean feature.
Each and every city has a story to tell, and Victoria is no different. The image slider in the attractions feature provides a visual experience of carefully chosen attractions which helps engage audiences like never before. Here you can see a centralized collection of all of the fantastic beauty, landmarks, and tourist destinations your city has to offer.
It was Victoria locals that chose the 15 beautiful spots featured in the app’s Attraction tab, allowing the city to directly showcase it’s favourite destinations. Each attraction is complete with a unique description, high definition images, and an interactive map and street view to further enhance and satisfy your exploration needs.
Connecting with local government employees and their departments has never been easier. With the ConnectVictoria app, complete contact information for municipal employees can be found simply and efficiently on your mobile device.
Users can also take advantage of the native features of their smartphones by clicking on the app icons (like the phone icon) and directly call or email employees without having to go through the main switchboard.
The Mayor/Council section of the application also has the potential to eventually include council meeting minutes and/or host monthly interactive sessions with citizens right from within the app.
The ConnectVictoria was built in Swift and Kotlin using Java, AngularJS, NodeJS, ESRI Maps, and HTML parsing.
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ConnectVictoria is the app that keeps on giving. On top of the aforementioned features, the app includes a news stream, which fetches real time data and makes use of in-house technology to provide users with the latest and greatest media coverage in the Victoria area. It also contains a contact page for user feedback, and access to all of the City of Victoria’s social media links.
Potential future enhancements to the app could include a notifications feature and integrations with other databases to automatically push notifications related to useful city-wide updates, like waste collection schedules or wildlife encounter advisories.
The first of its kind, ConnectVictoria is currently the only application of its kind available to Victoria that connects citizens, governments, tourists, and locals to the fantastic places they call home. With ConnectVictoria, citizens are empowered to interact with their environment in new and exciting ways.
FreshWorks was extremely responsive to our requests, and overall was very easy to work with.
"The relationship is very much a partnership with a win-win outlook. I feel the project was very successful."
Chief Information Officer