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Update on Hong Kong m-Government : Mass Wi-Fi and Applications for the Masses

The Hong Kong SAR government sees great potential in mobile technology and applications. This is why Hong Kong is one of the most connected cities in the world. Hong Kong boasts over 28,000 free public wi-fi accessible spots across the territory.

Throughout the MTR system and various public sights, internet is easily accessible through smart devices. Having lived in Hong Kong for several months, it seemed almost impossible to be without wireless connectivity for too long. Everyone on the MTR is glued to their phones. A stark difference to rail systems that do not have wireless reach underground, such as New York MTA.

To capitalize on this trend, many public sector agencies have developed mobile application initiatives to better reach this mobile generation. Applications offer information ranging from hiking spots in Hong Kong from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, to a nutrition calculator from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.

The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer  estimated that his department would put forth HK$9.5 million towards the development of mobile applications. These apps are to be released by the many government departments and bureaus through the end of this year. If any departments needed assistance with their apps, they would be directed to the Office of the Government CIO to find methods for improvement.

At a recent Digital Inclusion Mobile App Exhibition, the Office of the Government CIO showcased the usefulness of mobile application services. They presented mobile applications developed by social service organisations with funding from the Government.

"The rapid advancement of information and communications technology (ICT) not only brings convenience to the general public, but also opens up opportunities to facilitate special needs groups to integrate into the community,” said Acting Government Chief Information Officer, Mr Victor Lam, “Two rounds of the Support Scheme on Development of Digital Inclusion Mobile Applications were launched in 2012-13 and 2014-15 to encourage social service organisations to develop easy-to-use mobile apps that provide practical information and services to the underprivileged.”

However useful these applications may seem, not all of the applications are active. The government has been prompted to do more to promote and monitor the usage of these applications. With the kind of money they spend on these applications, it is worth delegating extra time to manage these platforms. 

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