Let's Win NYC's Apps Contest! - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Infrastructure // PC & Servers

Let's Win NYC's Apps Contest!

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced a competition for developers to create apps out of 80 data sets from 32 city agencies. He wants to improve government transparency and accountability, and stimulate development of the digital media industry.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced a competition for developers to create apps out of 80 data sets from 32 city agencies. He wants to improve government transparency and accountability, and stimulate development of the digital media industry.I'm in! I think the contest is really about marketing NYC, and I love the fact that Bloomberg isn't looking for a new slogan ("I Heart Digital"), but rather to data from services like citywide events, property sales, recreational facilities, and restaurant inspections. The challenge is to repurpose the info so that people can use it; like any marketing dare, the most obvious and easiest to use ideas will be the most likely winners.

So here's what I'm thinking:

First, a Ptomaine Detector. Imagine pulling up health inspection data on a restaurant before you took your first bite. The app could correlate reports with ER visits at nearby hospitals and/or link to sales data of indigestion products from Duane Reade. I'm no artist, but the graphic could be a rat with x's for eyes, and a percentage estimate of the likelihood that you're going to get sick if you eat there.

Second, Derelict Radar. If I can track airplane flights on my iPhone, why can't I map trajectories of the homeless in Manhattan? OK, I know this sounds politically incorrect, so what if RFID tags were sewn into the garments of shelter residents to locate and rescue them from dangerous weather? A secondary benefit would be correlating locations with Police incident reports so pedestrians could choose which direction to walk.

Third, a Construction Locator. A unique joy of the NYC experience is discovering that one of those tall orange chimney things bellowing steam from under the pavement just caused you to sit in traffic for a half-hour. Why couldn't that data get fed into a map and made available to cabbies? Ditto for a real-time readout on citywide events, which would let you work around the street closures for the annual Jigsaw Puzzle Appreciation Day parade.

A related fourth idea would be a Babble App that matched business registrations and taxi medallions with applicant countries of origin, and provided basic phrases in the appropriate language. A voice recognition translator would be nice, too.

Finally, why not aggregate weather records with traffic accidents, stock market movements, and any other event-based data sets, and then correlate it with user astrological signs, to produce a Life Quality Meter? Such a readout would be a sort-of biofeedback app, letting users assess their moods, and thereby delivering data about the subject people care about most: themselves.

Do you have more ideas? Let's win this thing!

Jonathan Salem Baskin writes the Dim Bulb blog and is the author of Branding Only Works On Cattle.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Slideshows
11 Things IT Professionals Wish They Knew Earlier in Their Careers
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  4/6/2021
News
Time to Shift Your Job Search Out of Neutral
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  3/31/2021
Commentary
Does Identity Hinder Hybrid-Cloud and Multi-Cloud Adoption?
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  4/1/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Successful Strategies for Digital Transformation
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Slideshows
Flash Poll