Audioboo for public services?

AudioBooAs I was about to head off to bed last night, something on my Twitter stream caught my eye. It was a tweet from the presenter and broadcaster Iain Lee, talking about the new iPhone app he’d launched which featured the ability to send him AudioBoo’s, direct to his radio show. He cited it as a new way of doing radio phone in’s, however it got my cogs turning. I decided to do some digging – was this done via an API or did AudioBoo build the functionality bespoke for Iain?

AudioBoo themselves got back fairly quickly to say that the app functioned independently of the standalone AudioBoo app, working using a plugin which you can get here. I find that very interesting. Could AudioBoo be another tool in the public services engagement arsenal?

Think about it; we all want to promote that we have an App of some description, however we (or I at least) don’t really know what that App should be. How can we develop something for the new generation of shiny-shiny phones which could actually BENEFIT our customer in some way? A “find my nearest” would be a good start, however another good example is a “report a problem” kind of app. Stuart Harrison at Lichfield DC recently did an easy to use Twitter interface for FixMyStreet called FixMyTweet. While this is a great tool in itself, making the FMS service somewhat more accessible, picture this.

You find a problem. Your council has a problem reporting app which allows you to take a photo, tweet or email the issue or attach audio to your report using AudioBoo. Why? Perhaps you struggle to use the tiny little keyboard on your smartphone; perhaps the problem cannot be easily described with written words and would be better spoken; perhaps, and here’s the biggie in my opinion, perhaps it’s an accessibility issue which means it is easier for you as an individual to hit one big old RECORD button rather than lots of little QWERTY buttons.

I think the potential applications of allowing our customers to use audio clips, even video clips (UStream?) when contacting us could be massive! Sure, there is the risk of it being abused but surely that’s the same with any other communications channel we use? I’m certainly interested to see what we could do with this…

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