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17 September 2012, 07:46
Suffolk County Council has launched its new phone and laptop apps, including one listing school closures.
The seven new apps, which make it easier for people to check if their school is open in bad weather, contact their local councillor and speak with the council via social networks are part of the county council's plan to make its services more accessible to Suffolk people and save the authority money at the same time.
Councillor Jane Storey, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member responsible for finance and IT, said: "The way local people have come forward and helped us develop these apps so quickly shows just how much interest there is for this kind of thing.
"This is all about making it easier for people to get what they need from the council and ensuring that contact doesn't interfere in their already busy lives.
"By bringing together all the ideas and talent we have in Suffolk, we've been able to create something that can really make a difference."
Jane Storey Speaks to Heart about the new apps:
The App Development Day in June saw around 60 members of the public with an interest in developing mobile technology meet at a council building in Ipswich to design and create the apps.
17-year-old Thomas O'Brien, from Woodbridge School near Ipswich, won top prize after designing the school closure apps. Thomas was subsequently offered a contract with global IT company Jadu and is now their youngest software engineer.
According to internet research company eMarketer, an estimated 17 million people in the UK will go online using mobile devices in 2012, and that number will rise to more than 20 million by 2015.
Statistics show that in Suffolk, the number of people wanting to access council services using their mobile phones or tablet computers is increasing rapidly. 7% of the 2.3m visits to Suffolk County Council's website in 2011/12 were made on mobile devices. This is up from 1.5% in the previous year.