India is gearing up for the new wave of handheld internet surfing that is presently upon its citizens. The study conducted by Ericsson detailed that India will create more than 600 million mobile broadband internet users by the year 2020.
In the report titled ‘India 2020: Bringing the Networked Society to Life’, Ericsson reiterates the importance of Government intervention in bringing Internet related services to the palm of every citizen which is what the Digital India Vision is all about. Information Technology Inclusion starts with taking governance to the people via the world wide web and on that note, we bring you a promising update from the Karnataka state government. The state gets a reassuring and utile mobile application that will catalog easy access contact information pertaining to about 4281 (and counting) state-recognized and authorized services. Called Mobile One or simply M-One, the app can be launched on Android and Apple smartphones. President Pranab Mukherjee formally launched the application on Monday. The app also introduces a special payment processor called the Karnataka Wallet, through which you can choose to integrate your credit card or debit card.
Going by the purported volume of the repository entries covering both governmental as well as private sector, one can expect substantial laggardness and buggy performance but since it has just taken baby steps so far, the app has a long way to go in efficiency. Nevertheless, listing and presentation are a plus and menu transition aims to smooth albeit the ubiquitous loading time that could be due to the network troubles. Only time will tell. It took two trials to get myself logged in after a quick registration.
When I first heard of the mobile app from a state government, my initial idea was that it would be a boring, unwieldy site with a lot of scrolling to do. But I was in for a surprise when I finally got my hands on it. I must say that I’m pretty impressed by the overall design which seems to have been inspired by popular discovery engines and site aggregators like Pinterest and the iOS mobile version of StumbleUpon. The home dashboard displays a grid of about 9 icons representing categories like healthcare, education, telecommunication, police, agriculture, municipal services and so on. There’s a Plus sign in the bottom that you can tap to discover and add more categories into your homepage for quick access.
Note: Some Mobile One functions are also tailored to be accessed from basic phone types. All you need is IVR or USSD code entry.
Mobile One – Not just a service directory
Don’t be fooled by the looks because Mobile One packs a lot more punch than just letting you in on the list of the nation’s best go to names for every need. You can actually make appointments, recharge your phone with data plans, pay electricity bills and even open a bank account-to name a very limited few-all while within the app.
The app has both postpaid and prepaid recharge functions and draws a minimal transaction fee for the latter. This can come as a disappointment for some of us who expected the app to be completely free of charge. While the Agriculture segment has many aspiring and enlightening services like weather and crop health alerts and best practices guides, it does involve a certain subscription fee, after all.
The healthcare section looks like a handy utility with its documentation of adequate contact details alongside every name enlisted under each specialization. The highlight though is the ‘Book an Appointment’ feature which places a request to see the doctor, on your behalf.
The show-stopper yet, is the Tele-ICU model which would require video conferencing capabilities on your smartphone. It looks like an ambitious project to revive and revamp the telemedicine practice which, even today, is the only way the attention of a doctor sometimes reaches patients in some isolated, cut-off nooks of the country.
Mobile One also lists details of blood banks, nursing staff, maternal and neo-natal care providers, pharmacists and test labs.
Banking services are currently limited to names with major presence in Karnataka, the likes of Punjab National Bank, HDFC, State Bank of India, Axis Bank and Canara Bank. The scope is expected to extend to more depository guardians and chit fund operators too in the year ahead. Right now, opening a bank account is one of the basic functionalities that the app offers in this segment and it looks like the right tool to promote the Jan Dhan Yojana scheme objectives although one cannot guess the reason why these banks are the first ones to feature on the app.
All said and done, Income Tax payment status tracking and IRCTC ticket booking are both intensive procedures that can actually tire the hell out of most of us by the end of it. This means Mobile One needs a robust interface that can simplify the whole experience by providing quick usage and transitions. Until then, citizens of Karnataka wouldn’t be able to reap the benefits of the brilliant program to its fullest.
Download from iTunes: Mobile on for iOS
Download from Google Play: Mobile One for Android