Upcoming versions of the Open311 standard will expand the types of services and information that can be accessed in this way, broadening the ability of government to offer more services on the web and mobile devices. Popular online sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are expected to continue to grow as additional channels for government to engage residents, and the Open311 standard is developing to interact with those sites.

A self-service model supported by open standards is driving the transformation of the government-to-citizen relationship. Through government and industry collaboration, all cities and counties can benefit from efficiencies and opportunities never envisioned more than 12 years ago when the 311 phone number for non-emergency customer service was first established. Open311 further empowers residents to engage with government without a large financial investment in new technology from the government.


Open311 creates new capabilities for call centers, including:

  • Smart phone-specific apps that extend the benefits (reporting problems and tracking progress) of non-mediated access to a broad, mobile audience;

  • Third-party websites to crowd source problems and prioritize fulfillment;

  • "Device-aware" mobile products that automatically re-configure to suit the mobile device being used, making it easy to view and access government websites, forms and applications;

  • Social network channels, like Facebook, to enable residents to engage with cities through pre-existing and widely adopted channels;

  • Multi-jurisdictional partnerships to enable neighboring towns to report problems and track progress;

  • Dashboard view of complaints, reports, requests (activities) across a given geography, which is accessible by the public.

Open311-supported third-party applications:

David Moody is vice president of solutions at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based KANA and was co-founder of Lagan, which was acquired by KANA in November 2010. Steve Carter is director of product marketing at KANA. Contact the authors at david_moody@lagan.com and steve_carter@lagan.com.