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Text INDYUP, Your Digital Blue Pages -- a modern way to connect with your city's services, and each other

Lost your paycheck? Lost a pet? Just lost? Whatever the question, we provide a citywide text hotline to get people the info they need, fast!

Photo of James Augeri
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Written by

re: https://www.heyjingle.com/

We have 911, Amber Alerts, and Silver Alerts for missing people.

However, cities lack cohesive communications for missing pets, car pooling, neighborhood watches, and other high-impact community issues, many of which aren't quite emergencies, yet important enough that minutes matter.

Cities also lack a single streamlined channel for people to report mobility issues for potholes, plowing, or transit, where individuals often hunt around for:

* phone numbers such as child support
* web pages such as traffic court
* mobile apps such as parking

Very often, folks simply give up or fail to find the services they need.

We propose a single text hotline for key city services as the first step towards enhancing unified citywide access to affiliated and primary municipal services.

For example, the search for a lost pets is patchwork at best -- the Humane Society, social media postings, and for a few lucky few, a television or radio spot, where for a pet, every minute counts. 

By deploying a text hotline, and an associated speed dial shortlist, we can quickly streamlines sharing info about a missing pet with community to:

  • radio and television media
  • pet stores and pet rescues
  • neighborhood platforms
  • local law enforcement
  • local businesses


Can any city service be made accessible?

Yes! Specifically, a text shortcode, such as INDYUP or MYINDY, can provide automated and live support for any municipal service, up to and including health and human services that may require additional measures of privacy, and where those text requests can be routed to an existing 211 provider or if need be to a 911 center.

Is this just broadcast or scheduled alerts?

The primary initial use case is for facilitating interactive lookup of city services and to provide streamlined access to municipal staff and personnel to communicate with residents and visitors about city services.

If desired, the text hotline can also be used to provide scheduled updates, urgent city wide or localized information, or other automated notifications, up to and including compliance and court date reminders.

What about additional messaging channels?

Although text messaging would be the focus during the pilot phase, we can add support for platforms such as WhatsApp if follow-on funding is available.

What about multi-lingual support?

We can provision automated translations on demand for customer support representatives &/or multi-lingual automated response messages can be saved in our system.

Emojis? MMS (audio, photos, video)?

Yes and yes.

What most excites us about this project?
From our founder -- I remember searching city blue pages in physical phone books. I remember searching far too many phone books on active duty. Fast forward and for all the apps and search engines, it's often amazing how long it takes to find something as seemingly straightforward as the location of a local DMV office, or the hours of that office.

We at Jingle want give that time back to the citizens of Indianapolis, and frankly, to make it easier to access and get around the city, and for those in need, to make sure that they can get the info and help that they need quickly, even if that's as simple as everyone showing up for their court date on time, and most especially if we can help a few more pets find their way home.

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

Several years ago, one of our team members visited Indianapolis, specifically to visit the memorial of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, shortly after 9/11 at a time when mobile phones were just beginning to show their true potential for universal connectivity. A municipal text hotline to help locate the memorial would have been of great value as a visitor for a fraction of a cent per text. As a citizen, the value multiplies many times over -- Can we recycle this? / What's the city job link? / How do we contact the mayor? Hey, the dog got out!?! Argh - quick, contact INDYUP! That sort of rapid resolution is possible across the entire spectrum of resident and visitor needs for all city services, where our keyword and chatbot technology can serve as the initial contact, and passed to a customer service representative at the appropriate municipal department or affiliated city service. INDYUP would truly be a living blue pages for anyone in Indianapolis.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Pilot - you have implemented your solution in a real-world scenario

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

We've worked many organizations since creating our text messaging service. The common thread always is streamlining accessibility and enhancing community, and especially when a text hotline can improve mobility or reduce the mobility burden. For truck drivers, it's faster notifications on freight loads. For citizens, it's quick updates during an emergency situation. For transit riders, it's knowing a route is out of service. Bottom line? A text hotline can greatly reduce time to resolution.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

As founder of https://www.heyjingle.com/, I'm on a mission to enhance everyone's access to info, goods, and services. As a team, we're alums of Techstars and the Global Insurance Accelerator and similarly focused on safely enhancing global accessibility. We maximize internal mobility synergies, such as deploying in-office carpooling last year and sponsoring e-transit this year. We also sponsor text messaging for farmer's markets and food desert non-profits to improve local food source access.

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Funding Request

  • $100,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

$100K for following. $20K, annual short code fee for throughput to city the size of Indianapolis, along with built-in marketing for memorable phone number such as MYINDY or INDYUP. $35K, several million messages with one citywide blast in reserve; we're coordinating substantially increasing total project capacity via our downstream texting gateways. Please note $100K pilot only realistically supports interactive and neighborhood group blasts. $35K, customize software. $10K, marketing & training.

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

There are many nearly universal pain points for city services. Losing a pet -- probably the most immediate -- here's a quick place to text and get exactly the info you need quickly, along with advising people in the community, to include the Humane Society, pet rescues, local law enforcement patrols, and the media. Pothole reporting -- another big one -- let's get it fixed -- fast. Crime spots -- here's a place that could use some extra patrolling. We would assume a reasonable progression of adding 1+ city service each month, and if progress proceeds smoothly, onboarding a city services each week, such as park information -- reserving park areas or simply nearby parks; snow & trash removal -- is this recyclable, where's the nearest access point, etc.; metro transit info -- text an address, get a link to metro stops in your area. We also assume supporting court reminders and health and human services, where doing so requires further mutual diligence to properly protect personal privacy.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

The INDYUP text hotline streamlines access to city services, thus a metric that captures the delta in users served would be the most direct measure. A delta metric is also a traditional measure for city services such as measuring an increase in the number of SNAP registrations; increase in of digging hotline calls normalized for construction permits; decrease in parking meter violations, e.g., text PARK to INDYUP, which sends back a web link to the corresponding parking app. The net promoter scores (NPS) would also make be a useful metric, either for baselining the pilot or as delta if NPS scores are already being captured for the services that are made accessible via the text hotline. Marketing letting citizens know about INDYUP is a key factor such as local news, city email newsletters, web ads in response searches for city services, social media ads, etc. While our at-cost budget assumes running key web & social ads, we assume that city-specific marketing is provided.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

The INDYUP interactive text hotline is designed to fit in existing city budgets whereas broadcast text alerts would likely require citizen-sponsored funding secured at relevant points of access, such as during pet registration, to provision bulk lost pet alerts. We ensure our operations are carbon neutral via a tree planting foundation as an historical nod to paper's use in communications. We'd nominally ensure 100 or more trees are planted each year to offset our platform's carbon footprint.

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Photo of James Augeri
Team

Hi, @Elizabeth Durden -- good question -- existing services would remain the same -- you could access by app if installed, 911, etc. Using the Miami parking example you described -- suppose the text hotline for Miami is 2MIAMI. A sticker on the meter might have QR code to the app store or say text PARK to 2-MIAMI (2-64624), and the hotline would respond with a weblink that would take you to app store. If you were already registered, it might also say text 432#MDE to 2-MIAMI, where it replies with an app deep link that takes you directly to the right page in the app where MDE is the parking area and 432 is the spot &/or auto-charges your account for that spot. The core concept is to make the services more universally accessible and coherent, to say to streamline reporting a pothole that never seems to get fixed, or for the city to notify people that trash in certain areas is delayed due to snow delay. In that sense, yes, a hybrid of not having to Google as much to access services, since can be defined at either points of access (such as via parking meter) &/or standardized (such as POTHOLE or GRAFFITI, where text hotline either prompts for pic and location or replies with right web form), and similarly for say CARPOOL, PARATRANSIT or BUS#52 requests, where you can more easily access mobility services without having to sort out which web page, and where can as needed interact with live person by text &/or via webchat if click the provided link to corresponding web page (and where we auto-route texts to 211, city staff, or contracted staff based on right service). In that sense, texting MAYOR would get the mayor's office or POLICE to access non-emergency requests, say , and we'd auto reply in that case with "please call 911 if this is an emergency". Thoughts / follow-up -- definitely curious about what Indianapolis citizens specifically would want from a text hotline like this -- even if it is yes, please, just make it easy to report potholes and contact the mayor about topic XYZ.

Photo of James Augeri
Team

Quick follow-up - this visual about city services might help with last part around which issues are most crucial in a city-wide text hotline - we're also digging through this same conversation internally. For example is reporting potholes a bigger or smaller issues than court date reminders, is simply contacting mayor's more or less crucial than being able to text a number to streamline parking payment anywhere (no meter required) - https://www.masc.sc/pages/programs/voices/ServicesProvidedbyCitiesandTowns.aspx

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