A Cool App? A Public Service? Or…Both?

The worlds of technology and public services continue to overlap in more ways – evidenced by the city of Louisville, Kentucky harnessing a popular free online application to help improve citizen notice of air quality issues.

From coverage in Government Technology:

As municipal governments across the country look to make open data sets easier for the average citizen to read and understand, Louisville, Ky., has adopted a new approach that it hopes can bridge this gap.

The method is commonly known as IFTTT, which stands for If This Then That, and is a free Web-based service used to create chains of simple conditional statements called applets. An example of one use would look something like this: If it snows overnight, then send me a text that tells me how much.

Louisville deployed the tech in January, connecting it to the city’s open data about air quality, and in recent weeks the city has added functionality linked to emergency notifications, said Matt Gotth-Olsen, a developer in Louisville’s Office of Performance Improvement and Innovation.

The way it currently works is that people can use it to set up an applet along the lines of: If air quality becomes hazardous, then turn the lightbulbs in my house orange. Louisville currently has a pilot project underway that involves distributing smart light bulbs to the public along with instructions on how to use IFTTT this way in order to showcase what the service can do.

Read more on the Government Technology website.

Visit the If This Then That website to learn more about its potential for you, or perhaps for your government’s services.