MassKnowtify Presents SecretCicLAvia, Sunday August 9!

SecretCicLAvia

Join the fun at this Sunday’s CicLAvia as MassKnowtify and SecretCity Tours present SecretCicLAvia — a digital treasure hunt where you can unlock delicious eats to try for FREE along the route!

We will feature food locations along the route which stretches from Culver City to Venice Beach.  At different times during the day, the MassKnowtify app will alert you with when and where to find yummy food right along on the route.  Oh yeah, did we mention that we’re giving it away for free?

Here’s the schedule for our digital treasure hunt:

  • Giveaway #1:  Around 10:00 am in eastern third of route (Culver City)
  • Giveaway #2:  Around 12:00 pm in middle third of route (Mar Vista)

Each giveaway will be first come first served, so be sure to download MassKnowtify in advance and enable push notifications — in order to be first to know!

Here’s how it works:

1.  Download the MassKnowtify app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

2.  Register as a MassKnowtify user using a valid email address.  Be sure to select location sharing and push notifications so we can automatically alert you when each giveaway is activated on Sunday.

   

3.  Select “Recreation” from the list of subscription categories in order to receive the giveaway alerts on Sunday.

4.  During CicLAvia, follow the instructions on the giveaway alert for where to find the SecretCicLAvia food!

    

We look forward to bringing you some delicious food on Sunday.  See you then!

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MassKnowtify Featured on Toolbox.org

We’re excited to announce that MassKnowtify is now featured on Toolbox.org as an app that contributes to social good. Toolbox showcases an amazing collection of apps used for good across a number of categories. We’re honored to be included among such a strong group of civic and social innovators who are making an impact on the world around us. We’re featured in both the Governance and Relief categories — check us out!

Help us connect citizens to local governments in Los Angeles with the LA2050 Grants Challenge!

LA2050LA2050

We’re pleased to announce our entry for the LA2050 2014 Grants Challenge organized by the Goldhirsch Foundation.  The LA2050 Grants Challenge has five categories for making Los Angeles the best place in the world to Play, Connect, Live, Create, and Learn.  MassKnowtify is entered into the Connect category based on our mission to connect citizens to information from local governments everywhere. The Grants Challenge will award two winners in each category in two different ways: one through internal judging and one through an online vote. We encourage you to watch our video and send us a friendly comment on our page.  Voting begins in September, so stay tuned!

Accela App Challenge Delivers Another Award to MassKnowtify

Today we’re excited to announce another competition award for MassKnowtify!  MassKnowtify is a prize winner in Accela Software’s Accela Construct App Challenge, which was a competition for apps that open up government data for citizens and enable citizens and businesses to connect with local governments.

Accela Software provides enterprise software solutions to federal, state, and local government agencies which enables them automate workflow, track information, and manage data for asset management, emergency response, permitting, planning, licensing, public health, and public works.

MassKnowtify is dedicated to making communications between government and citizens more accessible, valuable and effective, so we’re honored to receive this recognition from Accela and become a partner in their effort to improve the delivery and transparency of government services.

This is our third competition award in the past three months, and we’re thrilled to see momentum continuing to build as we share our vision for the MassKnowtify platform with wider audiences.  Stay tuned for more excitement!

The ALERT Toolkit: Best Practices in Public Alerting

At MassKnowtify, we have a deep understanding of the needs of public information professionals and the gaps that exist in how governments connect and engage with their constituents.  Our team has several years’ experience working with local government agencies and their communications professionals, and this experience has shaped the development of our platform.  And during our product development efforts, we’ve worked directly with public safety officials and public information officers to refine MassKnowtify to best meet the needs of our two distinct user groups: public agencies and citizens.

Through this process, we’ve observed a range of practices on how government communications are conducted at the local level.  We’ve taken this knowledge and developed the ALERT Toolkit to reiterate the best practices we’ve observed in working with local government agencies.

ALERT covers the entire life cycle of a public notification: Assess, Locate, Educate, React, Terminate.  All five stages are equally important, and neglecting even a single stage can undermine the messaging of an entire event.  In future posts, we will dive deeper into each of the five stages of the ALERT Toolkit.

Developing the ALERT Toolkit is integral to our mission of making communications between government and citizens more accessible, valuable, and effective.

 

A Guide for the Politically (and Geographically) Perplexed in LA County

We’ve long viewed the fragmented nature of local government and municipal services as a barrier to becoming adequately informed of important information as we travel from place to place, and city to city.

In a blog post at KCET.org, LA journalist and author DJ Waldie notes that even journalists are confused and unaware of the distinctions made between the different layers and authorities of local governments in the Los Angeles region.  Los Angeles County consists of 88 distinct cities, but some cities share services while certain cities have jurisdiction to provide services inside other cities.  Confused yet?

These dynamics are certainly not unique to the Los Angeles area, but they are particularly pronounced in LA which creates significant confusion for citizens and communities.  Indeed, the fragmented nature of municipal boundaries across the U.S. creates fundamental challenges for public agencies to adequately inform citizens and communities of public information that’s relevant to them.

At MassKnowtify, we view these problems in two related ways:

  • How do you find important localized information if you don’t know where to look?
  • How can you be connected to the most relevant information to your specific location?

The MassKnowtify platform solves these problems by enabling local government agencies to provide location-based alerts that are timely and relevant to a citizen’s location.  The resulting benefits are clear: public agencies achieving more effective public messaging and communication, and citizens and communities becoming better informed and more empowered.

More exciting news from the MassKnowtify team

Today MassKnowtify was announced as a finalist in Amazon Web Services’ City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge! MassKnowtify is a finalist in the Partners in Innovation Award, which recognizes applications that solve local government challenges.

We’re proud to partner with AWS in their efforts to quickly and inexpensively scale solutions to meet the needs of local governments and their constituents. The Innovation Challenge was open to entries from across the U.S. and around the world, so we’re honored by this recognition!

Police Chase Keeps LA Residents in Limbo

LA Police ChaseToday a police chase crossed a wide section of Los Angeles, which ended with the suspect in custody after a tense standoff with police in a densely populated area surrounding several schools. This was a fortunate outcome, especially considering that many notification channels went unused by law enforcement.

With MassKnowtify, you can be immediately informed of these types of unexpected events wherever you’re located.  We’re working hard to make MassKnowtify available to local governments so that citizens everywhere can be better informed and empowered.

Exciting news from the MassKnowtify team

Yesterday MassKnowtify finished in 1st place at UCLA’s Student Entrepreneur Venture Competition! We were awarded $10,000 to continue developing and improving our platform. We’re grateful to UCLA’s Institute for Technology Advancement and all of the generous event sponsors for this award!

We look forward to sharing more on our progress very soon. Stay tuned!

When the Government Seems to Take Over Your Phone

Over at Re/code, popular tech columnist Walt Mossberg responds to a reader question on how to disable Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), the federal government’s alert system, which sends Amber Alerts and weather warnings to your phone even when it’s on silent mode.

At MassKnowtify, we’re building a highly customized experience for citizens to select the types of local government notifications that are relevant to them based on their current location. This type of experience engages citizens in a dramatically new way, driving citizens to “opt in” to their communities.