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On the move

Dubai e-Government conducts a mobile portal survey to receive feedback on mobile internet usage and finds that while 47% of respondents have access to mobile internet, only 30% actually use it.

Dubai e-Government has conducted a mobile portal survey through via its website to estimate the ability and willingness of people to use mobile internet via handheld wireless devices such as mobile phones and PDAs.

The main objective of the survey was to assess the feasibility of providing government services via the mobile internet as an innovative channel for government department services, meeting customer needs and increasing usage of online services.

According to Salem Al Shair, e-services director of Dubai e-Government, the online survey allowed the e-services department to gain an understanding of the public’s readiness to use innovative channels in their daily transactions and the hurdles that prevent the from adopting these technologies. "The survey comprised questions which focused on the demographic aspects of the respondents, the technology that supports their mobile devices and the types of services they deem beneficial," he says.

The survey, which started at the beginning of July, generated a total of 953 responses, of which 74.1% were from non-UAE nationals, with 87.7% of the respondents from the 20 to 40 age group. The results of the survey indicate that 46.7% of the respondents have access to mobile internet technologies, but only 30.3% of them actually use the technology. The main barriers to using mobile technology were easy and frequent access to PCs and laptops, high costs and lack of awareness. The survey also showed that 70.1% of the respondents felt comfortable making payment via mobile.

Among the most desirable government services via mobile technology, the live traffic condition service was found to be the most popular, with an impressive 45.1% of respondents requesting the service. Other services such as the prayer times, flight information, utility bill payment, health card renewal were also cited as desirable services.

The results show that there is enough interest in mobile services and that a large number of people have access to mobile internet technologies. However, efforts should be made to meet the requirements of users through easy-to-use and short interactive services rather than merely imitating internet-based services. “With the launch of Mobile Portal, which would combine the right set of services with comprehensive awareness campaigns, the popularity of mobile services is set to witness a dramatic rise,” Al Shair says.

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