Cyber Talk Radio: Building People-Centric Smart City Technology

Bret Piatt, CTR Host, and Beto Altamirano and Beto Gomez, co-founders of Cityflag - Episode 126 of Cyber Talk Radio

This past Saturday, February 23, episode 126 of Cyber Talk Radio hit the air on 1200 WOAI and iHeartRadio streaming. I was joined by Beto Altamirano and Beto Gomez, co-founders of Cityflag, to discuss how they’ve created technology that helps citizens have a say in how to improve their city.

We start off this episode talking about the background on 311 in San Antonio. The service communicates non-emergency issues to the city government by dialing 311 or contacting through the app created by Cityflag, which can make reporting issues so much easier and faster. The 311SA app helps efficiently crowdsource information and data about the city. There are currently 52 different requests that citizens can select within the app, including brush pickup, potholes, sidewalks, traffic signs, illegal dumping, animals, and more. The data generated through the app can also be a great public policy tool for highlighting prominent or common issues that might otherwise not have been known. How did the two Betos partner up to start Cityflag? Beto Gomez was studying civic engagement getting his masters in Spain, while Beto Altamirano was working for the Texas government. They both responded to the City of San Antonio’s request for a proposal (RFP) to innovate the 311 app. They were up against giant firms, but ended up winning the RFP. The City of San Antonio saw an opportunity to partner up with Cityflag and start from scratch. They are a part of the CivTechSA program that encourages startups to solve city problems. They have also launched their app in Mexico City as an internal productivity enhancement tool. A year and a half into the collaboration with San Antonio, I ask the co-founders to describe the demographic that is engaging with the city, which now includes millenials and homeowners.

After the break, I highlight the importance of apps that connect cities and their residents. Cities and citizens that don’t have an engaging app like 311SA can reach out to the Cityflag team! They have addressed over 10,000 issues in San Antonio alone, and what they are doing with 311SA has created a significant social impact as their mission. To increase downloads and further city engagement, they have thought about adding polling location information to the app for election times. Where is Cityflag going from here with the 311SA app? They are looking to expand to additional cities, but what about hiring? They hope to grow to at least 15—20 cities in the next year, and are looking to hire local San Antonio talent for front-end and background developers, engineers, etc. They are on the watch for aptitude and culture fit, not just the right skills! Email [email protected] if you are interested in learning more about job opportunities at Cityflag. The 311SA app can be downloaded here for Apple devices, and here for Androids.

Listen to the full episode replay to learn more about smart city technology.

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