Royal Oak offers app-tastic opportunities to stay connected

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published January 31, 2017

 The city of Royal Oak has a new app available for iPhone and Android users.

The city of Royal Oak has a new app available for iPhone and Android users.

Photo by Victoria Mitchell

ROYAL OAK — Looking for a way to connect with the city while on the go? Is your face always in your phone?

The city has you covered with its new app, available now for iPhone and Android.

“It is basically another way of looking at our website,” said Royal Oak Community Engagement Specialist Judy Davids.

Anything that can be accessed on the website can be accessed on a phone, including paying water bills, checking the events calendar, viewing city meeting agendas, accepting emergency alerts and reading news from the Downtown Development Authority.

Alerts can also be added and customized to notify users via text message when new information is available about a prespecified area of interest.

“It’s a great way to assure you aren’t missing anything,” Davids said.

City officials said the app went live Jan. 14, and there were 448 downloads in 10 days.

“So, we thought we were off to a good start,” Davids said.

City officials said that about 30 percent of the people who look at www.romi.gov view it on a mobile device, compared to about 54 percent of people that only view Facebook on their phones, meaning there is room for growth.

“While we realize we are not Facebook, a big goal is for us to increase mobile users,” Davids said.

Davids said the app fits with the City Commission’s goal to increase and improve communications with residents, visitors and city stakeholders.

“The app will offer another medium to communicate with and among the community.” said Mayor Michael Fournier. “I look forward to the continuing evolution of the app as we learn what users like and want.”

Davids said city officials also hope it will be a good way to reach the younger generation.

“Just by going around town and talking to younger people, there is a real disconnect that they never seem to know what is going on,” Davids said. “So, we’re hoping that the mobile device brings another group of people to our website looking for information.”

Davids said that although she understands the younger crowd may not be interested in accessing information on things like tax bills or birth and death certificates, there is plenty of other information available, like arts and recreation programming, special events and even bars where people can watch the Super Bowl.

Fournier said he encourages residents to download the app and offer suggestions to improve it.

“We’re really excited about it, and constantly tweaking it, and would love feedback on it,” Davids said. “If there is something you wish was there or was more upfront, let us know.”