|OKLAHOMA'S eGOV NEWS REPORT|
Welcome to Oklahoma's eGovernment News Report. We hope you enjoy the monthly report providing you with up-to-date information on Oklahoma's eGovernment achievements.
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Office of Governor Mary Fallin today announced the launch of a redesigned governor’s Web site at www.governor.ok.gov. The new site features a template layout that is brand new to Oklahoma statewide elected officials and features panoramic banner graphics, photo and multimedia galleries, and social media connectivity.
“Internet and Web-based technologies are great tools that allow citizens to interact and communicate directly with their elected officials,” Fallin said. “Our new site is easy-to-navigate and will keep Oklahomans up to date on information from the governor’s office while allowing them to communicate with my office directly.”
The Web site has a more modern feel, as well as a more functional and navigable layout. Visitors can stay current with Governor Fallin and the governor’s office, whether it’s following her Twitter feed or finding service opportunities within her administration.
“Governor Fallin and her staff challenged us to design and develop a new brand for her office,” said Mark Mitchell, OK.gov General Manager. “The site will continue to grow and see continual aesthetic and functionality improvements. It will definitely not be a static site.”
The new site is built through OK.gov’s Go Gov! Web Management Suite which allows the governor’s staff to easily build and maintain a Web site without the knowledge of programming languages.
The system utilizes a new, freshly designed template, which provides a common look for all Oklahoma’s state and local Web sites. That in turn gives Web site visitors a sense of security in that they are visiting an official Oklahoma government Web site. The Web site and services are a product of a partnership between the governor’s office and OK.gov, Oklahoma’s Official Website managed by the eGovernment firm, NIC Inc.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin kicked off the Sooner Safe - Safe Room Rebate Program today during a news conference at the Oklahoma Capitol. With this announcement, more than $1 million in rebates were made available to Oklahoma homeowners for the construction of individual safe rooms and storm shelters. Officials anticipate the funding will help deliver about 500 safe rooms.
“I urge all Oklahomans to take every step possible in preparing for severe weather,” Fallin said. “Safe rooms offer an invaluable way to protect your family during a storm and the Sooner Safe - Safe Room Rebate Program can help Oklahoma homeowners in accomplishing that goal.”
The program is a partnership between the state and federal government. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) delivered the funding, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management will manage the program, and OK.gov is administering the Web site portal where Oklahomans can register to be eligible for the rebates.
“We’re pleased to be bringing this statewide program back to Oklahoma,” Oklahoma Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood said. “We appreciate all the work of our partners in helping to make this happen.”
The program provides a 75-percent rebate – up to $2,000 – to eligible Oklahomans who install above-ground or below-ground safe rooms. To apply for the rebate, Oklahomans should register online at www.soonersafe.ok.gov. Recipients will be selected by random computer drawing annually.
Funding priority will be given to residents whose homes were destroyed in tornadoes that garnered presidential disaster declaration for individual assistance each year. For example, this program year, so far, the April 14, 2011 Tushka tornado and May 22-25, 2011 tornadoes in central and northeastern Oklahoma qualify for funding priority.
The 2011 program drawing is set for Jan. 3, 2012. Following the annual drawing, recipients will be notified by e-mail and given until September 30 of each year to construct the safe room to FEMA standards and submit all required documentation to the state.
To meet FEMA requirements, safe rooms cannot be installed prior to the rebate drawing and notification period in order to be eligible for the program.
Taking government services online, and in many cases, to the cloud, has the potential to save as much as $114 billion worldwide by 2016, according to new research.
ABI Research said the implementation of online e-government services, especially "citizen services," will help drive the e-government services market to sharp growth over the next five years.
"Investment is set to increase from $28 billion in 2010 to $57 billion in 2016, and the number of users will nearly triple over the forecast period," said ABI Research analyst Phil Sealy.
But, he said, because of a very fragmented market, growth in different regions will vary widely.
"Initially much of the activity will be in the major industrialized countries," he said. "But rollouts of e-government services will accelerate beginning in about 2014 when online services in developing regions start to become a reality."
Governments are looking to offer information and services on many levels. ABI Research is expecting to see mobile services become ever more popular, especially in those countries where providing citizens fixed broadband connections may not be a viable investment option. The aim is to maximize e-inclusion and e-participation of citizen-centric services by providing simplistic and convenient means of access.
"Countries such as the U.S. that already have well-established e-government services are looking into aligning services onto one portal rather than multiple portals," said ABI Research group director John Devlin. "The same applies for Europe. Aligning services will make it easier for a country's citizens to access all services in one place. This allows a reduction in operating costs, while maintaining service levels."
In the U.S., both the federal government and state governments are looking to not only transition services, but online and cloud communications as well.
The General Services Administration, for example, in July said it had switched its 17,000 employees over to Google Apps to take advantage of its cloud-based email and collaboration offerings, cutting down on the costs of establishing and operating data centers. The GSA said the change will save it more than $15.2 million over the next five years.
Likewise, the State of Wyoming, which in June became the first state to adopt a full suite of Google Apps for Government, which includes desktop videoconferencing and live online collaboration while creating documents for its more than 10,000 state employees. Wyoming believes the switch will help it save $1 million annually.
And of course, Congress increasingly is using Skype and Oovoo VoIP and video chat to communicate with constituents and each other.
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OK.gov is the official website of the state of Oklahoma and a collaborative effort between the Oklahoma Office of State Finance (OSF) and Oklahoma Interactive, LLC to help Oklahoma government entities Web-enable their information services. OSF is responsible for OK.gov. Oklahoma Interactive operates, maintains, and markets OK.gov and is part of eGovernment firm NIC’s (NASDAQ: EGOV) family of companies.
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