THE Intelligent Reporting Information System (IRIS), a local software application, has been crafted to help make public information dissemination much easier in Guyana.
IRIS conceptualised in March at the Nexus Hub Hack-Solve, where 30 technologists joined assembled for three days to create a prototype application that would manage public information dissemination, particularly focusing on the Sherriff/Mandela Road Enhancement Project.
“We used the Hacksolve to create a base for the programme and we have been working with the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB) to fine-tune the product,” member of Nexus Hub, Kenneth Parris, told this newspaper recently.
IRIS aims to be a centralised software application that citizens can use to access important and useful updates in relation to the infrastructural work being done, or that impacts wider society. This would include nationwide emergency announcements, missing persons’ reports and traffic advisories. Users would be able to interface with the application through their digital devices.
Currently, Parris related that the body is collecting relevant information from the stakeholders, so that the application could be one that is easily integrated into the public sector.
“Through the IDB, we’ve been having intense consultations with stakeholders, including the Ministry of Public Infrastructure. We’ve been working with them to get how we wanted information disseminated and how IRIS can be integrated into their workflow and in turn, how that helps the public benefit,” he said. “The aim is that when you ask IRIS questions, it would be able to provide the information and updated information, at that.”
The technologist also noted that the group has been working on adding more accessibility features to the programme, so that it could be accessible on digital-assistant devices such as Google Assistant and Alexa, which are devices that aim to make work easier.
For persons who might not be ‘tech savvy’, Parris said that another factor the group is looking at is to begin engaging with influencers and public personalities, so that persons would not have to have IRIS to benefit from it.
“Citizens can just have their radio or be watching television, but persons on that media can be the ones interfacing with IRIS and give up-to-date information on what is happening,” he explained. “You don’t have to have technology to benefit from what IRIS is offering.”
Though IRIS is still being developed, the man noted that the response so far has been “phenomenal”, since persons are just excited to have ready, up-to-date information at their fingertips.
“When we think moving forward, we look at how much information will be made available to persons as to how they can make decisions, not just for public works and transportation. This would include prison breaks, fires [and] utility issues,” Parris said.