Mobile Technology For Social Entrepreneurs Event Recap
Objective of the Event
Bring together key individuals who have a passion for seeing mobile technology work for social entrepreneurs to build networks and facilitate the uptake of mobile technology for social entrepreneurs.
When & Where
Date: 12th June 2010
Time: 9,30am until 4pm BST
Location: Vodafone HQ, 1 Kingdom Street, Paddington, London
Presentations and links to apps show-cased during the event.
Iris Lapinski, Centre for Digital Inclusion http://cdiglobal.org/ Iris runs CDI Europe. She has a background in commercial digital media & telecoms consulting working for Ovum and Farncombe Technology. During that time Iris managed a range of due diligence, business planning and strategy projects especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. Previously, Iris worked as a buy-side analyst for Dexia Asset Management in Belgium covering the telecoms, media and technology sectors.
Neil Davidson, GSMA Development Fund http://www.gsmworld.com/our-work/mobile_planet/development_fund/index.htm
Neil’s background and professional interest is in businesses that benefit the poor. Prior to joining the MMU programme, Neil worked for Kenya’s second-largest microfinance institution, K-Rep Bank, and as a consultant at McKinsey & Co., where he advised a leading retail bank in Nigeria and to a logistics conglomerate in South Africa. Neil earned his bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Harvard University.
Thibaut Rouffineau, Wireless Industry Partnership http://www.wipconnector.com Community and passion builder with a mobile edge.Over the past few years has been heavily engaged in the migration of the mobile industry towards a more open and community led approach to development and innovation. Especially active in open source communities such as the Eclipse and Symbian communities.
Stephen Wolak - Vodafone Group R&D http://crowdtalk.wordpress.com I am the founder and head of the Betavine website that was created as part of my role in Vodafone Group R&D.
After gaining a Bsc (Eng) in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Imperial College London I joined Motorola Communication in August 1985. At Motorola I worked on a number of smaller comms projects related to the analogue mobile network that had just launched in the UK. I then focussed on one big project – introducing SS7 (digital signalling) into the Cellnet mobile network by first testing it against a System X test switch and then rolling out to the MSCs in the UK network.
I joined Orbitel Mobile Communications in 1988 as a software developer working on the new GSM base station node B. Orbitel was later acquired by Ericsson.
In 1992, after the the Orbitel project was scrapped, I headed off to Portsmouth University as a Senior Lecturer in Software Engineering. I lectured in object oriented analysis & design, Occam (!), Ada, C++, Prolog amoungst other things. During this period I was also invited to lecture in OOA/OOD at Tirana University in Albania – great experience.
My desire to get back to building stuff took me to NEC Technologies in Reading where I started as a software engineer and ended up as a software group leader working on their first WAP mobile. This brought me into contact with some folkes from Vodafone and I move to join Vodafone Group R&D in June 2000.
I have worked on a range of projects in Vodafone Group R&D but in May 2006 I suggested building a public R&D website to get wider feedback on what we were doing – before the term “crowdsourcing”? was being used. That led to the creation of Betavine – Vodafone’s developer outreach website. We have built the website from scratch and manage it ourselves in our lab.
Laura Walker Hudson, FrontlineSMS http://www.frontlinesms.com/ Laura has a background in human rights law and gender, and joined FrontlineSMS in March 2010 from the British Red Cross, where she spent three years working in international humanitarian policy. She is also a trustee of the Warwickshire Domestic Violence Support Service; a supporter of the Downing Street Project; and writes and thinks about the health rights of Gypsies and Travellers in the UK
See demo’s of applications built using FrontlineSMS at the Apps Exchange during the event
Vivian Gee, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship http://www.schwabfound.org/sf/index.htm Vivian Gee is Head of Asia at the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, and a World Economic Forum Global Leadership Fellow. She is responsible for selecting leading social entrepreneurs in Asia, and identifying opportunities for them to engage with global decision makers. Vivian’s prior work experience includes product management and product marketing in the technology sector, as well as strategy and IT consulting. Vivian has also consulted for non-profits, social enterprises, and small/medium enterprises in South Africa, India, the United States, as well as Indonesia. During her time in Jakarta, Vivian spearheaded and customized a consulting program for local business owners. Vivian holds an MBA from INSEAD in addition to Bachelors and Masters degrees in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management from Stanford University.
Mark Herringer, Digital Producer Mark currently runs Countryman Media a digital agency based in London. Recent work concerns the development of spatially aware applications for web and mobile. He is motivated by the potential of non-market production open source software and open business models. Through the Crisis Commons he contributed to relief work focused on the mapping of Haiti and support for Citizen Reporters in Burundi. He has worked for leading digital agencies as a Producer, Project Manager and Business Analyst. While living in South Africa he ran Development Information Solutions for Communities an NGO specialising in ICT4D.
Mark’s expertise is in Business Analysis, Digital Production and User Experience Design. Mark has recently worked on IDRC funded project with a mandate to develop ICT to support the University of the Western Cape and entrepreneurs based in Cape Towns peri-urban area’s, and development of a geographic web application localised in English and Italian.
Linnet Taylor, DPhil Student Linnet Taylor is currently conducting doctoral research on migration and the ICT sector in Ghana. She has an interdisciplinary background that includes literature, Mesoamerican languages and history, and development research methods. She worked as a journalist in Mexico and the US, then joined the Rockefeller Foundation in 2004. There she worked on programmes dealing with creativity and culture, economic security, and international migration and development. Her work on Ghana focuses on the interrelation of mobility and entrepreneurship.
Deepak Bhatia, Practice Leader eGovernment Applications, Global ICT Department, The World Bank
Mr. Deepak Bhatia is the Practice Leader for E-government applications in the Global ICT Department and manages the Informatics components of Bank loans in several countries. Having joined the World Bank in 1984, Deepak brings 25 years of knowledge and experience in providing support to Bank’s operations involving IT components. Deepak’s knowledge of the intricacy of IT and understanding of the complexity of strategy development for process and IT integration is guiding IAS in providing tactical, operational, and facilitation services to Bank’s operational teams in identification, assessment, and re-engineering of IT components in operational projects. His experience prior to GICT include: manager for the e-government practice, manager for the informatics advisory service, manager for the Operations and Resource Management systems for systems renewal; manager for the Information and Document Management team in ISG; and project manager for the sector-theme reclassification project. Deepak has two Masters degrees in Computer Applications (M. Eng) and Business Administration (M.B.A).
The hash tag for this event is/was “#mt4se”.
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Join our Linked-in Group Mobile Technology for Social Entrepreneurs
!!!Live coverage of event!!!
Front Line SMS is an open source software allowing 2 way commnunications using SMS. Its main usage are : Health remote monitoring, Alerts, Jobs, Prices… Frontline SMS has HUGE penetration throughout the world. Examples of usage:
- FAO : Fish Marketing Information System allowing fisherman to get fish market prices
- CELAC : Agricultural advice
- Foleshhillfields Vision Project (Covenrty UK) used to mobilise volunteers
- Survivors Connect :
Some of the largest organizations have used Frontline SMS : Red Cross, Oxfam… Main awareness about FrontLine SMS is from tech guys or social media guys… but not yet the program people… How can this be changed? FrontLine SMS is looking for ways to target a largest audience as using FrontLine SMS is NOT complex to use as most users use the simplest features. Community forum is available to get help as well as a community powered DB of phones who have been used in other countries to inform users of compatible devices. Frontline SMS is supported by donors including Rockerfeller Center… Building an ecosystem around FrontLine SMS, could happen organically if integrators could provide a service around FrontLine SMS.
Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship
Objective of the Foundation: select (late stage) 20 social entrepreneurs a year, to connect them to companies media, civil societies… Then building a community of social entrepreneurs worldwide. Criteria for choice : innovative, NFP or commercial companies, sustainability, social impact, and scalabilty.
Network in 2010 goes accross all sectors, education, energy, environment, water access, rural development.
Examples of mobile technology applications in SE:
- Easypaisa : mobile banking platform entirely through SMS
- Cellbazar : Mobile ebay
- Educational games:
- Disaster relief communication
Challenges and opportunities for mobile technologies and social entrepreneurship
- Lower cost of phones & of SMS
- Robustiness and stability of mobile networks… electrification is also an issue
- Distribution of application is a huge issue due to fragmentation of mobile space => mobile accounts independent of handset and operator
- Grassroots rural vs urban marketing
- Education and training of end users can be complex (consider illiterate non tech savvy base)
- User interface across devices and form factors (fragmentation again)
- Data reliability and ensuring the quality of the information transmitted
- Information security and privacy subject to various local rules
Mobile money and social entrepreneurship
Speaker: Neil Davidson, GSMA Development Fund
The story of mobile money:
- Back in 2007, before the launch of the M-Pesa mobile banking service, it was very difficult for the large population of migrant workers in Kenya to send money home to their families
- Options: hand delivery, delivery via bus driver, money transfer service—banks almost totally unused
- in March 2007, Safaricom and Vodafone develop and launch M-pesa
- M-pesa creates a mobile wallet. Users give money to any M-pesa agent in the country, who credits their account, they can then send money to anyone with a phone number, who can then go to any M-pesa agent and withdraw cash
Is mobile money transformational?
- $5 billion USD has flown through M-pesa since March 2007
- 10% of Kenya’s GDP per year
- 77% of rural users not an income increase since adopting M-Pesa, usually between 5-30% (M-pesa increases frequency of sending money, and saves people time, increasing productivity)
- 9.5 million people—42% of Kenya’s adult population—have signed up
Mobile money deployments
- 65 live in 36 countries worldwide, 86 more are in process of moving towards launch
- see map, more info at GSM Association or GSMA Mobile Money or check out the Blog
Technology piece is relatively simple, running on featurephones:
- Users, even those who are illiterate, tend to prefer text-based UI over IVR systems—as long as they are numerate, they can learn the series of keystrokes/options needed
- voice is much more expensive than data, so text is more attractive
- Technology options in declining order of prevalence: SIM application toolkit, USSD session, single USSD or SMS message, WAP session, Java applet
- For the provider, building a network of agents for cashing in and out is much more difficult than developing the needed technology
Social entrepreneurs use mobile money in some cool ways:
- Bridge International Academies - bill parents for school costs using M-Pesa (Kenya)
- Dhaka Asania Mission - collected over $150,000 in grassroots donations—tiny amounts, like 15 cents each—to build a new cancer hospital using Grameenphone Billpay in Bangladesh
- Grundfos LIFELINK—has designed and installed water-dispensing kiosks that let users pay via M-Pesa in Kenya, making it more likely people will purchase the safe drinking water
Mobile payment systems reduce the friction of accepting payments, particularly micropayments
GSMA works with local mobile network operators to implement best practices, doesn’t do implementation directly itself.
The biggest factor that mobile money solutions have taken off in developing nations is not because of a lack of restrictions, but because of the lack of good solutions for the problems m-money services solve. Banking services, card payments, etc, are not pervasive.
It’s possible to go to a Western Union outlet in London and send money to M-Pesa users in Kenya.
People are beginning to use the services as a place to store money, akin to a bank account. This can be transformational in helping people to build wealth.
CDI Apps for good
Speaker: Iris Lapinski Apps for good
CDI started out in Rio de Janeiro to bring computers in favellas. Now running in 30+ countries over the past 15 years.
Mobile broadband is the second wave of mobile in developing countries already bigger than fixed broadband. 3G Penetration is forecasting to reach 25% = inflection point by 2011/2012 giving huge hopes for mobile broadband in the coming years.
At the minutes though there seems to be 2 trends developed countries are aall apps hungry when developing world is focusing on social sms based applications.
Apps For Good is a program aimed at teaching UK youngsters to develop mobile applications… with the objective to expand this course to more countries especially in the developing world.
Focus in UK is on Android sponsored by Dell, and as an open platform it has a greater potential than closed platform.
3 apps were developed in the matter of 8 weeks:
- StudioPhly : Find recording studios in the neighborhood
- StudentVoice : share data about University life
- Stop and Search : Legal advice in an app
All available on the Android Market & have their own website. Each time is encouraged to put their apps in an open source repository and share their code. Similarly the course material might be put in open source in the future.
Next version of the courses to be run in the coming months in the UK, mainly run by people who have been through the course in the past.
Apps distribution and marketing is still an issue for these various apps, looking for help and advice on the subject. GetJar proposes to give free PPD credits to help promote these applications.
New business Models
Speakers: Mark Herringer, Linnet Taylor
How do we spark the relationship between social entrepreneurs and mobile application developers?
The challenge of developing effective mobile applications that support Social Entrepreneurs will be met by organizations publishing live open data through platforms that are integrated with their business processes.
Developers working on open platforms and employing an Agile development process will be well placed to develop mobile applications. These are the fundamentals needed to spark the relationship between Mobile applications developers and social entrepreneurs.
What is a social entrepreneur?
- an entrepreneur focused on social change
What is an infopreneur?
- a person who trades on information
For social change to take place, technology needs to be appropriate and rooted in local knowledge.
Africa has a lot of global cities, but most Africans don’t live in them.
The digital divide is not vertical (rich vs poor), it’s horizontal (regions or groups within countries or local areas). That is, neighbors or people in the same city don’t have access to the same technologies.
From survey in northern Ghana: radio and TV are still most preferred communication technology. People still using mobiles mostly to communicate within their local area—how do we introduce tech/services that helps people communicate outside it and grow their networks?
90% of people are entrepreneurs in Ghana. Biggest job for women.
Many people are working on apps and services for farmers, but who’s working on apps for the younger, more connected generation?
How do we know what apps to develop for Ghana/Africa/other places? “You can’t get there from here”—need to go and get local knowledge, we learn people’s needs by being among them.
Developing mobile apps for the long tail—getting simple apps, not complex tech, that can be reused and repurposed. Creating a platform that allows people to spot trends and visualize data, then build apps based on needs/desire.
Developers - keep applications simple Platform developers - Include social processes in the open platform design Publish open data Represent data usage through visualizations Enable mechanisms for people to share data creatively. See FluidDB
Speaker: Deepak Bhatia
64% of World Bank projects have ICT components; had spent over $7 billion on ICT by 2006. In each sector of prjects, the bank analyzes how ICT can best achieve and support the sector’s goals.
Just like in private sector, major IT investments carry risk. How/why the World Bank is trying to bring mobile into their ICT plans:
- mobile has become a viable means of service delivery, especially when compared to fixed voice
- the diffusion of mobile apps is fast
- while the penetration rates of mobile phones are very high in many countries, the potential for growth of mobile applications for public service/use is still largely untapped
In developing countries, mobile has a 35% greater impact on GDP than in developed countries—future mobile broadband could be even more. Critical mass for economic impact is at 25% penetration.
The mobile is not a standalone device. It’s an integrated part of daily life and its use is second nature.
From m-health project: initially set up just as a pilot for a data collection project, but once participants had phones, they started finding all sorts of new and expanded uses for them such as telemedicine, increased contact with patients, etc.
What struck you most about the event, and what are the steps for the future?
- Iris: building capacity for people to develop apps/develop their own apps
- Mark: local connection with app developers and its importance; adoptions of a social business process that can filter ideas through to best people to pursue them; creation of open platform
- Neil: timing of this event, in that while developing applications in the developing world is a few years away yet, a large amount of knowledge is building in the developed nations to help craft the solutions
- Deepak: what will it take in the mobile ecosystem to enable it to blossom in the mobile world (rights, responsibilities, regulations, etc); we ought to start thinking beyond the notion of a small single app or pilots and think about how to scale solutions across entire nations or networks
- Thibaut Rouffineau, WIP: the importance of making sure that we are all speaking the same language when bringing together the mobile and social entrepreneurship worlds
Audience comment: if IVR systems are as unpopular with people as was claimed earlier, how do we think about designing text-based user interfaces for illiterate people?
- Neil: there is still a lot of heterogeneity among markets, for some applications in some markets, it does work/catch on. It’s one part of the option set for UI today; the big issue is that the option set isn’t all that good. This requires a lot of creativity from developers/providers given the technical limitations of phones and their capabilities.
(Free research on voice UI for mobile available at http://inglisjane.co.uk/soundbarriers.html)
What are some of the barriers to adoption for the types of apps we have been discussing today?
- Iris: Apps and services are driven by need; the needs of developed and developing markets are different, so finding the needs to answer can be challenging.
- Mark: Many things sprout out of immediate needs—political crises or natural disasters. How do we harness that to create apps out of other circumstances?
- Deepak: There is a real need for local content—it’s an afterthought sometimes, but is important.
- Thibaut: Use the appropriate technology for your market/need.
Audience comment: the only way to overcome the barriers facing social enterprises is radical collaboration.
- Mark: Who’s providing leadership to encourage social innovation and incentives (ie financial) to encourage collaboration and work towards goals such as the Millenium Development Goals?
Audience comment: 2 million people in the UK can’t use mobile phones because of a disability—a means of digital exclusion. Is the GSMA or an operator doing anything about it?
- Nicky: discussion has moved from what people can’t do to a strategy of inclusion focused on what people are capable of. So for instance, a person in a club with very loud music has very similar needs to a deaf individual; the real market for inclusion applications is much bigger than often thought.
What should we do next? How do we take the concept forward?
- Iris: Continue to stay in touch—add ourselves to the Wiki, share what we’re all working on and doing. Apps for Good runs monthly drinks, everyone is invited.
- Mark: Share online resources, like via his wiki at wiki.countryman.co.za
- Neil: check out the GSMA’s mobile money blog; continue to learn and share and build the small circle into a bigger one
- Deepak: It’s up to the community to carry things forward
- Thibaut: Continue the discussion at the bar around the corner!
Please add any notes or resources if you attended one of these sessions
Neil Davidson - GSMA
Promoting your App, earning money through advertising
Bruce James - GetJar
Enabling the Big Society & British Social Enterprises with Mobile Technology
Mamading @evangineer - London Creative Labs
The role of Technology in Social & Behavioural Change
Peter Holt - Nimbus
dxtr - mobile interfaces for the dexterity impaired discussion
Eric Donovan from ixPocket
with assistance from Julian Harty
A section for people who attended the event to share contact details with other attendees.
Nicky Hickman - Freelance Product & Innovation Manager - Inglis Jane Ltd Notes & Links: During the event I spoke about some recent research Sound Barriers, Analysis of Voice as a User Interface for Mobile Apps & Devices The research is published under a Creative Commons License and is free for non-commercial use. If you would like a copy, please go here Free Research.
I also mentioned the importance of Inclusive Design as opposed to assistive or accessible technology. Inclusive Design considers user capabilities on sensory, physical and cognitive dimensions, enabling you to design for real users and a wider potential market. I have found that by combining with User Centred Design principles there are very practical applications which enable much greater inclusion of more users, in more situations. In particular when considering mobile, a users’ situation often creates disabilities. For example a person in a noisy bar or nightclub is much like a deaf user, their capabilities and situation make text and visual interfaces much easier to use than voice or audio. Similarly, a user who is drunk or drugged has similar cognitive impairments to users with learning disabilities or speech impediments. There are resources and tools at my favourite Inclusive Design website Inclusive Design Toolkit. This site includes tools, explanations and links it was developed for BT’s Age & Disability Unit, and is an excellent practical starting point for using Inclusive Design and looking at the world from this perspective. The creators of the toolkit will be speaking at the forthcoming Mobile Phones for the Senior Market Conference 6th July, London.
Tony Jamous - Founder at Nexmo Inc - offering low cost and online mobile messaging. Our aim is to lower SMS cost, which is one of the barriers for adopting mobile technologies in social projects. Fostering more adoption especially in emerging markets such as Africa.
Meetup groups for Apps for Good London - by CDI Europe