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Page history last edited by MobileActive Admin 11 years ago

One of the more popular and active sessions was this one:  F__ucked Projects:  Microsessions on why your mobile project is going to fail. 

Session notes are here!


A report from Mobile Tech 4 Social Change below, courtesy of the Centre for Internet and Society,  a co-host of the event.



As the name indicates; the Mobile Tech 4 Social Change camp event was organised to find ways, ideas, present existing usages and ways of improving these to use the mobile technologies for social causes.

Besides the organisers, Centre for Internet and Society, MobileActive.org, Mobile Monday and Women’s Learning Partnership, there were many participants from different fields varying from NGO’s, Corporate, Techies, Researchers to the persons who were simply interested in gaining more knowledge in the mobile field.

The event started at around 9.15 am with registration and everyone getting to know each other over a cup of coffee and breakfast.

Katrin from MobileActive.org gave the introduction and agenda for the day.  She also explained how the break out session would proceed.  Usha Venkatachalam took over from Katrin and gave us an insight on WLP with examples on how Youth were being involved for social causes. She also informed about Google sms services and Cell Bazaar in Bangladesh.


Group then split into breakout sessions which were as follows:

Session on user needs by Indrani from Microsoft Research:  Here the group discussed on the main usage of mobile phones by lower income group (<200 USD) and middle income group.   The various user groups use the phones for different purposes however one of the main usages were voice calls.  The lower income groups do not use much of text messaging options even if it is in regional languages.  In a survey done in South Africa among the lower income group the cost of phones usually range from 12USD to 150USD and was used by various sectors of society ranging from fishermen, drivers, maids and other communities.  Mobile banking is also becoming popular among the urban middle income group.  It was finally observed in this session that voice is powerful and entertainment also plays a big part in mobile usage.


Session on Babajob by Sean:   Here Sean discussed with his group; how Babajob uses mobile technology for recruiting people and helping them find the job to suit their needs.  Messages are in regional languages which help job seekers use voice sms and also register using the sms services.  Babajob have tie-ups with telephone companies and advertise in the cities through word of mouth.


Session on Citizen Media by Meera:  The group here discussed on how public debates should be based on informed opinions and that statistical information is required. The group also discussed on how to reach out information to the masses as people prefer voice calls to SMS. The other point also noted was how much information can be given on SMS?


Session on Healthcare:  The group discussed on improving technology to continuously monitor how patients are responding to particular treatments, for example, how diabetic patients can be monitored continuously and also if it can be used for continuous care for the mentally handicapped. In the urban areas it would mainly apply to the HCP and in the rural areas it would directly apply to the people. It was agreed that the technology needs to be more need-based and the issues faced were that of marketing and financial viability.


Session on mChek:  Ishwar from mChek gave a talk on how the SIM can become your Bank Account. The mobile banking makes a lot of banking transactions easier and convenient and also saves time. mChek is also working with Microfinance institutions in rural areas to introduce the rural population to mobile technology, which will help them in repaying loans, transfer of funds and increase savings using the mobile phones.


The Marketplace was open and many started showcasing their products to the audience:

There were demos being presented to the audience and some of them were:

TEXT FREE UIs for Low Literacy & Novice Users – by Indrani (Microsoft Research) –

Based on research done on Low literacy and Novice users, Indrani explained how TEXT FREE UIs will be more beneficial for the Novice users and usage of the mobile phones will increase.

MOBILES-in-a-box & 350.org + frontline + TTC smshubs – by TTC  

Break New from Your Mobile – Democratizing Journalism

Critical Emergencies  - Remote Supervision – Support for On-field Guys

SURUK:   The benefits of SURUK was demonstrated – (www.suruk.com)

GPS metering for Commuters of Auto / Taxi

Share Pooling

Emergency Alerts

Get to know your driver

Social Networking

Commute: Safer, Cheaper and Smarter

mCheck: Banking the Unbanked – by Ishwar (mChek)

News Hunt.com

mDhil – by Nandu Madhava – Here Nandu explained how mDhil worked with different mobile companies.

Once you subscribe, you will regularly receive health alerts on your mobile phones.

M4CHANGE – Google SMS Channel – by Usha Venkatachalam (WLP)


Talk by Mr.Raghunatha (State Manager – IFFCO):

The demos were followed by a talk by Mr.Raghunatha from IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Ltd – who spoke about how IFFCO had many subscribers from rural areas and how they were benefitting from Mobile Telephony and the value added services being provided from IFFCO (5 free voice messages per day relating to crop/weather/market and other related topics) and also how a helpline was available for their benefit.


The next sessions of breakout discussions followed:


Micro sessions on why your Mobile project is going to fail: the crowd gathered here was big and each person had points to discuss on the setbacks and issues faced and some of the points brought up were – to know your audience, and give them what they need. Also, that technology was not always the problem.


Session on Role of Technology in Education:  Prof Arunachalam, who was part of this group discussion, spoke about National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) which is a Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) initiative to promote quality engineering education in the country through video and web based learning material. The seven Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore were requested to produce web-based and video-based courses in 5 disciplines of engineering as well as in Science, Humanities & Management areas. A total of 120 web-based courses and 115 video-based courses have been produced in these disciplines. These courses could be used as supplementary material, and also for training teachers in any institution. The group also discussed educational research programs or rather the lack of research programs. Another suggestion given was to have an agency which would give an end-to-end solution in using technology to improve the educational system.


Session on Mobile Technology for Community Mobilization:  The group here discussed about 350.org – which is a global grassroots campaign to stop the climate crisis, building from an International Day of Climate Action on October 24th. The point discussed was whether using bulk SMS to congregate people for impromptu protests was a good idea or were there better options to create community awareness among the public using technology. Most of the participants felt that the public may not want to keep receiving bulk SMS and might just delete the message without going through the contents of the SMS. Some of the other options suggested were petitions, Community Twitter, Podcasting, community Radio, GPRS/ Web apps. Here, Tupur from Breakthrough, gave the example of how Bell Bajao which is Breakthrough's newest campaign, uses television, radio, mobile video vans, press, leadership training and the internet to spread the word about how to put an end to violence in the home.  The other point also mentioned was how getting a celebrity to be part of the campaign helps in catching the public’s interest.


Session on Information Discovery and Accessibility Challenges:  The group discussed on the challenges faced in terms of technology, structured data availability and the need for a helpline and operational portal.


Session on Mobile 2.0: Bill Thies from Microsoft discussed the role of User-generated content and the possibilities of building an Audio Wikipedia. Mobile 2.0 refers to a perceived next generation of mobile internet services that leverage the social web, or what some call Web 2.0. The social web includes social networking sites and wikis that emphasize collaboration and sharing amongst users. Mobile Web 2.0, with an emphasis on Web, refers to bringing Web 2.0 services to the mobile internet, i.e., accessing aspects of Web 2.0 sites from mobile internet browsers. By contrast, Mobile 2.0 refers to services that integrate the social web with the core aspects of mobility – personal, localized, always-on and ever-present. These services are appearing on wireless devices such as Smartphones and multimedia feature phones that are capable of delivering rich, interactive services as well as being able to provide access and to the full range of mobile consumer touch points including talking, texting, capturing, sending, listening and viewing.


Session on research needs of the M4Change community: The main point discussed here was on how the different NGOs had varied requirements and also how the techies were looking for solutions for the challenges they face.



Based on the feedback received, most of the sessions attended by the participants either met their expectations or exceeded their expectations. Of course, there were a few sessions which some of them wanted improved. Overall, the participants felt that the information received and shared during the course of the day was very useful and also helped in the networking of the different people. Some of the feedback we received to improve was to get experienced key note speakers to give a few talks, show more case studies on how mobile technology has social impact, and also to have more live demos on various apps used.  

Katrin took over from here onwards and the event was wound up with most of the participants giving a small talk on the key take-a ways on the sessions they were part of. This of course brought an end to the day’s event but definitely was not an end to the discussions and ways of utilizing Mobile Technology 4 Social Changes.





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