The Mobile Minute: Crowdsourcing the Turkish Elections, Mubarak Fined by Egyptian Courts, and The Importance of Mobile Broadband

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Jun 02, 2011

[Updated with audio recording: If you'd like to hear this Mobile Minute in audio form, check out this podcast recorded by Ashiyan Rahmani-Shirazi @ashiyan]

Mobile Minute - 2nd June 2011 by ashiyan

Today's Mobile Minute brings you coverage on Egypt's ruling against former president Mubarak for cutting Internet and mobile services, the rise of online phone calls, the operating system with the most data downloads, an effort to crowdsource citizen reports from the upcoming Turkish elections, and a look at mobile web content and access in East Africa.

  • Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has been fined $34 million by an Egyptian court for cutting access to Internet and mobile phone networks during protests earlier this year. Other Egyptian officials (former interior minister Habib al-Adly and former prime minister Ahmed Nazif) were fined as well, for a total of $90 million in fines among the three former leaders.
  • A new report from the Pew Research Center reveals that online phone calls are becoming much more common. The center reports that 5% of Internet users go online to make a phone call each day, and 24% of adult American Internet users have used the Internet to make a phone call.
  • Curious about which operating system users download the most data? Wonder no more – Android owners use roughly 582 MB of data each month, compared to Apple users who came next with 492 MB of data. The information, compiled by Nielsen, also found that although Android users use more data, iPhone owners downloaded more apps.
  • Turkey's elections are coming up on June 12th, and students at the Istanbul Bilgi University have launched a crowd-sourcing website in order to report on the election. Called CrowdMap, the site maps reports from SMS, email, Twitter, and other Internet sources to provide instant updates about the election outside of the mainstream media.

NETRA: Diagnosing Vision Disorders With a $2 Attachment to a Mobile Phone

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on May 10, 2011
NETRA: Diagnosing Vision Disorders With a $2 Attachment to a Mobile Phone data sheet 3466 Views

Having poor vision can affect nearly every aspect of life, and although it’s easy for those with nearsightedness or farsightedness to know something is wrong, getting a correct diagnosis and prescription for corrective eyewear can be difficult in rural areas. A new device called NETRA could change all that with a cheap, small clip-on tool for mobile phones. Developed by the Camera Culture Group at the MIT Media Lab, NETRA works by having users look through a camera lens and align images on a display screen until the images come into focus.

Basic Information
Organization involved in the project?: 
Project goals: 

The project goal was to create a cheap, portable way to diagnose vision disorders such as refractive errors and cataracts.

Brief description of the project: 

Users look through the clip-on lens at a very close range and align the patterns displayed on a mobile phone screen. The number of manipulations needed to align the images reveals the level of refractive error in the user's eye.

Target audience: 

Rural residents who need to diagnose vision problems

Detailed Information
Length of Project (in months) : 
What worked well? : 

The project allows users to get accurate prescriptions for vision problems in a cheap and accessible way through the use of a clip-on camera lens and manipulable light displays.

What did not work? What were the challenges?: 

Challenges include: the reliability on user diagnosis. Because the system does not require a trained optometrist to deliver the test, the chance for user error is higher than with traditional eye tests.

Winners of Vodafone Awards Showcase mHealth Innovations

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Apr 14, 2011

On Monday, Vodafone and the mHeatlh Alliance announced the winners of the Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project and the mHealth Alliance Award. Although all three winning projects focus on health applications of mobile technology, each project has an entirely different focus: in first place, NETRA uses a clip-on device for mobile phones to quickly diagnose eye disorders; in second place, SMART Diaphragm monitors high-risk pregnancies by wirelessly transmitting information to physicians; and in third place is Cool Comply, a system designed for community health workers to keep medications cool and to allow them to stay in contact with patients.

Vodafone Americas Foundation Announces Last Call for Innovation Project

Posted by MHut on Jan 28, 2010

The Vodafone Americas Foundation is announcing the last call for nominations for the second annual Wireless Innovation Project, a competition to identify and reward the most promising advances in wireless related technologies that can be used to solve critical problems around the globe. Proposals will be accepted through February 1, 2010, with the final winners announced on April 19, 2010 at the annual Global Philanthropy Forum in Redwood City, California. 

Vodafone Americas Foundation Announces Last Call for Innovation Project data sheet 4715 Views
Global Regions:
Countries: United States

Africa: The Impact of Mobile Phones

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Oct 09, 2009
Africa: The Impact of Mobile Phones data sheet 3159 Views
Leonard Waverman, Meloria Meschi, Melvyn Fuss, Mark Williams, Jonathan Samuel, Niraj Shah, Wenona Hadingham, James Goodman
Publication Type: 

Just 20 years after the launch of the world’s first commercial mobile services, there were more mobile than fixed-line users globally, and nearly as many people had a mobile as a television. Vodafone’s Socio-Economic Impact of Mobile (SIM) programme started from the beginning of 2004 to commission research which would help extend the evidence and develop a better understanding of the effects of this extraordinary phenomenon. Mobile communications are experiencing faster growth rates in low-income countries – more than twice as fast as in the high income countries in recent years. Low- and middle-income countries are therefore accounting for a rising share – now more than 20 per cent – of the world mobile market. But there is great variety between countries in mobile phone penetration and use.

Surprisingly, given its extensive poverty, Africa has been the fastest-growing mobile market in the world during the past five years. The first cellular call in Africa was made in Zaire in 1987 (the operator was Telecel). Now there are more than 52 million mobile users in the continent (compared to about 25 million fixed lines).In 19 African countries, mobiles account for at least three quarters of all telephones. Africa as a whole lags far behind richer regions of the world. Nevertheless, the rapid spread of mobile in so many of its countries is a remarkable phenomenon, especially in the context of their huge economic and social challenges.

This report describes and summarises the initial research projects commissioned by Vodafone and carried out in the second half of 2004.The results described here confirm the vital social and economic role already played by mobile telephony in Africa less than a decade after its introduction there. The research documents its impact both at the macro-economic level and at the level of particular communities and businesses. It contributes to the evidence base for the development of both regulatory policies and business strategies in Africa. This opening section sets the context with an overview of the data and of the earlier academic literature on mobile, and information and communication technologies more generally, in developing countries.

The Betavine Social Exchange: A Marketplace for Mobile Apps for Social Change Needs Your Input

Posted by KatrinVerclas on May 04, 2009

Imagine you are an NGO (a non-governmental organization) in a developing country, working on a critical development issue -- say, developing an educational infrastructure for women and girls. You know that mobile technology can help you in this regard and you have a project in mind that you want to try out, involving the use of SMS content and mobile information services for rural teachers.  You think that there are tools and content out there for your particular needs - but you may have no idea how to access relevant expertise, mobile tools, or content. 

Enter Vodafone, one of the largest mobile telecommunications network companies in the world, operating in 25 countries with partner networks in another 42 countries.

Vodafone America Wireless Contest for Innovations for a Better World

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Nov 20, 2008

The Vodafone Americas Foundation has a new Wireless Innovation Challenge to promote innovation and increase implementation of advanced wireless related technology for a better world. The foundation is providing $600,000 in awards to support projects "of
exceptional promise." The Challenge is open to projects from universities and nonprofit organizations based in the United States.

Projects must demonstrate a multi-disciplinary approach that uses innovation in wireless related technology to address a critical global issue in one or more of the following areas: access to communication, education, economic development, environment, or health. The
technology should have the potential for replication and large scale impact. Teams should have a business plan or a basic framework for financial sustainability and rollout. Submissions deadline is February 2, 2009.

From Favelas to Townships: Mobile Use in Low-Income Populations

Posted by CorinneRamey on Jul 16, 2008

Mobile phone use is booming. There are close to 3.5 billion mobile phones in use, and mobile penetration rates are increasing quickly, especially in developing countries. This rise of mobile phone use by low-income and so-called 'base-of-the-pyramid' users raises a number of questions. Are low-income people using mobile technology in different ways than their higher-income counterparts? How can mobile phones be desiged and used in ways that are useful to these populations? Two new studies--one of favelas in Brazil and the other of a low-income township in South Africa--seek to answer these questions.

An article in Vodafone's Receiver magazine, "Cell phone use among low-income communities – an initial study of technology appropriation in the favelas of Brazil," looks at how low-income residents of Rio de Janiero's favelas (or slums) use mobile phones. The author, Adriana de Souza e Silva, conducted a study that involved interviews with the residents of three different favelas in Rio.