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FrontlineSMS at Opentech, September 2010
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FrontlineSMS at Opentech, September 2010

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A presentation about FrontlineSMS and how not all technology works everywhere, for all people...

A presentation about FrontlineSMS and how not all technology works everywhere, for all people...

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  • At the end of 2008 there were 76.8 million active mobile subscriptions in the UK, or 1.26 for every inhabitant.









  • Important not to stifle creativity - to let users decide what they need, not direct but ask what they want to do. Journalists can use SMS in useful ways - but cultural barriers - and need to reinvent the model. Primary tools for reporters are data collection; think about how it can be used; tip lines?

    Maybe the new way to do journalism with SMS we can't even think of yet. So don't go in saying 'here's' how you use this'.

    SMS investigative work - crowdousrcing info gathering e.g. traffic patterns - same time same day 40 ppl.

    Mapping using forms - investigative reporting

    Reporters to communicate with one another which doesn't happen enough
    Maintaining contact in insecure environments
  • FrontlineSMS turns a laptop and mobile phone – or GSM modem/GSM data card – into a two-way group messaging hub. Because there’s no need for the internet, it can work in many places.

  • Because it’s a two-way system, FrontlineSMS can be used to send information – health, security alerts, job information or vacancies, market prices, etc – and receive information back from radio listeners, or election/human rights monitors, or through surveys/questionnaires or competitions, etc.







  • Media-specific plugin for FrontlineSMS:
    New plugin:
    - live poll recording and data visualization - not just texting in but being able to use the data.
    - IVR and voice to text services,
    - missed-call voting services,
    - auto-queuing and categorization of contributors' numbers based on topic,
    - natural language processing technology capable of interpreting misspellings and other quirks of SMS-based responses
    - mobile payments, for example, to allow, for example, SMS-based donations or micropayments for song and programming requests, or for reading out letters and texts on the air (already happens)

    Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS): FrontlineSMS has built basic MMS processing services into our core platform, allowing remote users to contribute photos, audio recordings and video to FrontlineSMS hubs directly from their phone.
    phone-to-phone MMS, so that radio hosts could forward photos directly to the phones of interested listeners during a broadcast, as well as Web based aggregation of MMS content, which would enable that rich content to reach a far larger audience.

    'Radio Station in a Box': FrontlineSMS would help develop a comprehensive toolkit that could be delivered to new or existing radio station staff, including FrontlineSMS and associated plugins, compatible modems and other hardware, user guides, programming information and ideas on how to ingrate listener feedback and interaction. This information could be sector-specific, with separate user guides for conservation, agriculture, health, etc.

    Stations themselves are massive lynchpins of information - listener clubs - listen as a group at particular times, discuss, raise money and do community event based on the programme they've heard. FrontlineSMS to better communicate with villages and other groups.

    Reminders to listen to a particular programme instead of marketing

    User group for all the maize farmers to discuss what works. Takes Radio from vertical to horizontal. Also Radio can then feed back up - if radio note particular infestation, they can get govt to help.

    Pennies - person writes a letter and it's read on the air. Could work with FrontlineSMS too.

    Chinese transmitters are falling.

    Important not to stifle creativity - to let users decide what they need, not direct but ask what they want to do. Journalists can use SMS in useful ways - but cultural barriers - and need to reinvent the model. Primary tools for reporters are data collection; think about how it can be used; tip lines?

    Maybe the new way to do journalism with SMS we can't even think of yet. So don't go in saying 'here's' how you use this'.

    SMS investigative work - crowdousrcing info gathering e.g. traffic patterns - same time same day 40 ppl.

    Mapping using forms - investigative reporting

    Reporters to communicate with one another which doesn't happen enough
    Maintaining contact in insecure environments






  • Who is your audience? How well do you understand how the group you work with use mobile, and SMS in particular? Young mums, teenagers, and people with learning disabilities are all groups I’ve heard about recently as enthusiastic ‘texters’ and great candidates for SMS communications – but could you say the same for most older people?
    How can your SMS communication with them have a real impact? Can it form part of a wider campaign with an established ‘ask’ such as signing a petition, which could be easily done with a keyword reply to a broadcast SMS from you?
    Who can you reach with SMS that you can’t reach through other means, and what would you most like to get from an interaction with those people?
    Whatever you want to achieve, it’s important to think through whether it will work well with SMS. For example, it’s hard to disseminate large volumes of information in a text; similarly referring people to a website using SMS won’t work well unless they have a smart-phone with a good data service. But SMS is great for reminders (that your radio programme is coming on, or that they have an appointment), passing on helpline phone numbers, or doing a straw poll – ‘have you experienced bullying at school today?’







  • Transcript

    • 1. Britain’s digital divide ‘Four million of those who are offline are society's most disadvantaged: 39% are over 65. 38% are unemployed - 19% are adults in families with children.’
    • 2. entrepreneurship
    • 3. innovation
    • 4. FrontlineSMS can • Auto-reply to SMS, auto-subscribe, forward SMS to email, or trigger another external command • FrontlineForms allows you to create simple forms for data sending from Java-enabled phones • MMS
    • 5. FAO: FISH MARKETING INFORMATION SYSTEM
    • 6. FAO: FISH MARKETING INFORMATION SYSTEM
    • 7. FAO: FISH MARKETING INFORMATION SYSTEM
    • 8. FAO: FISH MARKETING INFORMATION SYSTEM
    • 9. CELAC: AGRICULTURAL ADVICE MARCH 2010 1ST Harvest passion fruits before shriveling and drying or pick when they fall on the ground. 8TH To control sorghum anthracnose, add 85 gms of cut garlic to 50 ml of vegetable oil, and keep for 24 hours. Add about 2 litres of water and stir. Dilute 1 part of the mixture with 9 parts of water and spray on the crops. 15TH To control sorghum downy mildew, mix 2 garlic bulbs, match-box size piece of soap into 4 mugs (0.5litres) of water and leave the mixture for 24 hours. Strain and dilute 1 part of the solution with 9 parts of water to spray infected plants. 22ND Downy mildew is a disease caused by fungi. Leaves develop pale yellow, brown patches on the top. Fungal growth maybe seen when plants are wet. To prevent, use disease-free types, crop-rotate and avoid irrigating leaf tops. 29TH Soybean maggots are pale yellowish-white seed corn pests that dig into seeds already in the soil. To prevent, plant seeds 5-7.5 cm deep in a well-prepared seed-bed. Plant at the onset of rains for quick
    • 10. FOLESHILLFIELDS VISION PROJECT Coventry,
    • 11. SURVIVORS CONNECT
    • 12. First Describe your needs Faster, better, more, cheaper
    • 13. Second Think about available infrastructure and What people already use
    • 14. Third Choose a technology e.g. SMS, voice, GPRS, 3G, iPads, radio, PDAs, USB sticks, horns
    • 15. Last Choose a tool!
    • 16. @FrontlineSMS FrontlineSMS.com @laurawhudson