WhiteAfrican

Where Africa and Technology Collide!

Tag: challenge

Virtual City’s Mobile Distributor Solution Wins Nokia’s $1m

John Waibochi of Virtual City, from Kenya, won the Nokia $1,000,000 Growth Economy Venture Challenge here at Nokia World today. This is an investment of $1m in John’s business, so it comes with support and connections that only an organization of Nokia’s size can provide. The award was given out by Stephen Elop, Nokia’s new CEO, as the first action of his at Nokia – this sends a certain signal to all devs around the world.

I asked John to give a quick soundbite on what this solution is:

John Waibochi wins the Nokia $1m Challenge from WhiteAfrican on Vimeo.

Here’s more:

Virtual City Ltd, a home-grown Kenyan company, has developed a solution that aims at addressing systemic issues along the Supply Chain for distributors and retailers of Fast Moving Consumer Goods in emerging markets. The Mobile Distributor Solution is designed to contribute to improved efficiencies and value to all the stakeholders in the value chain and result in increased number of transactions, accurate records, improved Inventory management & reporting from the field and effective management decision making. The solution will also bring value to a large number of beneficiaries comprising of thousands of small and micro enterprises in the FMCG Market.

It’s a product that can be monetized due to high demand by both retailers and distributors in Kenya. This is a very solid company, with a solid proposal. Seeing the video (not available yet) of this working with one of Africa’s leading beverage company’s was impressive.

From a Nokia Challenge perspective, this provides a solution that will bring value to a large number of beneficiaries comprising thousands of small and micro enterprises in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) Market through the smart application of mobile business and cashless payment technologies.

The project will generate revenue for the partners Virtual City and Nokia, while increasing the income levels of the stakeholders in the supply chain by opening up increased product sales coupled with additional benefits of mobile payment capabilities, transaction fees revenue, loyalty programs benefits, etc all facilitated by inexpensive and affordable mobile phones.

The new found ability to transact via mobile phones and use cashless means to make payments for goods or services, has the potential of availing solutions that the over 6 million users of mobile payment solutions from the telecommunication players can access and utilize in their business dealings, the aim is to fully utilize the potential that a mobile phone has in adding value to the user.

Background on Nokia’s Growth Economy Venture Challenge

Launched at CES 2010 by Nokia CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Nokia’s Growth Economy Venture Challenge called on innovators from around the world to create a mobile product or service to improve the lives of people in developing nations and compete for the chance to win venture capital investment of $1 million.

Why is Nokia holding the Growth Economy Venture Challenge?

Nokia is a leader in enabling mobile technology to transform people’s lives for the better (through projects like Nokia Life Tools, etc.). Efforts like The Progress Project and the Nokia Growth Economy Venture Challenge endeavor to show the mobile community what is possible in order to focus the entrepreneurial spirit of innovators on accelerating transformation in these areas of the world. We see this Challenge as a win for Nokia, a win for the developer that is selected, and a win for their customers.

What are the criteria for selection of the finalists and eventual winner of the challenge?

  • The mobile product, application or service must undeniably enhance the standard of living or lifestyle of the target customer.
  • The target customer must be from a region of the world where the general daily per capita income is $5 USD or less.
  • The organization that receives the $1 million USD investment must have shown that it has the potential to be a vibrant and successful business that will be profitable for itself and its investors (as judged through normal venture investment vetting procedures).

Nokia’s $1 Million Growth Economy Venture Challenge

Your mission:
To build a product, which will be a profitable business, that improves the lives of people who live in a part of the world where they make less than $5/day. It can be hardware, software or services as long as it is related to mobility.

What application would you build to win a $1,000,000 investment from Nokia to do that?

Picking a Winner

If you’re just hearing about this contest, you’re already too late. Today I’m sitting in on the final judging panel to pick a winner from the 10 finalists who come from all over the world.

Since the challenge ended July 31, 2010, Nokia has received nearly 300 submissions from 54 countries, with a majority of them coming from India (47), followed by the United States (42), Kenya (14), the UK (11) and Egypt (9).

In no specific order, here are the finalists:

eVOTZ
www.eVOTZ.com
USA

Mobile devices have become the dashboard for people’s live, and eVOTZ allows their voices to be heard and counted in a whole new way. We believe mobile handsets offer profound social impact to improve eDemocracy with mobile apps for social good. Our eVOTZ platform incorporates SIM card security with location-based services that for the first time bring both TXT voting and mobile Web Smartphone solutions to South Africa and other emerging growth economies for trustworthy voting. Help us in our mission to ensure mobile voting is secure, convenient and trustworthy in South Africa and other emerging economies, worldwide.

IDIFIED
Black Tie Networx
www.btnetworx.com
USA

Could someone use their Nokia phone to avoid a roadside bomb or mine? As amazing as that may sound, it is possible and soon. IDFIED is an application being developed to identify buried explosives in the Developing World and areas of conflict. One benefit will be to quickly provide information to civilians, NGOs and emergency workers to avoid IEDs using GPS and proximity alerts. We think this will change the way people use their mobile phone and that Nokia can be a major contributor to its success.

Mobile Distributor Solution
Virtual City Ltd.
http://www.virtualcity.co.ke 
Kenya

Virtual City Ltd, a home-grown Kenyan company, has developed a solution that aims at addressing systemic issues along the Supply Chain for distributors and retailers of Fast Moving Consumer Goods in emerging markets. The Mobile Distributor Solution is designed to contribute to improved efficiencies and value to all the stakeholders in the value chain and result in increased number of transactions, accurate records, improved Inventory management & reporting from the field and effective management decision making. The solution will also bring value to a large number of beneficiaries comprising of thousands of small and micro enterprises in the FMCG Market.

FloCash Payment Network
Flocash Ltd 
www.flocash.com 
UK

FloCash is a mobile payment service that extends the bank to the unbanked in the form of a virtual bank based on the unique MoCharge mobile terminal. FloCash provides the unbanked masses of Africa the ability to make remittances, make bill payments and pay for product and services across a network of agents. The FloCash service is not a closed loop service. Its payment intermediary can be a Micro Finance Institution, a telco or a bank. Through provisioning of the FloCash smart card, anyone can sign up for the FloCash service, even those who do not own a mobile phone.

Mobile JobHunt
Shenzhen LEG 
www.leg3s.com
China 

“Mobile JobHunt”, targeting 300 million urban blue-collar workers and rural migrant workers in China, an under-served sector for a long time. It’s a set of employment information applications and services based on “Mobile Internet” and “Cloud Computing”. It covers recruitment, rights and interests, and training. Since late 2008, we have partnered with 200 phone makers and accumulated 15 million installation units, nearly 10 million active users and 1 million corporate customers. Revenue exceeded US$10M in FY2010 (ending June), with US$5M profit. With proprietary IP, “Mobile JobHunt” has no known direct competitors. We intend to go public in 1-2 years.

mmatcher – your mobile, your marketplace
mmatcher (R3 d.o.o.)
www.mmatcher.com
Slovenia

Mmatcher is a personalized mobile marketplace, which automatically in real time matches complementary interests. For example, mmatcher will match a cabbage seller with all potential buyers that are interested in his product. India is full of online marketplaces, but problem comes with accessibility to computers. Mmatcher resolves the problem and provides a solution to 640 million mobile users. We believe that mmatcher could be the missing element between Nokia life tools and Nokia money by providing buying and selling opportunity over the phone. Our vision is to reach 2.5 billion users in India, Pakistan, China and Indonesia in 3 years.

Bionic Power – The Portable Power Solution
Bionic Power Inc. 
http://www.bionic-power.com/ 
Canada

Wireless communication is not truly wireless as users are tethered to power grids to charge their mobile phone batteries. This is a particular problem for 1.6 billion people in developing countries without access to electricity. By generating electricity from everyday movements of individuals, the Bionic Energy Harvester provides a cost-effective and reliable solution to this power problem. Bionic Power’s technology is powerful, producing about half an hour of talk time from one minute of walking. Among other applications, it can be used to power things such as headlamps for harvesting crops at night, LED lights in homes, and laptop computers.

m-Employment platform using SMS
Cogilent Solutions 
www.BrightSpyre.com 
Pakistan

Low-income people without reliable access to Internet and technology do not enter into the job search through the modern tools. The solution is to bring complete functionality of a job portal on mobile by using SMS service. This m-Employment platform will connect more than 1 billion opportunity seekers (skilled, semi skilled workforce) in the South Asian and African countries with the opportunity providers (jobs, work). Short profiles built using SMS will connect opportunity seekers with all the opportunities advertised in their context. The opportunity providers will post work job opportunities and will be able to search and connect with the workforce matching their requirements. The platform will support local regional languages with strong spam and abuse control system.

Transclick for Globalization of m-commerce
Transclick 
www.transclick.com 
USA

Transclick is the leader in mobile digital translation of SMS, email and IM as well as Internet Browsing text translation at 400 words per sec. using customized microglossaries for higher accuracy than free online translation. Transclick’s API allows m-commerce and m-banking vendors to add Transclick into mobile commerce to enable those who make less than $5 per day to access English speaking buyers and communicate post-sale. The seller in Africa can create advertising of a product, translate and publish it automatically, using Transclick’s SMS translator and the price includes 10 cents per transaction paid by the m-banking vendor to Transclick.

Remote Diagnostics Kit
Vyas Labs
http://medical.vyaslabs.in
India

Vyas Labs Remote Diagnostics Kit (RDK) is a user-friendly remote medical diagnostic device that can work with mobile phones to allow medical specialists to attend to patients sitting thousands of miles away. It provided real-time ECG, non invasive blood pressure measurement, pulse oximetry monitoring, electronic stethoscope, body fat index, height, weight and pan-tilt camera, with total control with the remote doctor. The doctor can point to a specific location on the mobile screen and the nurse using the device sees the location and places instruments there.

The Award

Though we’ve voted today on the finalist, the winner won’t be announced until tomorrow at Nokia World. Someone is walking away with $1m to fund their project!

Nokia World 2010

At the Nokia World event in London. Keep up with it using the #NokiaWorld hashtag on Twitter and on their Nokia Blog.

“At Nokia, “connecting people” is more than a feelgood tagline.” Niklas Savander, Executive Vice President Markets, Nokia.

He goes on to talk about the fact that they’re the largest manufacturer hitting the largest number of people worldwide. Just as everyone has a different need, they have to create phones that offer different features, compromising on the device due to the customer needs.

Smartphones

“People bought far more Nokia smartphones than Apple and Android combined.” On average, people buy 260,000 Nokia smartphones daily. Despite all of these new competitors, Symbian is still the largest with just over 40% of the smartphone market.

Symbian 3 has been rewritten to be faster, easier to use and more developer friendly. “A transition from legacy to leading edge.” They plan to ship 50 million of these new Symbian 3 smartphones. Over 100 operators and distributors will be offering the N8 globally.

Another dig at Apple: “Our phones work day in, day out, no matter how you hold them.”

Maps

Nokia has invested a lot in Ovi Maps, having bought Navteq a couple years ago, and going on from there. NIklas claims that they have further reach and impact than Google Maps. It’s more accurate, has dedicated (correct) pedestrian routes. You also don’t need to be connected to the internet to use it, without a constant mobile connection. If you do need it connected, you’ll find it much less data hungry than Google Maps.

Nokia’s Ovi Maps is available in 78 countries and 46 languages.

By 2013 over 800 million people will be using GPS enabled devices. Soon, everything on the internet will have a location. This is huge and will transcend the user experience as we know it today. “It’s a space we intend to own.”

The Nokia N8

Anssi Vanjoki, EVP, General Manager of Mobile Solutions comes on stage.

“People are buying more than hardware and software when they buy a smartphone, and Nokia is the company that built this market.”

“A few critics have looked at the Nokia N8 and said that it looks like the “same old Symbian”. That’s like dismissing the experience of a new car because it has the same dashboard. You have to drive it to know the difference.”

A broader distribution base than any other platform. He’s talking to developers.

The Nokia N8 is an important milestone, because it’s the first to take the new Symbian OS to the next level. It’s got new hardware, and new software – a new user experience. He wants us all to give it a test drive, they’ve got plenty of them around the event to play with.

He talks about the N8’s 12mp camera, and shows us some examples. They are amazing. It has a mechanical shutter, so the images look great. It has the largest sensor used in any phone-like device.

No other smartphone on the market can give you such a high-level experience. Anssi then shows us a trailer for Tron, with a direct cable (HDMI) onto the big screen from the phone itself. It is amazing.

A lightening fast processor and a 3d graphics accelerator. Aluminum body. Glass OLED Screen, etc.

More new phones

Different people have different needs. A new family of Symbian devices.

Introduces the Nokia C6. Has an 8mp camera, built in Ovi Maps, location sharing is made easy. It also features something new, the ClearBlack Display (CBD), a premium touch screen with a great view. “The black screen is blacker than black, as the sensors take away reflection on the glass.”

The Nokia C7 is thinner, with a stainless steel body.

Social network support for Facebook and Twitter are built into the new C6 and C7. Since Nokia’s customers are global, they’re also supporting Renren in China, Orkut in Brazil – and other global mobile social networks. Both will start shipping in Q4 2010.

They’re looking to find the “most active Facebooker” among their 1.1m Facebook Fans. They’ll choose 5, and they’ll win a new Nokia C6 and C7 and 20 of their closest friends.

“The Nokia E7 is BIG.”, it takes over the space that the Nokia 9000 started in 1996. It’s an office on the go, supporting Microsoft’s suite of business software.

[Note: trying to find an image of the Nokia e7 to share with you, but their site gives me no responses for a search… crap. Bad marketing.]

Found one on Engadget:

Environmentally friendly: C7 uses biopaints, C6 uses recycled metal.

Nokia Developer Community

Purnima Kochikar, VP Forum Nokia and Developer Communities

1.3 billion Nokia people. She crisscrossed the world to talk to developers (she didn’t go to Africa though).

2+ million developers globally.

Simplified developer interaction and made it easier to distribute applications. “You have an improved ability to write apps that mean the most to 1.3 billion Nokia users that use payment methods that serve them best.”

We believe that success isn’t measure just in Dollars, Euros or Pounds, but also in the lives of people. We see this impact everyday in the apps that you have built. Our goal is to help increase the health, wealth and lives of our users, and bring them joy. Uses the example of Proxil for checking if drugs are legitimate.

Think globally and act locally. This isn’t a race to the next million apps. It’s about getting relevant apps to everyone around the world.

Have created a way to reach consumers via demographics, not just geographic location. For instance, have found a great desire of Indian apps in Canada.

Last year alone Nokia shipped 364 million phones with Java (s40) on them. There is a real hunger for great apps on these devices, and people are absolutely willing to pay for them.

Ex: VuClip allows you to watch videos on your mobile phone. The founder thought it would sell best on smartphones in the West. He was pleasantly surprised to find that most of his users come from the emerging markets.

“Touch and Type” SDK for s40 is available on ForumNokia.com.

The Ovi Store

175 million devices available to be sold to.
45 million touch devices
50 million potential new users with the new Symbian 3 OS phones. (C6, C7, E7, N8 models)

There are 2 simple ways to build for Nokia: native Qt SDK and the Symbian Web Runtime (web SDK).

The new standard compliant Nokia Browser. It has been updated for touch, improving consumer interaction, especially for people who will use the mobile as their primary internet device.

Available in 190 countries
Supports 120+ Nokia devices
Credit card and operator billing (choose operator billing 2/3 times… that’s huge.)

Fizwoz as an example has 167 country reach due to the Ovi Store.

App distribution cost reduced on Ovi Store – application signing is free for Java and Symbian.

They have 150 people in Forum Nokia to support developers, with someone on every continent, including someone in South Africa (do they help the rest of Africa or only South Africa?).

Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio, leader in mobile games. Creator of “Angry Birds” (which I and my daughters love) and has sold over 7 million copies and the free version has been downloaded 11 million times. A new bird, the “Mighty Eagle”, is released to let you not get frustrated with a level – an in-app purchase for $1.99. (awesome new video)

The Ovi Store’s in-app purchase option let’s them maintain the immersive gameplay experience.

Vodafone

Vittorio Colao, Chief Executive Vodafone Group, comes on stage. “I personally believe that data is a great opportunity.”

Vittorio talks about his recent holiday in Greece, and how they interact with their mobile devices now as compared to years ago. They’re emailing, hiring cars, booking restaurants, mapping beaches, reading news on tablets, watching video news, getting wind forecasts by the hour, etc… They’re using data seamlessly.

Life is changing in an incredible way amongst the masses. Real life.

Here’s just 1 month from Vodafone Group usage of data:

  • 1/3 browse
  • 25% play games
  • 20% Email
  • 15% social networking
  • 11% maps
  • 30% business
  • Video and music fastest growing.

All people, rich or poor, north to south, will have their interactions done on the mobile. We need 5 things now to make things work better:

1. Network speeds and quality of service – the expectation, in terms of quality, is quickly rising. Pervasiveness, speed, accessibility, distribution and care. Vodafone has never cut investment in this area. The operator can provide two things: privacy and security. Data pricing and data caps have to change, he wants different levels of service.

2. Devices and operating systems – low-end smartphones, PCs, emerging market smartphones.

3. Content and services – Thinks social networking will double. Navigation will increase by 90%. Streaming music and video are already the largest of Vodafone Groups work.

“In reality, the network’s main job is not voice anymore, it’s handling our customer’s entertainment.”

A couple recommendations for devs: 1) tailor your apps to individual users – they have loads of customer information that can be tapped as an operator. 2) Operator billing is quick, intuitive and much easier to manage and will grow your usage of paid apps.

4. Customers affordability – pricing is becoming more important than features in the new segment of adopters of smartphones (emerging markets).

5. Ecosystem profitability – There has to be the right return for all the players. Pricing should be adjusted to reflect usage and load on the system. We’re reaching the end of the “free” time, otherwise we’ll have a free bad experience. Segmentation must drive the right device to the right demographics at the right time. There must be enough margin for developers to have a strong incentive to create locally relevant experiences for customers.

Nokia World in a Time of Flux

I’m at Nokia World this week in London as part of the final judging panel for the $1m Growth Economy Venture Challenge. I’ve been reading and reviewing dozens of entries from all over the world, and I’m excited to see the finalists in action as they do their presentations tomorrow.

Nokia in Flux

There are a lot of things going on within the world of Nokia right now. The Monday Note has a great overview of the big challenges facing Nokia right now, not least their incoming Canadian CEO, Stephen Elop, and the effect that it is having internally on other high level executives.

A couple months ago I gave a talk on “Innovating Africa“to some of the Nokia executives in Nairobi, they largely dealt with Africa, as well as specific products and operating systems. Most of my suggestions were directly from passionate customers of theirs from all over Africa. The Nokia brand is still very strong in Africa, the game is still on here. However, Nokia needs to be careful that they don’t lose this advantage by faster moving, cheap Chinese manufacturers and the better software and UI found on the Android/iPhone smartphones.

Developers, Money and Nokia in Africa

Smartphone growth and marketshare is getting more and more aligned with the types of apps that are available for people to use. If the apps, utilities and games that they want aren’t present, then they’re more likely to move somewhere else. In Africa, where unlimited, high-speed bandwidth isn’t the norm, the mobile web as an option isn’t quite reality yet. It’s a different paradigm than in the West.

This means that you need third-party developers interested in building apps on your operating system. While almost all operating systems have a store for apps now, including Ovi, iPhone, Android, Bada and others, there is a glaring hole in Africa:

You can’t get paid…

So, here’s a hint for Nokia, taken from the talk months ago: make it easy for developers to make money, even in Africa. Figure out a way that people get paid and can bill via your server-side offerings like Ovi.

Smartphones

Africans are aspirational; they might not be able to afford the Mercedes Benz, but everyone is working their way towards buying one. The same holds true for smartphones, though the vast majority cannot afford a high-powered iPhone, the latest $600 Android phone or the Nokia N8, they look to who the leader is in the space. He who controls the mindshare of the smartphone space, holds the mindshare of the mobile brand as a whole.

Nokia N8

I’m looking forward to testing out, I’m sure it will have excellent hardware as all Nokia devices tend to be well engineered. However, I’ve yet to find a Nokia with good software or UI, and since it’s running the brand new Symbian 3 OS, it will likely be laden with bugs as all first-time OS are prone to have. (Engadget and CNet reviews)

© 2019 WhiteAfrican

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑