Ushahidi at COOP 2.0

COOP 2.O is a meeting of representatives from organizations using ICT around the world. The theme of the conference was Innovation on ICT for Development Cooperation. You can watch the lectures on coop2.0′s you tube page (some of the talks are in Spanish)

I presented on tuesday evening; provided a brief history of the Ushahidi project, its current activities and future plans including our impending Beta release. There was a lot of interest from NGOs in Spain who are looking into crowd-sourcing platforms for their work. This re-emphasized the importance of continuing Ushahidi’s efforts in localization of the software.

February 12th Roundtable: Innovative uses of mobile phones for development.

Roundtable

Ignacio, Merryl Ford- Meraka Institute, Kentaro Kotayama of Microsoft, Oleg Petrov of The World Bank, Stephane Boyera of W3C and Jan Blom of Nokia.

Merryl Ford of Meraka Institute touched on her work researching the use of mobile phones in South Africa, the technological landscape and the future of app development in Africa. She mentioned a project called Audio wikipedia, whereby a child can send SMS to a specified number with a key word, the child would then receive a call from a speech synthesizer that would read the wikipedia entry for them. People who have not had previous experience using the internet are able to contribute to information by calling the same service and providing additional information that is saved on the server/wikipedia entry as an audio file. To see more examples of the research happening at Meraka, please see their wireless Africa wiki and their website.

There was a lively discussion about development and what Kentaro Kotayama calls ‘mobile hype’. The consensus was that ICT solutions need to complement development goals. The development goals come first, and the tools come next.

information is not education; medication is not healthcare – Kentaro Kotayama

Jan Blom of Nokia Research Center India gave an update on Nokia’s efforts in R&D, with its centers in Nairobi, India and around the world. Nokia has released tools that NGOs are using for gathering health data. One of these tools is the Nokia Data Gathering application which works with E71 GPS capability. He also mentioned an interesting project called ‘comfort zones’ where you can tag, aggregate and rate your environment as to how ‘comfortable’ or ‘uncomfortable’ it feels as you go about your daily life. This is ongoing research (you heard it here first!), if you are interested in this technology and other research center work please see this site.

The session is ending now with feedback from participants, more information on COOP2.0 is available on the COOP2.0 site. Coverage by the ICT4D.at team can be found on their blog, and ICTology does in-depth live blog of sessions and roundtables.

*Ushahidi thanks Brendan Doyle and fundacion CTIC Spain for including Ushahidi in its meeting.

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