It is always exciting to see innovative uses of mobile phones solving real-life problems. In Zimbabwe since 2009 the adoption of the mixed hard currencies monetary regime the one problem that has refused to go away is that of change. Retailers, small business owners, street vendors, bus operators and many others are struggling to keep up with the demand of change.
Many consumers would have to buy extra goods to get a rounded amount to solve the change dilemma. However, this problem has been addressed by a local mobile phone airtime business, Yo Time, that launched a product allowing consumers to redeem their change for mobile phone airtime. This is definitely innovative and presents a real solution to the problem many Zimbabweans face daily.
Today marked a day full of celebrations as two of the RLabs Social Services broke the 100,000 users barrier. The services Drug Advice Support (DAS) and Angel was started in 2008 to address the problem of drug addiction in the Western Cape. The project started with 10 learners who subscribed to the DAS service before it exploded later in 2008 (See video of first mobile chat counsellors above). Towards the end of 2008 in partnership with MXit a new service called Angel was launched to provide 24 hour access to information addressing Drug Addiction issues.
DAS is a mobile counselling service that provide users an opportunity to access services from trained counsellors via their cell phones using the JamiiX platform. Today the RLabs counselling hub manages over 200 conversations per hour and already achieved over 750,000 conversations over the last two years.
Angel is the information Service that runs 24 hours a day providing users access to relevant info in the area of drug addiction, abuse, depression and stress. Today Angel receive over 200,000 views per week via MXit indicating the relevance and need of such services. Angel is also available as a mobi site for users who do not have access to the MXit platform.
However, since 2008 these services have supported users accross South Africa and beyond. This great milestone is all due to the hard work of all at RLabs and the Community Organisation Impact Direct supported by MXit, JamiiX and ISLabs. Special thanks to all the mobile counsellors and the above organisations for plowing back into the communities of South Africa as we using technology to bring about Social Change.
One of the first innovations part of the RLabs family is JamiiX that will be launched in London today. JamiiX is a platform that allows you to manage multiple conversations via Instant Messengers and Social Networks. Below is an extract from the JamiiX Blog about the event in London (See Image for venue of event):
After an exciting week introducing JamiiX at the Mobile Web Africa event in Johannesburg and the Mobile Africa Brain Bank in Helsinki we a few hours away of the launch of JamiiX in the United Kingdom. The launch in London is part of the JamiiX World Tour that started 3 months ago in Cape Town and it is with great excitement for us to see a local innovation from the Cape Flats now having the opportunity to enter the World Stage.
The event will be hosted at the OASIS Centre in London by our UK partners Nimbus Consulting and will give our guests the opportunity to have a sneak peek at the current version of JamiiX.
Today Google launched their latest innovation to push boundaries of Search with their Google Instant. Google Instant is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type in real time. Have a look at an RLabs screenshot having Google Instant activated (Image above). Google indicated that they are pushing the limits of their technology and infrastructure to help improve search results, faster. The key technical insight was “that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page. This means that you can scan a results page while you type.” For more information about Google Instant you can watch the video or visit them online.
Some of the benefits of Google Instant are:
Faster Searches: By predicting your search and showing results before you finish typing, Google Instant can save 2-5 seconds per search.
Smarter Predictions: Even when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, predictions help guide your search. The top prediction is shown in grey text directly in the search box, so you can stop typing as soon as you see what you need.
Instant Results: Start typing and results appear right before your eyes. Until now, you had to type a full search term, hit return, and hope for the right results. Now results appear instantly as you type, helping you see where you’re headed, every step of the way.
With all this pushing of boundaries by the Google Family I wonder how this will be translated to the developed world where resources to access of information is limited and such innovations could just prove to be what is needed to reconstruct a community in tension.
With the excitement building for the JamiiX launch it is definitely going to be one of the most interesting 48 hours we’ve had for a while. The JamiiX team are working hard and many thanks to all at RLabs for the support. It is not always easy being the “New Kid on the block” but this is definitely an opportunity that will change innovation processes in Emerging Communities.