Dumphonia: Why it is Smart to Embrace Feature Phones, SMS and the Like

Jessica Colaço is one of the top woman in Kenya’s business scene and manager at iHub, Kenya.  At NEXT11 she talked about the mobile revolution in Kenya within the last decade.

Therefore, we have to know that by 2000 the first telecom operators pushed into the Kenyan market and that by 2005 there were already common base stations everywhere through Kenya.
Today, for most of the Kenyans their simple mobile phone (no smartphone!)  is the only device for computing.

To show, how those simple mobile phones improve the social as well as the business life in Kenya, Colaço brought some interesting cases to the NEXT11 attendees:

There is for one thing Ushaidi, a mobile web interface which collects and publishes crisis information online which can be send via SMS. Like that Ushaidi provides the people with information from the basic where the media is often not transparent and objective enough.

Another example is M-Farm: By sending a SMS to them, the Kenyan farmers get the retail price of their goods which avoids dumping when it comes to selling their goods.

Due to non-profit mPedigree the mobile phone is used in the health sector, too. Regarding that about 30% of drugs in developing nations are fakes, there is great need. To get security, people from India and East Asia only need to send a SMS with a short code implemented on each drug to mPedigree, which can then by verified by their electronic resource system.

To extend the possibilities for the use of mobile phones herself, Jessica Colaço organises events like the “Mobile Boot Camp, Kenya” with crash courses on mobile apps and a competition which provides the winner with money, soft- and hardware.