You are probably already aware that our next Net Tuesday (June 2, starting at 6:00 PM at Buffalo Billiards, 118 Chestnut Street) is going to be about Mobile Technology and Social Change. This was the theme of the fourth annual NetSquared conference (N2Y4) that Ivan and Seth just attended in San Jose. The centerpiece of the conference was a “challenge”, in which 14 new, innovative projects competed for prize money up to $25,000.
We were blown away by some of the projects we saw, and want to share on Tuesday evening. Some highlights:
- First prize winner FrontlineSMS:Medic is saving lives in Africa with cell phones that rural health workers can use to access medical records and expertise, and (this is amazing) re-purposing the cell phone’s camera to perform breakthrough in-field diagnoses for malaria and other diseases. We’re planning to have the Clinical Programs Director participate in our meeting via videoconference to discuss it.
- Second prize winners, the Extraordinaries, are developing a way for people to use their cell phones during “spare minutes” (like, on the bus) for a growing array of “micro-volunteer” projects, like tagging photos for the Library of Congress or translating subtitles for short videos.
- Third place winner VoxMob – Mobile Voices / Voces Moviles is testing its project with immigrant workers in L.A. It empowers these people to express themselves in words, sounds and pictures to tell their stories and document abuses.
- SeeClickFix is working on a project to enable regular people to take and upload a picture of a non-emergency problem they see (e.g., a pothole or drug deal), and then automatically map it and generate notices to pressure local agencies, politicians and others to address the problem. The mapping aspect of SeeClickFix is being prototyped on Philly.com.
- The Mobile Giving Foundation enables non-profits to set up campaigns in which people can contribute small donations (e.g., $5 or $10) via their cell phones and charged on their phone bills (in which 100% of the contribution is passed through to the non-profit).
We also want to hear about your experiences or ideas about mobile tech and social change. In addition to illustrating these various initiatives, we’ll have a chance for folks to delve into the technology and/or how we can apply these capabilities to our causes here in Philly.
We’re at the very early stages of what promises to be a profoundly powerful movement to use these small and ubiquitous devices to advance social causes. Come discover and discuss what’s happening now, and get a glimpse into the future.
We’ll start gathering at 6:00 PM and begin the program at 6:30 (and we have the room until as late as 9:00). RSVP’s via the Meetup page are appreciated, but not necessary. Feel free to come and bring a friend.