Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mobile Phone Data Capture

Madura is about to embark on a massive mobile phone enabled data capture exercise that will create some of the largest and most unique datasets in the world on the poor. We currently have about 160 locations that manage loan repayments through a mobile app that runs on a windows platform. We are now about to make an additional 500 of our field staff capable of capturing massive information through various mobile applications. The survey apps are being tested on these same windows phones that have worked well for us for our loan servicing needs. However, in this case, the apps are much more data intense. Consequently the phones have to work much harder, run longer, be able to withstand being dropped off the bus a couple times and have sufficient memory to store data given that network connectivity tends to be spotty. We are hoping for a 2 year life for the phones. Given the number of phones and platforms out there, choosing the right one appears to be no easy task. Anyone with experience with heavy usage of smart phones, please do tell me about it!


  1. That is exciting. Looking forward to the insights that come from collecting that data.

    I was watching a TED Talk today by
    Eleni Gabre-Madhin about creating a commodities market in Ethiopia. If you aren't aware of it, you might find it interesting.

  2. Do check out Nokia's NDG (Nokia Data Gathering tool). can be used to collect data in remote areas, and upload data when back in the wired zone. If interested, can link you up with the relevant folks.

  3. Nextel (and subsequently Nextel International) sells phones of a much higher set of standards. I think they are built to Motorola's Light Industrial standard (they were when I was a project manager at Motorola), which made them enormously robust.

    The downsides are:
    1. If you don't get Nextel International coverage in the areas you need it you are out of luck.
    2. Because the phones (and the network) are hardened, the service tends to be more expensive.

  4. we do have a mobile solution ready and can be rolled out immediately. Our solution supports, windows, symbian, android, brew, java, blackberry and iphone.