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April 16 2012

22:14

Vodafone Americas Foundation Announces 2012 Wireless Innovation Project Winners

Three Groundbreaking Mobile Innovations Target Critical Issues in Agriculture, Healthcare and Developing Economies

The Vodafone Americas Foundation and mHealth Alliance are pleased to announce the 2012 winners of the Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project™ and the mHealth Alliance Award, a competition designed to spark innovation and help solve pressing global issues. The winning projects include Wireless Bug Sensor, a wireless sensor that helps farmers “spy” on insects; OScan, an inexpensive and easy-to-use tool for screening oral cancer; and InSight, a simple credit building tool for entrepreneurs in developing countries. Each of these projects leverage the ever-increasing accessibility to wireless technology to solve prevalent social problems. Collectively, the projects will be awarded $650,000 in cash and prizes to further develop their projects for implementation and adoption. The winners will accept their awards at the Global Philanthropy Forum in Washington D.C. on April 17, 2012.

"It’s incredibly energizing to be able recognize these innovative solutions for social good," said June Sugiyama, Director of Vodafone Americas Foundation™. "This is our fourth year of this competition and we continue to identify unique and impactful solutions.”

Introducing the 2012 Wireless Innovation Project Winners:

1st Place, winner of $300,000 – Wireless Bug Sensor, University of California, Riverside
A largely unrecognized barrier that farmers face to crop production is insect infestation, which is particularly difficult for farmers in developing countries due to high costs and limited access to pesticides. The Wireless Bug-Sensor team at UC Riverside in collaboration with ISCA Technologies has created a technology that senses the location, type, and number of harmful insects in the field, alerting the farmer about the type of intervention needed with a once-a-day text message. Inspired by the lasers used in spy movies to listen in on conversations, this wireless technology drastically reduces the costs typically spent by farmers on untargeted, blanket pesticide spraying. Ultimately, this will increase profits for farmers as well as alleviate hunger worldwide. www.cs.ucr.edu/~eamonn/CE/
www.iscatech.com/exec/wire...sensor.htm

2nd Place, winner of $200,000, and mHealth Alliance winner of $50,000 in strategic and networking support – OScan, Stanford University
70% of the world's tobacco consumption comes from developing countries and is sharply rising, leading to a large number of deadly diseases, including oral cancer. Early detection and treatment of these diseases can dramatically improve survival rates. The OScan team at Stanford University has developed an affordable screening tool that brings standardized, multi-modal imaging of the oral cavity into the hands of rural health workers around the world, allowing individuals to easily and effectively screen for oral cancer. This inexpensive device mounts on a conventional camera phone and allows for data to be instantly transmitted to dentists and oral surgeons. OScan aims to provide a means to empower health workers to connect early stage patients to health care providers and teach communities about the importance of oral hygiene. stanford.edu/~manup/Oscan

3rd Place, winner of $100,000 – InSight, InVenture
In many developing countries small business entrepreneurs are unable to grow their businesses and take advantage of financial services simply due to the fact that they are perceived to be risky. With InSight, an SMS-based money management tool, these entrepreneurs can track their finances in their native language, increasing their financial literacy and more efficiently running their businesses. More importantly, InSight serves as a global credit rating platform for small business owners. By creating access to credit reporting opportunities for these individuals, InSight will help to lower interest rates, mitigate risk, and increase profits. This is a vital tool that will lift entrepreneurs and other individuals in developing countries out of poverty. www.inventure.org/using/lea...ut-insight

“The Vodafone Americas Foundation partnership with the mHealth Alliance is exceptionally powerful in that it allows us to propel ideas for wireless technology into action,” said Patty Mechael, Executive Director of the mHealth Alliance. “The field of mHealth is constantly growing, and now more than ever it is essential for us to support innovations that will enable us to overcome development challenges and have a meaningful impact on people’s lives. This kind of competition inspires entrepreneurs and innovators to explore unchartered territory, enabling the realization of visionary ideas that improve communities throughout the world.”

Open to nonprofit organizations, universities, and NGOs (Non-governmental Organizations) each year, the Wireless Innovation Project selects three winners and helps stimulate the projects through the next stages of development, such as prototyping and scaling. Since the Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project was launched in 2009, nine winners have been awarded more than $1.8 million in cash and additional benefits. Vodafone provides invaluable support for the winning projects by integrating the teams with the foundation’s vast network of social entrepreneurs, NGO’s and international agencies.

ABOUT the Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project™
Vodafone Americas Foundation™ launched the Wireless Innovation Project™ in 2009 to make a global impact through innovative wireless solutions. Applicants compete for first, second and third-place prizes worth $300,000, $200,000 and $100,000. The mHealth Alliance Award winner will receive an additional prize package worth $50,000, which includes strategic and networking support from the mHealth Alliance, an organization dedicated to enabling the use of mobile technologies to improve health throughout the world.
A panel of esteemed judges from the fields of wireless engineering, international development, social entrepreneurship, and business evaluate the applications for their potential to address issues in the fields of education, health, access to communication, the environment, and economic development.
Further details about the competition and winning projects can be found at project.vodafone-us.com. More information about the mHealth Alliance and its work can be found at www.mhealthalliance.org.

ABOUT the Vodafone Americas Foundation™
Vodafone Americas Foundation™ is part of Vodafone’s global network of foundations. It is affiliated with Vodafone Group Plc, the world's leading mobile telecommunications company, with ownership interests in more than 30 countries and Partner Markets in more than 40 countries. As of March 31, 2011, Vodafone had approximately 370 million proportionate customers worldwide. In the U.S., the foundation directs its philanthropic activities towards wireless technology projects in order to make a positive and enduring impact on the community. The Foundation is driven by a passion for the world around us. It makes grants that help people in the community and around the world lead fuller lives.

ABOUT the mHealth Alliance
The mHealth Alliance champions the use of mobile technologies to improve health throughout the world. Working with diverse partners to integrate mHealth into multiple sectors, the Alliance serves as a convener for the mHealth community to overcome common challenges by sharing tools, knowledge, experience, and lessons learned. The mHealth Alliance advocates for more and better quality research and evaluation to advance the evidence base; seeks to build capacity among health and industry decision-makers, managers, and practitioners; promotes sustainable business models; and supports systems integration by advocating for standardization and interoperability of mHealth platforms. The mHealth Alliance also hosts HUB (Health Unbound), a global online community for resource sharing and collaborative solution generation. Hosted by the United Nations Foundation, and founded by the Rockefeller Foundation, Vodafone Foundation, and UN Foundation, the Alliance now also includes HP, the GSM Association, and Norad among its founding partners. For more information, visit www.mhealthalliance.org.

December 06 2011

22:50

Last Call for Entries for the 2012 Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project & mHealth Alliance Award

December 31 Deadline Rapidly Approaching for Competition with $650,000 in Cash and Prizes for Wireless and mHealth Solutions



The Vodafone Americas Foundation and mHealth Alliance announced the last call for submissions for the annual Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project™ and the mHealth Alliance Award, a competition designed to spark innovation and help solve pressing global issues. Proposals will be accepted through December 31.



"So far, we’ve received very unique and exciting solutions, and we’re encouraged by the caliber of the applicants who have submitted proposals," said June Sugiyama, Director of the Vodafone Americas Foundation. "This is the next generation of wireless innovation that can make a critical impact for problems facing millions of people around the globe.”



The Vodafone Americas Foundation™ launches the Wireless Innovation Project™ annually with a partnership with the mHealth Alliance. There is over $650,000 worth of prizes for solutions in the fields of education, health, access to communication, economic development, and the environment. Winners will acquire vast recognition as the frontrunners of a national competition. The partnership with the Vodafone Americas Foundation will last for three years following the presentation of the award.



Projects should be global in scope and must be at a stage of research where an advanced prototype or field/market test can occur during the award period. Proposals are due December 31, 2011, and winners will be announced at the Global Philanthropy Forum in April 2012. 



If you or someone you know is interested in applying, you can begin the application process at http://project.vodafone-us.com/application/questionnaire.php. Details about eligibility, the application, information on past winners and more can be found at project.vodafone-us.com. More information about the mHealth Alliance and its work can be found at mhealthalliance.org.




ABOUT the Vodafone Americas Foundation™
Vodafone Americas Foundation™ is part of Vodafone’s global network of foundations. It is affiliated with Vodafone Group Plc, the world's leading mobile telecommunications company, with ownership interests in more than 30 countries and Partner Markets in more than 40 countries. As of March 31, 2011, Vodafone had approximately 370 million proportionate customers worldwide. In the U.S., the foundation directs its philanthropic activities towards the San Francisco Bay and the Metro Denver Areas where most Vodafone employees live and work, and where it strives to make a positive and enduring impact on the community. The Foundation is driven by a passion for the world around us. It makes grants that help people in the community and around the world lead fuller lives.
 


ABOUT the mHealth Alliance
The mHealth Alliance champions the use of mobile technologies to improve health throughout the world. Working with diverse partners to integrate mHealth into multiple sectors, the Alliance serves as a convener for the mHealth community to overcome common challenges by sharing tools, knowledge, experience, and lessons learned. The mHealth Alliance advocates for more and better quality research and evaluation to advance the evidence base; seeks to build capacity among health and industry decision-makers, managers, and practitioners; promotes sustainable business models; and supports systems integration by advocating for standardization and interoperability of mHealth platforms. The mHealth Alliance also hosts HUB (Health Unbound), a global online community for resource sharing and collaborative solution generation. Hosted by the United Nations Foundation, and founded by the Rockefeller Foundation, Vodafone Foundation, and UN Foundation, the Alliance now also includes PEPFAR, HP, the GSM Association, and NORAD among its founding partners. For more information, visit www.mhealthalliance.org.

April 12 2011

22:20

Three Pioneering Projects Win Coveted 2011 Vodafone and Mhealth Alliance Wireless Innovation Awards

Three Pioneering Projects Win Coveted

Vodafone And Mhealth Alliance Wireless Innovation Awards

 

$650,000 Competition Recognizes Projects with Most Potential to Solve Critical Global Challenges

 

The Vodafone Americas Foundation and mHealth Alliance today announced the winners of the third annual Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project™ and second annual mHealth Alliance Award. The winning projects include a device to diagnose eye disorders, a wireless system that identifies high-risk pregnancies, and a solar-powered apparatus to monitor patients’ medication and relay the information to their local health workers.  The projects will be awarded $650,000 in cash and prizes to further develop their projects for implementation and adoption. Team members from the winning projects will accept their awards together at the Global Philanthropy Forum conference in Redwood City, CA on April 14, 2011.

 

The 2011 Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project™ and the mHealth Alliance Award winners are:

 

First Place Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project™:

NETRA ($300,000)

From the MIT Media Lab, NETRA is an inexpensive mobile visual testing tool, which is a clip-on eyepiece for mobile phones that can instantly screen for eye conditions and transmit data to an optometrist, allowing for early treatment of common refractive eye disorders and cataracts. The device exploits emerging high-resolution screens of mobile devices and a software that analyzes the patient interaction. It will lead the way to addressing the most common, treatable visual impairments that, because of a lack of access to technology, disable more than half a billion people worldwide. (More at http://eyenetra.com

 

Second Place Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project™ and

Additional mHealth Alliance Award Winner:

Smart Diaphragm ($200,000 plus $50,000 in mHealth Alliance Award benefits)

From University of California, San Francisco, the Smart Diaphragm is a wireless monitoring and early warning system for high-risk pregnancies that can be cheaply and easily administered by a patient. Around the world, one in ten babies are born prematurely – leading to death and lifelong disabilities, however, pre-term labor is often preventable or can be delayed with early detection and treatment. The Smart Diaphragm detects decreasing levels of collagen in the cervix – an indicator of impending pre-term labor – with results transmitted to a cloud database monitored by physicians.

 

In addition to the Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project™ prize, as the winner of the mHealth Alliance Award, Smart Diaphragm also will receive prizes worth $50,000, including strategic and networking assistance from the mHealth Alliance. 

 

Third Place Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project™:

CoolComply ($100,000)

This inter-disciplinary collaboration involves the Massachusetts General Hospital, Innovations in International Health at MIT, and an international NGO, the Global Health Committee. CoolComply is a solar-powered wireless detection system that monitors the doses and the temperature of the medication, relaying readings via wireless to the local healthcare workers to track treatment and intervene when necessary. CoolComply provides patients undergoing treatment for Multiple Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and their caregivers with the proper monitoring to ensure they are meeting the standards for their treatment.  The number of MDR-TB cases is growing and, while curable, the treatment is extensive – 18 to 24 months – and complex, involving temperature and time sensitive doses of medicine.   

 

 “It is heartening to see that the caliber of entries continues to grow for the Wireless Innovation Project,” said Peter Barry, President, Vodafone Americas Foundation.  “The entries for this year’s competition were very inspiring and extremely competitive.”

This year, nearly 100 Wireless Innovation Project™ applications were received with the potential to help solve critical social issues across a variety of fields including healthcare, education, access, economic development, environment, connectivity and disaster relief.  Due to the growing collaboration between Vodafone and the mHealth Alliance, there was a significant increase in mHealth applications compared to last year. 

 “Our goal with the mHealth Alliance Award is to spur wireless innovation to solve global health challenges, especially in developing countries,” said Kathy Calvin, CEO, United Nations Foundation, which hosts the mHealth Alliance.  “Cutting edge technologies like the Smart Diaphragm will be critical if we are to succeed at reducing maternal and child deaths and help meet the Millennium Development Goals.”

Eight finalists representing the fields of education, environment, healthcare, transportation and Internet access were selected from a large and diverse applicant pool to travel to San Francisco to personally present their projects in front of the judges.  The other finalists were:

Cellphone-Enabled Tricorder – A compact wireless device to monitor subjects with sleep apnea and infants at risk of SIDS.

 

mobileVision – A community healthcare worker-centric hardware and software mobile platform to perform low-cost eye exams and check-ups and transmit the results to a remote ophthalmologist or optometrist.

 

PocketSchool - Enabling and tracking highly interactive learning and training instances through a hybrid (i.e., cellular & wi-fi) ad-hoc mobile learning network designed for the neediest and most remote corners of the world.

 

TUBE-ing Over Digital Divide – A software system that computes and delivers congestion dependent pricing for mobile Internet access, enabling an extremely affordable wireless data plan where users can leverage low-congestion and low-price time slots. 

 

Wireless Green Patch – A low cost wireless device to monitor the integrity of civil and transportation structures as well as energy efficiency in buildings.

 

The awards for the Wireless Innovation Project™ and mHealth Alliance Award will be presented at the annual Global Philanthropy Forum conference.  The Global Philanthropy Forum, with a mission that complements the goals of both the Vodafone Americas Foundation and the mHealth Alliance, is building a community of donors and social investors committed to international causes and aims to inform, enable and enhance the strategic nature of their work.  The Global Philanthropy Forum conference provides an ideal venue for the Wireless Innovation Project winners to receive their awards, providing the opportunity for them to meet people in similar fields and to develop international partnerships and collaborations.

 

Through its foundations, Vodafone has long recognized that wireless technology has the potential to make the significant impacts in the world – particularly in developing countries.  Vodafone Americas Foundation™ launched the Wireless Innovation Project™ (http://project.vodafone-us.com/) in 2008 to foster creativity and fund the most promising innovations with the potential to solve pressing issues around the globe. In addition to the Wireless Innovation Project™, Vodafone and its global network of 27 foundations are helping hundreds of thousands of people around the world lead better, fuller lives through more than $60,000,000 in grants and contributions.

 

Open to NGOs, universities, nonprofit and mHealth organizations, each year, the Wireless Innovation Project fosters three winners to advance their projects through the next stages of development. Vodafone provides additional – and invaluable – support by integrating the winning projects with the foundation’s vast network of social entrepreneurs, NGO’s and international agencies.  Previous award-winning projects have already begun to show impressive results. Last year’s second place winner, FrontlineSMS: Credit, is building an application to enable easy enterprise use of mobile payment systems to bring financial services to the entrepreneurial poor, and will be beta testing software in East Africa this spring.

 

The expert judges for the competition represent a mix of expertise and backgrounds in the fields of wireless telecommunications, health research, and advocacy.  Each judge is a recognized leader in business, government, academia or international development.

The 2011 panel of Judges includes:

 

Dr. James Kahn, Professor of Medicine at University of California, San Francisco

Richard J. Lynch, Executive Vice President, Verizon

Peters Suh, CEO, Wholesale Applications Community (WAC)

Katrin Verclas, Co-Founder and Editor, MobileActive.org

Jody Ranck, DrPH, Director of Thought Leadership, Policy and Advocacy at the mHealth Alliance/UN Foundation

 

About the Vodafone Americas Foundation™

Vodafone Americas Foundation™ is part of Vodafone’s global network of foundations. We are affiliated with Vodafone Group Plc, the world's leading mobile telecommunications company, with ownership interests in 30 countries and Partner Markets in more than 40 countries. As of March 2010, Vodafone had approximately 341.1 million proportionate customers worldwide. In the U.S., our foundation directs its philanthropic activities towards the San Francisco Bay and the Metro Denver Areas where most of our employees live and work, and where we strive to make a positive and enduring impact on our communities. The Foundation is driven by a passion for the world around us. We make grants that help people in our communities and around the world lead fuller lives.

 

About the mHealth Alliance
The mHealth Alliance (mHA) mobilizes innovation to deliver quality health at the furthest reaches of wireless networks and mobile devices.  Working with diverse partners, the mHA advances mHealth through research, advocacy, and support for the development of interoperable solutions and sustainable deployment models.  The mHA sponsors innovation challenges and conferences, leads cross-sector mHealth initiatives, and hosts HUB (Health UnBound), a global online community for resource sharing and collaborative solution generation. Hosted by the United Nations Foundation, and founded by the UN, Rockefeller, and Vodafone Foundations, the mHA now also includes PEPFAR, HP, and the GSM Association among its founding partners. For more information, visit www.mhealthalliance.org

 

 

January 07 2011

17:30

This Week in Review: The FCC’s big compromise, WikiLeaks wrestles with the media, and a look at 2011

[Every Friday, Mark Coddington sums up the week's top stories about the future of news and the debates that grew up around them. —Josh]

A net neutrality compromise: The Review might have taken two weeks off for the holidays, but the rest of the future-of-news world kept on humming. Consider this more your “Holidays in Review” than your “Week in Review.” Let’s get to it.

The biggest news development of the past few weeks came just before Christmas, when the FCC passed a set of Internet regulations that were widely characterized as a compromise between net neutrality advocates and big Internet service providers. In essence, the rules will keep ISPs from blocking or slowing services on the traditional wired Internet, but leave the future of wireless regulation more unclear. (Here’s a copy of the order and a helpful explainer from GigaOM.)

In the political realm, the order drew predictable responses from both sides of the aisle: Conservatives (including at least one Republican FCC commissioner) were skeptical of a move toward net neutrality, while liberals (like Democratic Sen. Al Franken) fervently argued for it. In the media-tech world, it was greeted — as compromises usually are — with near-universal disdain. The Economist ran down the list of concerns for net neutrality proponents, led by the worry that the FCC “has handed the wireless carriers a free pass.” This was especially troubling to j-prof Dan Kennedy, who argued that wireless networks will be far more important to the Internet’s future than wired ones.

Salon’s Dan Gillmor said the FCC paid lip service to net neutrality, paving the way for a future more like cable TV than the open web we have now. Newsweek’s Dan Lyons compressed his problems with the order into one statement: “There will soon be a fast Internet for the rich and a slow Internet for the poor.”

From the other side, Slate media critic Jack Shafer, a libertarian, questioned whether the FCC had the power to regulate the Internet at all, and imagined what the early Internet would have been like if the FCC had regulated it then. The Los Angeles Times’ James Rainey told both sides to calm down, and at the Knight Digital Media Center, Amy Gahran used the story as an object lesson for news organizations in getting and linking to the source documents in question.

WikiLeaks and the media’s awkward dance: The long tail of this fall’s WikiLeaks story continues to run on, meandering into several different areas over the holidays. There are, of course, ongoing efforts to silence WikiLeaks, both corporate (Apple pulled the WikiLeaks app from its store) and governmental (a bill to punish circulation of similar classified information was introduced, and criticized by law prof Geoffrey Stone).

In addition, Vanity Fair published a long piece examining the relationship between WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange and The Guardian, the first newspaper to partner with him. Based on the story, Slate’s Jack Shafer marveled at Assange’s shrewdness and gamesmanship (“unequaled in the history of journalism”), Reuters’ Felix Salmon questioned Assange’s mental health, and The Atlantic’s Nicholas Jackson wondered why The Guardian still seems to be playing by Assange’s rules.

We also saw the blowup of Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald’s feud with Wired over some chat logs between alleged WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning and the man who turned him in. It’s a complicated fight I’m not going to delve into here, but if you’d like to know more, here are two good blow-by-blows, one more partial to Wired, and another more sympathetic to Greenwald.

Greenwald has also continued to be one of the people leading the inquiries into the traditional media’s lack of support for WikiLeaks. Alternet rebutted several media misconceptions about WikiLeaks, and Newsweek attempted to explain why the American press is so lukewarm on WikiLeaks — they aren’t into advocacy, and they don’t like Assange’s purpose or methods. One of the central questions to that media cold-shoulder might be whether Assange is considered a journalist, something GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram tried to tackle.

Other, more open critiques of WikiLeaks continue to trickle out, including ones from author Jaron Lanier and Floyd Abrams, a lawyer who argued for The New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case. Abrams’ argument prompted rebuttals from Jack Shafer and NYU prof Clay Shirky. Shirky in particular offered a nuanced comparison of the Pentagon Papers-era Times and the globally oriented WikiLeaks, concluding that “the old rules will not produce the old outcomes.” If you’re still hungry for WikiLeaks analysis, John Bracken’s rounded up the best of the year here.

Looking back, and looking forward: We rang in the new year last week, and that, of course, always means two things in the media world: year-end retrospectives, and previews of the year to come. The Lab wrapped up its own year in review/preview before Christmas with a review of Martin Langeveld’s predictions for 2010. PBS’ MediaShift also put together a good set of year-end reviews, including ones on self-publishing, the rapidly shifting magazine industry, a top-ten list of media stories (led by WikiLeaks, Facebook, and the iPad). You can also get a pretty good snapshot of the media year that was by taking a look at AOL’s list of the top tech writing of 2010.

Poynter’s Rick Edmonds examined the year in newspaper stock prices (not great, but could’ve been worse), while media consultant Alan Mutter explained that investors tended to stay away from debt-laden newspaper companies in particular.

As for the year to come, the Lab’s readers weighed in — you like ProPublica, The Huffington Post, and Clay Shirky, and you’re split on paywalls — and several others chimed in with their predictions, too. Among the more interesting prognostications: New York Times media critic David Carr sees tablets accelerating our ongoing media convergence, The Next Web forecasts a lot of blogs making the Gawker-esque beyond the blog format, Mashable’s Vadim Lavrusik predicts the death of the foreign correspondent, TBD’s Steve Buttry sees many journalism trade organizations merging, and the Lab’s Martin Langeveld thinks we’ll see John Paton’s innovative measures at the Journal Register Co. slowly begin to be emulated elsewhere in the newspaper industry.

Two other folks went outside the predictions mold for their 2011 previews: media analyst Ken Doctor looked at 11 pieces of conventional wisdom the media industry will test this year, and the University of Colorado’s Steve Outing outlined his wishes for the new year. Specifically, he wants to see News Corp. and The New York Times’ paid-content plans fail, and to see news execs try a value-added membership model instead. “This will require that news publishers actually work their butts off to sell, rather than sit back and expect people to fork over money “just because” everyone should support journalism,” he wrote.

Rethinking publishing for the tablet: One theme for the new year in media that’s already emerged is the impending dominance of the tablet. As The New York Times’ Joshua Brustein wrote, that was supposed to be the theme last year, too, but only the iPad was the only device able to get off the ground in any meaningful way. Several of Apple’s competitors are gearing up to make their push this year instead; The Times’ Nick Bilton predicted that companies that try to one-up Apple with bells and whistles will fail, though Google may come up with a legitimate iPad rival.

Google has begun work toward that end, looking for support from publishers to develop a newsstand to compete with Apple’s app store. And Amazon’s Kindle is doing fine despite the iPad’s popularity, TechCrunch argued. Meanwhile, Women’s Wear Daily reported that magazine app sales on the iPad are down from earlier in the year, though Mashable’s Lauren Indvik argued that the numbers aren’t as bad as they seem.

The magazine numbers prompted quite a bit of analysis of what’s gone wrong with magazine apps. British entrepreneur Andrew Walkingshaw ripped news organizations for a lack of innovation in their tablet editions — “tablets are always-on, tactile, completely reconfigurable, great-looking, permanently jacked into the Internet plumbing, and you’re using them to make skeumorphic newspaper clones?” — and French media consultant Frederic Filloux made similar points, urging publishers to come up with new design concepts and develop a coherent pricing structure (something Econsultancy’s Patricio Robles had a problem with, too).

There were plenty of other suggestions for tablet publications, too: GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram said they should focus on filtering the web, MG Siegler of TechCrunch asked for an easy-to-use newsstand rather than a system of standalone apps, and Alan Mutter suggested magazines lower the prices and cut down on the technical glitches.

Three others focused specifically on the tablet publishing business model: At the Lab, Ken Doctor gave us three big numbers to watch in determining where this is headed, entrepreneur Bradford Cross proposed a more ad-based model revolving around connections to the open web, and venture capitalist Fred Wilson predicted that the mobile economy will soon begin looking more like the web economy.

Reading roundup: A few items worth taking a look at over the weekend:

— The flare-up du jour in the tech world is over RSS, and specifically, whether or not it is indeed still alive. Web designer Kroc Camen suggested it might be dying, TechCrunch’s MG Siegler fingered Twitter and Facebook as the cause, Dave Winer (who helped develop RSS) took umbrage, and GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram and The Guardian’s Martin Belam defended RSS’ relevance.

— Add the Dallas Morning News to the list of paywalled (or soon-to-be-paywalled) papers to watch: It announced it will launch a paid-content plan Feb. 15. The Lab’s Justin Ellis shed light on Morning News’ thinking behind the plan. PaidContent’s Staci Kramer also broke down a Pew report on paying for online content.

— For the many writers are considering how to balance social media and longer-form writing, two thoughtful pieces to take a look at: Wired’s Clive Thompson on the way tweets and texts can work in concert in-depth analysis, and Anil Dash on the importance of blogging good ideas.

— Finally, NPR’s Matt Thompson put together 10 fantastic lessons for the future of media, all coming from women who putting them into action. It’s an encouraging, inspiring set of insights.

December 17 2010

00:51

September 17 2010

14:07

July 07 2010

20:30

Attention nonprofits: Young adults love texting donations

This afternoon the Pew Internet and American Life Project released a study on Americans’ mobile device and wireless habits. The full report has many interesting figures, but I’m going to zoom in on just one portion that signals an important trend for nonprofit journalism.

Pew asked survey participants whether they had ever made a charitable contribution via text message. A surprising 10 percent of all cell phone users have. When you look at young people, it gets even more interesting: 19 percent of 18 to 29 year olds have made a charitable donation via text. Other age groups text donations considerably less: 10 percent of 30 to 49 year olds, 8 percent of 50 to 64 year olds, and 4 percent of 65 and up.

I emailed with Peter Panepento, the web editor at The Chronicle of Philanthropy, to put the 19-percent figure in perspective. Surprisingly, he says 26 percent of people in their twenties have mailed in a donation in the last two years. (Who knew 20-somethings were so generous! And so likely to use the mail!) “What’s startling about that number [the 19 percent] is the fact that it is catching up with other forms of giving so quickly,” Panepento wrote. “Giving through mobile phones is still in its infancy and only a small percentage of charities even have the ability to set up mobile-giving programs. These programs are still too expensive for most groups, whereas direct mail and checkout-counter-style giving is a huge part of how most nonprofit groups raise money.”

The survey also showed differences among demographic groups in donation texting. Of cell phone users of all ages, 23 percent of English-speaking Latinos have sent a charitable text, 16 percent of African Americans and 7 percent of whites. Pew has previously found similar racial differences among mobile news consumers.

Here’s the question for journalism: Can nonprofit news groups figure out a way to cash in on the potential of mobile fundraising, particularly when the next generation of donors clearly like giving via their cell phones? Earlier today we an item about a new iPhone app for Boston NPR station WBUR, which is inching public radio closer to mobile giving. This growth is the reason Apple’s ban on in-app donations matters: WBUR was forced to come up with a series of workarounds that complicate the process. Those aren’t quite the same as, say, texting the word “HAITI” to give ten bucks to the Red Cross.

Photo by Paul Hart used under a Creative Commons license.

March 05 2010

16:00

This Week in Review: Surveying the online news scene, web-first mags, and Facebook patents its feed

[Every Friday, Mark Coddington sums up the week’s top stories about the future of news and the debates that grew up around them. —Josh]

The online news landscape defined: Much of the discussion about journalism this week revolved around two survey-based studies. I’ll give you an overview on both and the conversation that surrounded them.

The first was a behemoth of a study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Project for Excellence in Journalism. (Here’s Pew’s overview and the full report.) The report, called “Understanding the Participatory News Consumer,” is a treasure trove of fascinating statistics and thought-provoking nuggets on a variety of aspects of the world of online news. It breaks down into five basic parts: 1) The news environment in America; 2) How people use and feel about news; 3) news and the Internet; 4) Wireless news access; and 5) Personal, social and participatory news.

I’d suggest taking some time to browse a few of those sections to see what tidbits interest you, but to whet your appetite, the Lab’s Laura McGann has a few that jumped out at her — few people exclusively rely on the Internet for news, only half prefer “objective” news, and so on.

Several of the sections spurred their own discussions, led by the one focusing on the social nature of online news. GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram has a good summary of the study’s social-news findings, and Micah Sifry of techPresident highlights the sociological angle of news participation. Tech startup guy Dave Pell calls us “Curation Nation” and notes that for all our sharing, we don’t do much of the things going on in our own backyards. And Steve Yelvington has a short but smart take, noting that the sociality of news online is actually a return to normalcy, and the broadcast age was the weird intermission: “The one-way flow that is characteristic of print and electronic broadcasting is at odds with our nature. The Internet ends that directional tyranny.”

The other section of the study to get significant attention was the one on mobile news. PBS’ Idea Lab has the summary, and Poynter’s Mobile Media blog notes that an FCC study found similar results not long ago. Finally, Jason Fry has some hints for news organizations based on the study (people love weather news, and curation and social media have some value), and Ed Cafasso has some implications for marketing and PR folks.

A web-first philosophy for magazine sites: The Columbia Journalism Review also released another comprehensive, if not quite so sprawling, study on magazines and the web. (Here’s the full report and the CJR feature based on it.) The feature is a great overview of the study’s findings on such subjects on magazines’ missions on the web, their decision-making, their business models, editing, and use of social media and blogs. It’s a long read, but quite engaging for an article on an academic survey.

One of the more surprising (and encouraging) findings of the study is that magazine execs have a truly web-centric view of their online operation. Instead of just using the Internet as an extension of their print product, many execs are seeing the web as a valuable arena in itself. As one respondent put it, “We migrated from a print publication supplemented with online articles to an online publication supplemented with print editions.” That’s a seriously seismic shift in philosophy.

CJR also put up another brief post highlighting the finding that magazine websites on which the print editor makes most of the decisions tend to be less profitable. The New York Times’ report on the study centers on the far lower editing standards that magazines exercise online, and the editing-and-corrections guru Craig Silverman gives a few thoughts on the study’s editing and fact-checking findings.

Facebook patents the news feed: One significant story left over from last week: Facebook was granted a patent for its news feed. All Facebook broke the news, and included the key parts of Facebook’s description of what about the feed it’s patenting. As the tech blog ReadWriteWeb notes, this news could be huge — the news feed is a central concept within the social web and particularly Twitter, which is a news feed. But both blogs came to the tentative conclusion that the patent covers a stream of user activity updates within a social network, not status updates, leaving Twitter unaffected. (ReadWriteWeb’s summary is the best description of the situation.)

The patent still wasn’t popular. NYU news entrepreneur Cody Brown cautioned that patents like this could move innovation overseas, and New York venture capitalist Fred Wilson called the patent “lunacy,” making the case that software patents almost always reward derivative work. Facebook, Wilson says, dominates the world of social news feeds “because they out executed everyone else. But not because they invented the idea.” Meanwhile, The Big Money’s Caitlin McDevitt points out an interesting fact: When Facebook rolled out its news feed in 2006, it was ripped by its users. Now, the feed is a big part of the foundation of the social web.

What’s j-schools’ role in local news?Last week’s conversation about the newly announced local news partnership between The New York Times and New York University spilled over into a broader discussion about j-schools’ role in preserving local journalism. NYU professor Jay Rosen chatted with the Lab’s Seth Lewis about what the project might mean for other j-schools, and made an interesting connection between journalism education and pragmatism, arguing that “our knowledge develops not when we have the most magnificent theory or the best data but when we have a really, really good problem,” which is where j-schools should start.

An Inside Higher Ed article outlines several of the issues in play in j-school local news partnerships like this one, and Memphis j-prof Carrie Brown-Smith pushes back against the idea that j-schools are exploiting students by keeping enrollment high while the industry contracts. She argues that the skills picked up in a journalism education — thinking critically about information, checking its accuracy, communicating ideas clearly, and so on — are applicable to a wide variety of fields, as well as good old active citizenship itself. News business expert Alan Mutter comes from a similar perspective on the exploitation question, saying that hands-on experience through projects like NYU’s new one is the best thing j-schools can do for their students.

This week in iPad tidbits: Not a heck of a lot happened in the world of the iPad this week, but there’ll be enough regular developments and opinions that I should probably include a short update every week to keep you up to speed. This week, the Associated Press announced plans to create a paid service on the iPad, and the book publisher Penguin gave us a sneak peek at their iPad app and strategy.

Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson and tech writer James Kendrick both opined on whether the iPad will save magazines: Anderson said yes, and Kendrick said no. John Battelle, one of Wired’s founders, told us why he doesn’t like the iPad: “It’s an old school, locked in distribution channel that doesn’t want to play by the new rules of search+social.”

Reading roundup: I’ve got an abnormally large amount of miscellaneous journalism reading for you this week. Let’s start with two conversations to keep an eye on: First, in the last month or so, we’ve been seeing a lot of discussion on science journalism, sparked in part by a couple of major science conferences. This is a robust conversation that’s been ongoing, and it’s worth diving into for anyone at the intersection of those two issues. NYU professor Ivan Oransky made his own splash last week by launching a blog about embargoes in science journalism.

Second, the Lab’s resident nonprofit guru Jim Barnett published a set of criteria for determining whether a nonprofit journalism outfit is legitimate. Jay Rosen objected to the professionalism requirement and created his own list. Some great nuts-and-bolts-of-journalism talk here.

Also at the Lab, Martin Langeveld came out with the second part of his analysis on newspapers’ quarterly filings, with info on the Washington Post Co., Scripps, Belo, and Journal Communications. The Columbia Journalism Review’s Ryan Chittum drills a bit deeper into the question of how much of online advertising comes from print “upsells.”

The Online Journalism Review’s Robert Niles has a provocative post contending that the distinction between creation and aggregation of news content is a false one — all journalism is aggregation, he says. I don’t necessarily agree with the assertion, but it’s a valid challenge to the anti-aggregation mentality of many newspaper execs. And I can certainly get behind Niles’ larger point, that news organization can learn a lot from online news aggregation.

Finally, two great guides to Twitter: One, a comprehensive list of Twitter resources for journalists from former newspaper exec Steve Buttry, and two, some great tips on using Twitter effectively even if you have nothing to say, courtesy of The New York Times. Enjoy.

February 19 2010

06:24

Would Google Nexus One affect other wireless operators??

Google has announced its much hyped â??superphone,â?? called Nexus One in the first week of January. The mobile handset is powered by its own Android 2.1 operating system and is said to be the powerful device that will compete with Appleâ??s iPhone 3G S.

The Google Nexus One is available directly from Google with a price tag of $529 (unlocked). Also, consumers can buy the device from T-Mobile at $179 with a two-year contract. Google added that the device will also be available through Verizon Wireless in the US and Vodafone in the UK in due course.

Nexus One to affect sales of other Android based mobile phones

Meanwhile, it is suggested that the new device from Google will hold the sales of other Android based smartphones and therefore, various mobile vendors like Sony Ericsson, Motorola, etc would prefer other mobile platform for their new devices. This will create an enigma for the search giant to use its platform on its own devices against already existing Android based phones.

Nexus Oneâ??s networking problem

Nexus One, which runs on Android OS and HTC’s hardware was built to work at 3G speeds in the US on the AWS 1700/2100 MHz frequency band. In contrast, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint all use the 1900 MHz band for their 3G networks, hence the Google phone is incompatible with this band. But, AT&T and the Google phone share a 2G frequency — 850 MHz via GSM, which allows voice calls but quashes its data transfer feature.

According to a leading analytics firm, the Google sold only 20,000 units of Nexus One in its first week of sales. It is pretty disappointing number compared to Appleâ??s iPhone first week sales numbers. Further, the device is facing number of complaints about its 3G connectivity.

The Nexus One has already received and the news isnâ??t good for Google right not. Things will certainly get better for Android, but the Nexus One had so many expectations based on the amazing specs of the phone.

Other missing features in the Nexus One

No VoIP: It was reported that the search giant will introduce VoIP-only plan with its device and will be a game changer to other vendors. It will provide free calls to its consumers in the country. But, the rumor turned out to be false and the device is the same as other handsets, while making calls.

Android 2.1 OS: It is reported that the company will also introduce new Android software besides Nexus One. But, the company launched the device with same Android 2.1 OS in the superphone, which was already appeared in Motorola Droid.

Multitouch missing:
Playing 3D games or pinching to zoom in Google Maps (like in iPhone) are missing in the Nexus One. The Nexus Oneâ??s hardware is able to handle input from more than one finger at a time, but the software does not support it.

Music Player App is not upto the mark: People have complained about the app and said that the Android based music player has never upto the quality compared with iPhone.

Third-party applications: Apple has about 100,000 third-party applications in its App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch, whereas Google Nexus One and other Android platform offer about 18,000 apps only.

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