Tag Archives: Nokia Life Tools

Are Mid-Range Phones the “Smartphones 4D”?

I have finally come around to revisiting some of the topics that came up during the days of the CTA ICT Observatory, held in Wageningen, the Neatherlands from 2nd to 4th of Nobember, 2009. One topic in particular that reared its head during the first day, concerned the potential of mid-range mobile phone devices to deliver the benefits associated with mobile services.

The topic came up when all participants were asked by the workshop facilitators Pete Cranston and Christian Kreutz to consider the advantages and disadvantages of different technological channels for access to information. Volunteers were asked to collect views regarding the following channels:

  • Indirect access i.e. information access mediated by another human being.
  • Radio
  • Direct information sharing i.e. CDs, printouts, file sharing.
  • Rural access
  • Basic phones: devices with two-tone displays and basic functionality.  Almost exclusively the functionality is limited to voice and SMS.
  • Mid-range phones i.e. phones with functionality exceeding the basics.  These devices have multi-tone display and a data channel (GPRS) with a high level of usability. Features such as extendable keyboards, cameras
  • Smart phones i.e. phones complete with an operating system and advanced PC-like functionalities such as email and Internet access.

I collected the views of the participants in the workshop on mid-range phones. And after about half an hour we came up with the poster below.

Pros and Cons of Mid-range Phones

The pros of mid-range phones include that they allow for the development of more interactive mobile applications and services. The use of phones and services with basic functionality have proven their worth and usefulness, as in the many deployment examples associated with FrontlineSMS. Still, many of the areas where SMS services are used can benefit from more extensive interactions. That’s why we put interactivity as one of the advantages carried by mid-range phones. The implementations I envisage would fall somewhere on the orange fraction of “social mobile’s long tail”, as explained by Ken Banks in a recent post on his blog. Arguably, mid-range phones are currently the devices of choice for end-users in the implementation of mid-complexity systems and customised solutions. Yet again, arguably, they have the potential of being the devices of choice for the implementation of simple, low cost systems in the future.

Another advantage of mid-range phones is that through the data channel they allow information to be exchanged way more cheaply than SMS. Steve Song оf manypossibilities.net has posted much on the lack of fairness in the pricing of mobile communication and recently started the initiative Fair Mobile).  Mid-range phones allow a cheaper alternative because in terms of the price of data transfer per character, data services based on GPRS are up to 1000 times cheaper. This argument was put forward as part of the presentation of Stephane Boyera from the W3C at CTA’s ICT Observatory. Moreover, the feasibility of extending the use of devices with mid-range functionality in the provision of mobile services is supported by the increased market availability of such devices at prices near the $50 mark.

In a recent analysis of the potential of hybrid devices, Simon Kearney notes that “while smartphones may dominate the mobile growth story in many developed markets, the picture is very different in the much larger developing and emerging world markets.”  In these markets products and services such as Nokia’s Life Tools are, in many ways, exploring leapfrogging possibilities by allowing mobile access to the Internet.

The Nokia Life Tools services, deployed in India and Indonesia are examples of mobile services which can be deployed through mid-range phones. These services are targeted at very low earners in developing countries. They allow users access to weather and agricultural market information. A series of phones designed as end-user devices for Nokia Life Tools, and retailing at prices between 20 and 54 Euros – before taxes and subsidies – are shortly due to begin shipping.

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Nokia Life Tools lands in Indonesia

Here is today’s announcement about a Nokia Life Tools launch in Indonesia. I would be very keen to know what exactly is the technology behind Nokia Life Tools. Would anyone be able to clarify?

By Mike on 04 November 2009

Nokia-Life-Tools-Farmer

JAKARTA, Indonesia – It’s almost a year to the day that we first reported on an intriguing new service called Nokia Life Tools. Piloted and then officially debuting in India, Life Tools was designed to help improve the livelihood and lives of farmers, students and many people in more remote and rural areas in emerging market countries. It does this by offering easily accessible and up-to-date crop prices, education tools and entertainment packages, delivering this valuable information on a simple SMS backbone. Hence we’re excited to see Nokia Life Tools announced for Indonesia, where it has been keenly tailored towards its people’s needs.

Read on to find out more, see photos of folk using the service, and as always, share your comments below.

Nokia Life Tools has been tailored for Indonesian farmers

Nokia-Life-Tools-IndonesiaWhereas in India much of the focus for the agriculture service was aimed at delivering timely crop prices to help ensure farmers were able to get better value for their produce, Life Tools for Indonesia has been tailored to provide precious up-to-date info on livestock, fisheries and horticulture, as well as crops.

In terms of what this actually means, farmers will be able to access market prices (consumer price, wholesale price, mill price and farmer price), and are also able to tap into tips and advice on farming techniques (such as animal health care and alerts on new government schemes), as well as receive all-important weather forecasts.

We’re stoked to see how Life Tools has been tweaked to target the unique needs of the people in this territory – could this approach be suited to other services too? Let us know what you think.

The agriculture service will initially launch in Java and Sumatera, prior to rolling out across the rest of Indonesia.

Help with education through Nokia Life Tools

Nokia-Life-Tools-EducationWhen you access the education part of Life Tools there are three strands you can pursue – learning English, preparing for school and higher education exams, and improving your general knowledge.

Learning English is broken into beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, making it easy for anyone to jump in at the stage they’re most comfortable with. In terms of an outcome, the information and lessons that are delivered through Life Tools have been designed to help students come out the other side with the ability to read, write and understand simple English pieces of text.

The test preparation part of the education tool provides students with valuable access to material in keeping with the national curriculum at junior and high school levels. As for the general knowledge stuff, much of that information is again tailored to the region, supplemented with more info related to global general knowledge.

Nokia Life Tools injects entertainment

Nokia-Life-Tools-Entertainment

The entertainment tool adds a lighter touch to proceedings, enabling folk pluck news, astrology, jokes, movie news and reviews via subscription or on-demand. Whereas downloads such as wallpapers, animations, themes, music and comics are solely available via on-demand.

Nokia-1800Nokia Life Tools will launch in Indonesia in early December 2009, and will debut on the Nokia 2323 classic, Nokia 2330 classic and Nokia 2700 classic. It’ll later become available on the five new devices announced today for Indonesia, including the Nokia 1280 (Nokia’s cheapest ever phone), Nokia 1616, Nokia 1800, Nokia 2220 slide and Nokia 2690.

via Nokia Life Tools lands in Indonesia | Nokia Conversations – The official Nokia Blog.

Nokia Life Tools launched across India

Here are the latest developments regarding Reuters Market Light and Nokia Life Tools. According to the press release below Nokia Life Tools is being launched across India.

June 12, 2009

Ecosystem involving key government bodies, operators & industry players to address consumers’ information gaps.

Mumbai, India – After a successful pilot in the state of Maharashtra, Nokia today announced the commercial launch of its pioneering Nokia Life Tools service in India. The service will be rolled out first in Maharashtra in association with the Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB). Designed specifically for the emerging markets, Nokia Life Tools is a range of Agriculture, Education and Entertainment services sharply addressing the information gaps of target consumers.

Today, Nokia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the MSAMB. Under this MOU, MSAMB will provide expertise in the areas of commodity prices from their network of 291 local mandis (marketyards). MSAMB will also have the opportunity to deliver relevant news, alerts on schemes and other information directly to grassroots consumers.
Speaking at the occasion, Shri. Ashok Chavan, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra said, “We are happy that Maharashtra is the first state in India to go live with the Nokia Life Tools services in association with the state marketing board. Empowering our people with the right tools and facilities is a top priority for the State Government. I would like to congratulate Nokia for developing a unique and innovative service that has tremendous potential to improve lives and the livelihood of farmers and sub-urban consumers in Maharashtra.”
Shri Harshavardhan Patil, Hon’ble Minister for Co-operation, Marketing, Cultural Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs said, “It has been the Maharashtra state government’s endeavour to provide vital agri information tools for a progressive and an empowered farmer community. Nokia Life Tools is tailormade to positively impact farmers across the state. This MOU further strengthens MSAMB’s mandate to get the information directly to the farmers.”
Mr. D Shivakumar, Managing Director, Nokia India said, “Nokia Life Tools was a result of the entire ecosystem coming together and is ideally placed to usher in an information revolution impacting the daily lives of people. We extend our sincere thanks to MSAMB and our key partners for believing in and supporting our vision of ’empowering people and connecting them to the things that matter’. We believe this is the beginning of a historical journey that will take mobility to grassroots and make a positive difference to the lives of people in the areas that are crucial to them.”
The complete Nokia Life Tools solution will be available on the newly launched Nokia 2323 classic and Nokia 2330 classic devices, and will be later expanded to other Nokia devices.
Nokia Life Tools Partner Ecosystem and Services
Designed with deep insights gathered from target users, Nokia has collaborated with multiple partners across the Indian Government and private enterprises to bring together a rich ecosystem to deliver localised & personalised information directly to consumers’ Life Tools-enabled mobile devices.
Nokia Life Tools has a range of 3 primary services – Agriculture Services, Education Services and Entertainment Services
Nokia Life Tools Agriculture services:
The Nokia Life Tools Agriculture service offers consumers a choice of 2 plans. The basic plan, available across India at Rs 30/month, provides daily weather updates and relevant agriculture-related news, advice and tips. The premium plan, at Rs 60/month, will be available in 10 states, including Maharashtra, and provides the closest market prices for three crops chosen by the subscriber, as well as weather, news, advice and tips.
Nokia is collaborating with Reuters Market Light (RML), which was the exclusive provider for agriculture services in the successful pilot. Syngenta, Madison Research, Skymet and many others also form this ecosystem.
Nokia Life Tools Education services:
The Nokia Life Tools Education service, available throughout India, offers three components: Learn English, with basic, intermediate and advanced levels; Exam preparation, which offers students tips and advice for ICSE, CBSE and State Board-level exams mapped to the relevant curriculum; and General Knowledge, which gives subscribers useful information about the world around them. Each of the Education services will be offered at Rs 30/month. Information and content from multiple local and international companies will be aggregated and delivered to Nokia Life Tools by EnableM.
Nokia Life Tools Entertainment services:
The Nokia Life Tools Entertainment service at launch will include Astrology, News, Jokes, Cricket and ringtones, offered at existing market prices. The content is aggregated and brought to Life Tools by OnMobile.
Nokia Life Tools is hosted by OnMobile in India.
Jawahar Kanjilal, Nokia’s Global Head of Emerging Markets Services, said, “As mobile coverage increases to cover the millions of unconnected, Nokia – in India and in other emerging markets around the world – will work together with mobile operators, multiple government and private enterprises, and non-government organizations to empower millions by connecting them to better opportunities that have a positive impact on their daily lives.”
Nokia Life Tools was piloted in Maharashtra earlier this year before its commercial roll-out this month. The feedback from actual subscribers during the pilot that was concluded in April 2009 revealed that the service had a wide appeal, and connected with subscribers at both emotional and rational levels. On one hand, the service brought livelihood gains through relevant information such as market rates for farmers’ produce, greater awareness on market conditions, tips on weather, news, crop advisory, Learn English and General Knowledge. On the other hand, it enabled consumers to fill their information gaps by being better informed, save time and money, and improve their confidence and social standing.
Nokia Life Tools service will be expanded to select countries across Asia and Africa later in 2009 and beyond.
About Nokia Life Tools
Nokia Life Tools is a range of innovative Agriculture information and Education services targeted at non-urban consumers. Under the Nokia Life Tool Services, consumers can choose various types of services/information that they wish to receive. Services available are as follows.
– Nokia Life Tools Agriculture services aim to plug the information gaps and needs of farmers via their mobile devices, by providing information on seeds, fertilizers and pesticides, market prices, and weather (temperature, rainfall, wind conditions)
– Nokia Life Tools Education services aim to provide education and career services, including English language learning, General Knowledge, Exam preparations and results, and career information and tips
– Nokia Life Tools Entertainment services also has fun features for subscribers, including Astrology, News on current affairs, sports, politics and other matters, Jokes and downloadable ringtones
Nokia Life Tools services use an icon-based, graphically rich user interface that comes complete with tables and which can even display information simultaneously in two languages. Behind this rich interface, SMS is used to deliver the critical information to ensure that this service works wherever a mobile phone works, without the hassles of additional settings or the need for GPRS coverage.

via Nokia – ShowPressRelease.

Service Syndication and Nokia Life Tools

This video was filmed at the Digital World Forum, W3C workshop in Maputo, Mozambique 1-2 April, 2009. Mr. Paavo Krepp, Head of Emerging Market Services, Africa and Middle East of Nokia, South Africa stresses the importance of content for the creation of adequate mobile information services in developing countries. Given the low disposable incomes of users of agricultural information services, Mr. Krepp emphasises the importance of enhancing the relevance of the delivered content by providing dynamic time and location specific information. He also discusses the customisation of mobile services to local perceptions, languages, understandings of iconography, and dynamic mappings of crops.

In the mobile sector, collaboration among content providers with local and domain knowlegde, telecom operators and device manufacturers appears to be key for the successful provision of information services for the agricultural sector, including advisory and marketing services. The recent partnership between Nokia and Reuters Market Light for the Nokia Life Tools pilot in India is a great example of syndication in the delivery of mobile services for users in developing countries. I expect that we should be seeing more partnerships of this type if mobile technology is to deliver on its promise of improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in developing countries. Nowadays, these people are facing numerous challenges ranging from erratic weather, due to climate change, to food security. Working collaboratively towards the provision of adequate technology-based information services for their needs seems the very least we could do.

Nokia Introduces Life Tools in India

Using information from Nokia Life Tools pilot shows high appeal for livelihood and life improvement services in India.

In December 2008 Nokia launched in India a pilot range of information services, covering topics in Agriculture, English Language, General Knowledge and Astrology. The services are geared towards mobile phone users in emerging markets, particulatly in rural areas. Nokia has indicated that any successful initiatives in India will be expanded across selected countries in Asia and Africa.

Today Nokia announced the conclusion of the pilot phase of its pioneering Life Tools service in Maharashtra, India, and the results show that subscribers are reaping the benefits. Extensive feedback from actual subscribers revealed that the service had wide appeal, and connected with subscribers at both emotional and functional levels. The positive feedback from beta trial means full commercial launch of the infotainment services is on its way in the first half of 2009.

The service will be enabled out of the box in the Nokia 2320 and Nokia 2323 handsets, which will soon begin shipping. Support for more devices will be added later in the year.

nokia-life_toolsIn terms of content, Nokia Life Tools is a range of agriculture information and education services designed for rural and small town communities in emerging markets. It uses an icon-based user interface that can display information simultaneously in two languages. SMS is used to deliver the content so GPRS coverage and fiddly settings are not required.

The Agriculture service of Life Tools provides an easy interface to Reuters Market Light, an information service which delivers information on weather, market prices and farming advice. Users of the Agriculture Service described that they were better informed about market rates for their produce. Farmers found that getting prices daily on their mobile phones reduced their dependency on agents for basic information. Now with greater awareness on market conditions, there was newfound confidence in their negotiations with the agents. There was also resounding appreciation for the time and money saved from not having to make multiple trips to the market place to get the latest rates.