Archive Page 2

New short 2min Video of the C@R Project

There is a new short video available on the C@R project we did in South Africa.


Workshop at Mobile HCI 2010 Conference

Deadline Extended for Workshop submissions until 14th May 2010.

On 7th September 2010 I’m hosting a workshop at the Mobile HCI 2010 conference  ( in Lisbon, Portugal.

The title of the half-day workshop is “Mobile HCI and Technical ICTD: A Methodological Perspective”.

The aim of this workshop is to elaborate on the application of Mobile HCI methods for technical ICTD research and to come up with a set of appropriate research methodologies for technical ICTD and a roadmap of action items of how to improve current technical ICTD research. We will provide a forum to share information, results, and ideas on current research in this area and encourage discussions about future topics concerning technical ICTD research.

I’m happy to have a great people in the organization team that will help me during workshop organization and execution. I would appreciate if you consider to participate in the workshop and take the chance to meet with people interested in the ICTD research field.

For more information please visit the workshop website at:

Part of CeBIT Opening Ceremony

Last week our project formed part of the CeBIT (world’s foremost tradeshow for the digital industry, took place in Hannover, Germany) opening ceremony. During this opening ceremony the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Spanish Prime Minister, gave a short speech. Bill McDermott (Co-Chief Executive Officer SAP) was on stage and presented our project as part of the CeBIT topic “Connected Worlds”. He presented our use case and showed a small video about our work. The result have been many articles writing about our project and especially the Spaza Shop during the opening ceremony (e.g. IT Web).

You can have a look at the opening ceremony here. The 2 sections of interest of the opening ceremony are at 26:00 to 29:00 and 1:15:00 to 1:21:30 

CeBIT Opening Ceremony with Christina from Kgautswane

CeBIT Opening Ceremony with Christina from Kgautswane

During the CeBIT week we’ve had four people of the Kgautswane community visiting us. Most prominent was Christina who was on stage during the openind ceremony and thus became quite famous due to the often used picture with Merkel, Zapatero and McDermot touching a globe with their hands. The four people had meetings with various organizations here in Germany and thus we’ve travelled quite a lot. This was a very interesting trip for them since most of them have never been to europe before, never been flying in a plane and many more “first time experiences”.

Sekhukhune Field Trip

In May/June 2009 I’ve got the chance to do my field visit to the Kgautswane community, which is about 350 kilometers away from Pretoria, South Africa. In this field trip we’ve validated the procurement use case and the deployed prototypes by doing several person-to-person interviews with the use case stake holders. The result of the evaluation was very positive and underlines the appropriateness of the use case and the utilized technology and methodology. Again we’ve got the help of the Infopreneurs(TM), which have been a substantial part of the successful field trip.
Spaza Shop Interview

Spaza Shop Interview

It was a great experience to meet the people finally in person I’ve been working with for already 2 years. And it definitively was an absolute necessity to get the real life experience being there in person and “feel” the environment. As a researcher located in europe it’s quite difficult to really understand the difficulties people have in rural South Africa. Even if I’ve got all the information available in documents and pictures, being there in person is another story. Things become much more clear and problems like erratic and slow connectivity, unreliable electricity, no access to running water, or bad road conditions become only serious after experienced in real. It’s also the cultural difference that makes developing appropriate solutions so difficult. The “in-time” business processes of the 1st economy with processes optimized to the squeeze out every second become blurry in an environment where cars stop and wait until the bulls are done with their competition.
Bull fight on public road

Bull fight on public road

I’ve really enjoyed this trip even if it was quite exhausting, since this was there for work. But not only the work itself was challenging but also the fact that it was my fist trip to South Africa at all. After a 12 hour flight I’ve arrived at the airport and immediately got into my rental car for a 5 hours drive to the community. As a person used to european cars and roads it’s quite unfamiliar sitting on the wrong side in the car, driving on the wrong side of the road and trying not to hit one of the many huge potholes. But after a while it becomes funny not taking every rule to serious and using a small volkswagen like a desert buggy.
I’ve arrived at home after this 2 weeks trip with alot of insights and impressions that definitively helped me to improve my research work in the ICTD context.

My research work within the C@R Project

I’ve started my PhD research mid of 2007 within a 3 year research project – Collaboration at Rural (C@R).  The aim of the C@R project was to foster socio economic development of small and micro enterprises in rural areas of emerging economies. The use case implemented in the C@R project was a procurement use case of small shop owners (Spaza Shops) in rural South Africa. The goal was to improve the currently very inefficient procurement use case by lowering the transaction costs for the Spaza Shop owners. Before the C@R project research investigation the Spaza Shop owners had to buy their stock at a super market more than 100 kilometers away without any price reduction. To get their they had to get a taxi or borrow a pick-up which already consumes quite a big part of their income. The C@R project re-organized the use case and introduced new technology utilization to come up with a more efficient procurement use case.
C@R Procurement Use Case

C@R Procurement Use Case

In the new use case the Spaza Shop owners can use their mobile phone to order the products necessary to keep on stock just by sending a structured SMS message via their basic mobile phone. The products then get validated by the Infopreneur (IT trained and trusted person from within the community who offers basic IT services) and sent out to the supplier who deliveres the products.To get a detailed overview of the C@R project and the procurement use case please watch this movie: 



ICT access for the Next Billion – How to?

In 2008 there have been about 4.2 billion people with a mobile subrscription world wide – 64 percent are from developing regions…