When it comes to trends in mobile, I think about social networking, sharing, and feature rich smartphones. But what if there’s more to the mobile web? What if the future in mobile is about the social good? That was the trend at the MobileMonday summit, a meetup where leaders in the mobile space join together to discuss trends and the future of mobile.
Founded in Helsinki in 2000, MobileMonday chapters have popped up worldwide; spanning from San Francisco to Tokyo and everywhere in between. The principle of the conference is to promote the importance of connectivity in the mobile space, as described in their mission statement:
There is a direct relation between mobile connectivity and political, economic and social freedom, the power of democracy, the rational management of our future and the triumph of reason and enlightenment.
And this was exactly the sentiment among presenters and competitors who went head-to-head in the 10th annual Peer Awards. Finalists from Brazil, Kenya, Pakistan, Uganda, Estonia, Finland, France, Israel, Norway and Palestine competed in two categories: Future Potential and Base of the Pyramid. The general trend among these mobile start-ups were that almost all focused on mobile technology for the social good. Yes, they want to make money, but their inspiration lies in problems they’ve encountered in their home countries and most all of them are using mobile technology to solve these problems through technology.
Both the winner in the pyramid competition, Xrystalgenius and the runner up, Super Technologies used mobile technology to solve problems plaguing their nations. For example, Xrystalgenius based in Kenya created the iCheki system in order to provide their countrymen with a way to check on the status of the bus, something that is notorious late and sporadic in Kenya. The system integrates Google maps, GPS and mobile telephony enabling people to get transportation schedules on their mobile phones. Super Technologies’ Health Management System also answers a problem facing their home country of Pakistan. The system allows doctors to access a patient’s records remotely on their mobile phone. This SMS-based system is especially beneficial for countries facing crisis where doctors may be in the field and need information on-the-fly. Another standout that did not win an award but was using mobile technology for social good was AkiraChix, a women run organization out of Kenya used to connect women across the country and prompt them to pursue a career in technology. The organization also provides mentoring to women by women. Both the winner of the pyramid competition Xrystalgenius and the runner up Super Technologies were provided with free mobile testing for their products.
The MobileMonday chapter leaders from around the world were given the power to vote on which mobile startup their liked best, choosing Xrystalgenius as their winner in the pyramid competition, and a company called Ringbow, an Israeli startup that created the ““first peripheral device for enhancing touch screen interfaces,” as their Future Potential Category winner.
The group of innovators, MobileMonday chapter leaders and inventors were there to foster innovation and provide praise to startups with potential – and that they did.