Introductions

Are you here to discuss Mobile Network Integration (MNI)? Introduce yourself by replying to this topic.

You can say as much or as little as you’d like. The following is a good place to start:

  • Name and title
  • Company/Organization/Project
  • Location
  • Your experience in Digital Development and mobile communications services
  • Why you are participating in the MNI conversation
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Hello all! I’m Jeff Wishnie, Senior Technology Advisor at the Digital Impact Alliance.

I’m based in Portland, OR.

I’ve worked in Digital Development since 2006 implementing projects mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and a few around the world.

I see a lot of value in digital services that are provided using the core mobile network channels of Voice, SMS, and USSD.

As much as I love the internet and internet messenger apps, I think these core channels will be an important way to reach the most people possible for many years—and there is some evidence of this: Smartphones Lost Market Share in Africa.

I’m here because I want to help reduce the time, cost, and technical knowledge needed to deploy services on core mobile channels.

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Hi everyone! Michael Downey here, also with DIAL. I’m the Director of Community for our Open Source Center, which is a collective effort to provide financial and technical resources to open source software projects serving international development & humanitarian response.

While I haven’t worked in mobile projects per se, I have been active in the digital development sector for close to 10 years, and it’s been exhilarating to watch the innovation in this space!

Looking forward to be as helpful as I can be with questions or discussions about open source software, collaborative development, open data, etc. Cheers! :wave:

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Greetings! I’m David McCann, Director of Technology for the above-mentioned Open Source Center and based in Washington, DC.

I’ve split the time in my career between learning good Agile software product development practice with a number of cyber-security start-ups in the private sector, and working in Digital Development in Ghana and Uganda. In Uganda I was fortunate to get to work in the UNICEF Technology for Development Coordination unit, an initiaitve designed to deliver cross-sectoral digital services to UNICEF’s programs in-country, including U-Report, an SMS-based civic engagement tool with hundreds of thousands of users. As a result I like geek out about the nitty-gritty details of implementing SMS, and the unexpected gotchas of working with the technology. Looking forward to good conversations about how to deliver SMS and other digital services more efficiently and effectively!

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:wave: I’m Simon de Haan, I’m based in the Netherlands.

I’m the product lead for Praekelt.org’s work on WhatsApp. Previously I headed up engineering for Praekelt.org and led the development of the open-source Vumi SMS & USSD messaging platform. Vumi is what made initiatives like MomConnect in South Africa possible.

I’ve been working in the mobile messaging space since 2006, since 2009 with Praekelt.org. Until 2017 I spent most of my time on SMS, USSD & Voice for public good services in emerging markets. Since 2017 I’ve been focussing on IP messengers, specifically WhatsApp. I worry that the ship has sailed for SMS and USSD as a technology and usefulness for population scale programmes has largely run it’s course. I expect emerging markets will lead in seeing IP messengers put to use for public good service delivery.

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Hello, I’m Kai-Lik Foh, Program Director for the Mobile Network Integration (MNI) Program in DIAL, and I’m based in Singapore.

Most would agree that there is a huge opportunity in the power of mobile to reach the underserved, but that many projects in this space are finding it difficult to scale nationally due to the cost and time taken to procure and provision mobile services.

The MNI program explores opportunities for service and technical standardization (the topic of this forum) with the aggregator community, and complementing these efforts with market facilitation approaches to expose and aggregate NGO demand in country.

I look forward to a lively and open discussion on the extent to which we can define common service and technical requirements for the NGO community (and in particular, which channels are still relevant), and how that can directly or indirectly lower entry costs and improve service delivery for organizations aiming to roll out M4D services.

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Hello! Diana Sang here, and I am the Market Development Lead for the Mobile Network Integration team at DIAL. I am based in Nairobi, Kenya.

My digital development experience spans 4 years with the GSMA and 4 years with Airtel Africa, focused on the advancement of maternal and child health and acceleration of digital and financial inclusion for women respectively.

Despite OTT services threatening to marginalize core mobile services, the latter still thrives as a messaging platform of choice especially in developing countries, more so in rural areas. Take Tanzania for example, where SMS still accounts for MNOs’ biggest market today.

How can we collaborate to raise the bar on the quality and reach of digital development services that employ core mobile services? What could be done to reduce the cost of running these services? I would love to get people’s perspectives on these!

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Hello all!

I’m Murat Knecht, CTO of engageSPARK, a social not-for-profit business around automating communication. More here: http://engagespark.com

We’re building a communication automation platform with SMS and Voice calls. This platform is self-service, so anyone can (and does) sign up and uses it to communicate with people. For example, Mercy Corps has launched financial education campaigns with us. But the platform is now also the basis for products around inclusive hiring and recruiting, using other channels, too.

Before engageSPARK, I was working at IPTEGO / Acme Packet, a company providing solutions to monitor the quality of VOIP calls.

I live in Cebu, Philippines—if you like diving or snorkeling, drop by and say Hi. :slight_smile:

Cheers
murat

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Hello, I’m Luke Kyohere, CEO of Beyonic (https://beyonic.com)

We’re a two-way mobile payments aggregator based in East Africa, that provides APIs, web, mobile and USSD interfaces for simple management of bulk payments and mobile money collections at scale. We’re currently serving customers across all East African countries and a couple of West and Central African countries.

I’ve been working in the technology for development space since 2000. Before Beyonic, I was the group lead for mobile at Grameen Foundation. Prior to that, I worked with MTN Uganda, with MyC4 (a Danish based fin-tech company), and co-founded BeMobile, - an SMS VAS company that was acquired in 2010.

I live in Washington, DC, and I’m happy to join the discussion!

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Hello, I am Samuel Gikandi, CEO and co-founder at Africa’s Talking (www.africastalking.com). We work with Software Developers to help them solve local problems using infrastructure that is local to them. We also partner with infrastructure providers (mobile operators, banks and data centres) to help them to open up their infrastructure to software developers.

We currently operate in 7 countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi, Ethiopia and Nigeria) and are looking to increase our footprint in the coming years.

I have been building software commercially for 12 years (6 of them with AT and before that at Morgan Stanley) and my goal is to help Africa take full advantage of technology to transform its society.

Cheers!

  • Sam
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