MEX: Mobile Mandate, Robert, Frog Design

We've been collectively frustrated by the gap between aspirations and reality. What are the most meaningful things that we can touch with the device - areas like healthcare, education?

Robert tells a story about Zinny (sp?) - AIDS sufferer admitted to hospital, one of the first few to be put on an ARV programmer who recovered. She started an organisation with a Harvard-trained doctor to run a treatment and education programme in S. Africa.

Frog ManTalks about ARV projects which are complex to manage - information and help is needed to manage tests and treatment, and they're falling behind. Most people come in for tests when they're already in a poor condition: low survival rate, difficulty in completing any ARV programme.

The system right now doesn't work for them. They need to reach more people - not the 120k folks they're working with now, but the 40% of the population of the local area at risk.

They get leverage through mobile technologies. How can they use mobile to reach out, get people to test, and encourage them to stick with treatment?

Launched 2008 with a mobile outreach campaign. 80-90% of S.Africa have access to a mobile, 90% prepay. They have an SMS-like service, 6 free messages/day when you run out of minutes that let you send a v short message for a phone number: the message being "please call me". There's a bit of spare space in these messages. They got the second-largest operator to donate 5% of its inventory of this space (priced at $250,000 p.a. - not bad for reaching a million people a day). That's a million messages containing worthwhile AIDS/HIV information, "the worlds biggest field trial of mobile health technology".


This is the *only* way to reach these people. Next step: testing and ongoing support.

There's a huge revolution in low-cost diagnostics. The kits are routinely stolen and cost $18 apiece - there's a huge demand for them.

Mobile is not one channel, it's many. What about voicemail - 90s of audio delivered into mailboxes for free, e.g. a message from Nelson Mandela encouraging them to test. You need a model that brings these today (this sounds like the "seams" topic we covered at Future of Mobile last year).

Instructions on the kits are paired with numbers you can call for support at each step. How do we keep people aware throughout? With various calls to action. A local record label had its stars endorse and get tested at the hospital - ensuring this was seen as a locally supported campaign. They user-tested instructions on young men getting HIV tested for the first time.

Frogs US clients are desperately interested in this too - getting people to actively engage with healthcare.

What's missing? Good design. People need feedback. It's not about haptic feedback and rich media. We need partnerships - with Nokia, Nike, anyone with vested interests in these markets.

Frog is committing to one catalyst project per year in mobile health. Currently considering: depression/mood support, social willpower, counterfeit drugs.