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SmartLocate

Voice it or text it, now every disabled South African can request services using only a mobile app.

Photo of Coenie Louw
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What problem does your idea solve?

Disabled people need to experience day-to-day activities in the same way their able-bodied friends would. They need opportunities to participate in every aspect of life and engage in social activities, use public transport and libraries, move around in communities, receive adequate health care... To achieve that, they need access to services. Accessibility of services and social activities, or lack thereof, is the main barrier faced by disabled people.

Explain your idea

If you have ever used the location function of a smartphone to order an UBER or to drop a pin for a friend to find you... If you ever recharged a pay-as-you-go mobile phone... If you ever recorded your voice using your phone... Then you have experienced most elements of SmartLocate, which is a combination of mobile phone technology, recorded voice, USSD and a 3-word address that is linked to your exact GPS location. 70% of disabled people own a smartphone, 98% own any kind of mobile phone - making it ideal to ensure disabled people get access to services. Why USSD? It is menu-driven and works on any kind of mobile phone. Why a 3-word address? Informal settlements and rural areas do not have street addresses and 3 words are easier to remember than GPS coordinates. Why voice recordings? Voice mp3s cater for those who are visually impaired or cannot use their hands. How does it work? 1. Where are you? Send a please call me to SmartLocate and click on the link we send you - we locate your smartphone and assign you a 3-word address. 2. Who are you? You register in our database and complete your profile. 3. What are your needs? Our directory lists service providers and activities in your area, you log a service request and make an appointment. 4. Tell us what you think. Rate the service. No money? SmartLocate is free No smartphone? A friend with a smartphone can help you register, you can then use your basic feature phone for all future communication.

Who benefits?

If you are disabled and struggle with access to services, SmartLocate will soon be available throughout South Africa, regardless whether you have a known street address or not, what kind of phone you own, the nature of your disability or your age. Disabled people account for 7.5% of the South African population, estimated to be 4.125 million. Disability affects more than 1 billion people worldwide and making SmartLocate available as open source software will have a global impact.

How is your idea unique?

SmartLocate uses two existing technologies in an innovative way - USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) and what3words. A combination of these has never been used to address challenges faced by disabled people. It is unique because we can remotely assign a 3-word address and register you in our database. It is different from and better than conventional GPS location services because using words means that non-technical people can discover, understand, remember and share a 3-word address more easily than complicated GPS coordinates. It is more accurate than conventional GPS street address searches that drop pins in the middle of buildings, rather than at the entrance. SmartLocate has both text and voice capabilities, allowing people with a wide range of disabilities to use the app and according to expert feedback, SmartLocate is unique because it tackles access to services, which is usually an issue disabled people are left to grapple with.

Tell us more about you

Gateway Health Institute is a South African NGO based in Gauteng. Our current focus is on the use of technology to solve challenges. Bragging rights: in 2015 we were among the winners of Grand Challenges Explorations, and recently 2 of the 4 ideas invested in by Hivos Idea Accelerator, were ours. We have strong partnerships with NGOs, government and in the private sector. Our partner What3Words provided the addressing technology and MobiHealth Technologies is developing the SmartLocate app .

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

How do we get more businesses and service providers to adopt what3words as a system to locate their customers? Listing providers with a national presence is easy, how do we reach SMEs at local community level? How do we create a sustainable service through corporate advertising and a survey service? How do we ensure service providers communicate better, change attitudes, provide quality service and understand the needs of disabled people? Fadila, a quadriplegic said:" I would rather have my nails done by an expert in an uncomfortable salon space than by a student who is less qualified in the comfort of my own home. " It should not be assumed that disabled people are satisfied with less than the best. How do we change these attitudes?

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • South Africa

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.

Organizational Status

  • We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

Idea Maturity

  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests with prospective users to continue developing my idea.

How has your idea changed based on feedback?

Did you know that a quadriplegic in a rural area is more disabled than a quadriplegic living in Johannesburg? This is the most important lesson we learned. Simply put, disability is not restricted to a physical, sensory or intellectual impairment - it also depends on the barriers disabled people face. We included service providers we did not think of initially: mobile libraries and clinics, transport that accommodates guide dogs and wheelchairs and beauticians to name a few. We included social activities where disabled people can interact with those who are not disabled, such as community events. Service providers can be rated for attitude, communication, knowledge and understanding the client's needs. Feedback will enable providers to improve their services and sensitize staff. We developed a sustainable business case to keep SmartLocate a free service. We accommodated users without smartphones, who cannot submit voice mp3s via USSD, by involving our call center to assist.

Who will implement this idea?

Iterate, iterate, iterate! Piloting SmartLocate in the Mopani district, a rural area of Limpopo Province with a disabled community of almost 50 000 people, is the first step. ChoiCe Trust provides 72 Community Health Workers and 300 Home Visitors to create awareness and recruit subscribers. 7 Staff in Limpopo will run the pilot, supported by our office and call center in Gauteng. After iteration based on pilot results, the national roll-out will be implemented across all mobile phone networks.

Using a human-centered design approach, you may uncover insights that lead to small or foundational changes to your organization’s existing strategy or processes in order to unlock the potential of your idea. How would your organization go about making such changes?

Gateway believes in co-creation. We created a Google Drive folder aptly named "Playground" where staff members can post ideas, starting with a problem statement and proposed solution. Other staff members can then give input and feedback to develop the idea. Programmatic ideas are shared with beneficiary and stakeholder focus groups for their input in the design and content. When the idea evolves into a feasible project, the concept note is moved to a folder called "Pipeline" for sharing with partners and funders. Big decisions are made at planning sessions where the team is engaged in getting buy-in for new ideas/decisions through productive inquiry - questions, criticism and feedback allowing the team to own the decision/idea. The Board then ratifies decisions or send it back to the team.

What is it that most attracted you to Amplify instead of a more traditional funding model?

Amplify enables us to co-create. And in the process, we are challenged by difficult questions and feedback that seems impossible at first. The Amplify challenge allows for iteration and offers design support as well as financial rewards. Many funders only provide funds and look for ideas that are perfectly developed - Amplify allows room for improvement. Gateway is in the business of solving global challenges and Amplify gives us that opportunity.

What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?

1. We learned through feedback and focus groups that access to quality services coupled with attitudinal barriers such as stereotyping and stigma, and service providers' failure to understand their needs, are the main challenges faced by people with disabilities. These include access to social services, transport, financial, healthcare and simple day to day luxuries and entertainment. 2. System level challenges highlighted by beneficiaries include limited access, environmental barriers that exclude them from participation, public transport that is mostly inaccessible and poor communication experienced by people who have disabilities that affect hearing, speaking, reading, writing, and understanding, and who use different ways to communicate than people who do not have these disabilities.

Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question you need to answer to get there?

Impact: By 2022 we will empower 1.5 million disabled people in South Africa through improved access to quality services and opportunities, enabling them to live independent and full lives Question: How can we address and change service provider attitudes, knowledge, communication and understanding of the needs of people with disabilities, to effectively double the reach and uptake of SmartLocate by 2025?

How long have you and your colleagues been working on this idea together?

  • Less than 6 months

How many of your team’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed idea live?

  • Under 5 paid, full-time staff

Is your organization registered in the country you intend to implement your idea in?

  • We are registered in all countries where we plan to implement.

My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:

  • Between $50,000 and $100,000 USD

If your team/idea/organization has a website, please share the URL below.

http://www.gatewayhealthinstitute.org http://www.facebook.com/GatewayHI (Gateway's Facebook Page) http://www.what3words.com ( Map API provider) http://www.choicetrust.org.za (pilot partner) http://www.twitter.com/HIMHealth (Gateway's Twitter Account)
View more

Team (2)

Coenie's profile
Fadila's profile
Fadila Lagadien

Role added on team:

"Fadila organised a focus group discussion where we got some really good feedback and suggestions, as well as a clear indication of what disabled people want and don't want from service providers. One thing that stood out is the fact that disabled people do not want second best and need the same quality service their friends who are not disabled, would get."

Attachments (1)

SmartLocate.pdf

A short user experience map FYI.

56 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Ubuntu
Team

The lesson that disability is not restricted to a physical, sensory or intellectual impairment but also depends on the barriers disabled people face is one that we, too have encountered and learned from through our programs.

Amazing work you all are doing - we look forward to seeing your success in South Africa!

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Thank you, Ubuntu. It was a valuable lesson and made us look differently at disability - it is not a singular issue. Yes, we have some questions still to answer, and some more thought to put into our own challenges, but I do believe SmartLocate will change the lives of many for the better.

Best wishes on your own efforts in Kenya! And maybe soon we can replicate SmartLocate in Kenya too.

Photo of Lesa R. Walker MD, MPH
Team

Innovative idea to enable access to services for people with disabilities!! Are there any persons with disabilities on your project development staff or who work with you as paid consultants? What assurances do you have from service providers that will be listed in the app that they are aware of and have put in place accommodations to be able to provide quality services to people with disabilities?

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Hi Lesa,
Yes, we have 1 paid staff member and 1 volunteer who work on this project who has various degrees of disability. Our most valuable input came from focus group discussions comprising disabled people with a variety of disabilities. Service providers have to commit to minimum standards of quality service, but I guess the proof will be in the pudding... Our client ratings will be fed back to service providers and will hopefully improve the quality of services they provide.

Photo of Lesa R. Walker MD, MPH
Team

Great! Thanks!

Photo of Nguyen Loan
Team

Thank for your wonderful idea!!!

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Thank you very much Loan, hopefully, we will soon be able to make it available globally as open source software.

Photo of Aishwarya J
Team

Thank you for the insights Coenie. Long way to go, Good luck Coenie Louw

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Hi Coenie Louw and team,

We’re excited to share with you feedback and questions from the Amplify team and an external set of experts. We encourage you to think about this feedback as you continue to improve and refine your idea. You are welcome to respond in the comments section and/or to incorporate feedback into the text of your idea. Your idea and all associated comments will all be reviewed during the final review process.

-The idea is new and has lot of potential for benefit to people with disabilities, especially those who have mobility issues. It is simple, user-friendly and has scope for range of benefits for the users.
-The idea has the potential for adaptation for other types of disabilities who have communication or typing issues.
-This idea addresses the need of access which is normally not addressed directly and left for person with disability to struggle with.
-The use of mobile phone technology for enhanced access to services at the fingertips of people with disabilities is an idea with potential impact and benefits for the end-users.
-What3Words and telephones are both existing technologies, but their use to provide services specifically to people living with disabilities is a new approach that could prove very interesting.
-How would this approach work better or differently than other GPS location sharing services?
-A potential key challenges could be outreach for those rural people who do not use mobile phone technology.
-Who pays for the app - the consumer or the service providers? We’d love to learn more about your business model.
-How have you considered the needs of the businesses that would be providing services to the users?
-Is the intent to expand this idea to beyond health care services? If so, is there a supply of businesses that are able and willing to meet this demand
-Does the Gateway Health Institute already work with health service providers who are willing to travel to provide their services?

In case you missed it, check out this Storytelling Toolkit for inspiration for crafting strong and compelling stories: http://ideo.to/DXld5g Storytelling is an incredibly useful tool to articulate an idea and make it come to life for those reading it. Don’t forget - June 4 at 11:59PM PST is your last day to make changes to your idea on the OpenIDEO platform.

Have questions? Email us at amplify@ideo.org

Looking forward to reading more!

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Dear Amplify team
After our focus group discussions, here are some answers to your questions and comments:
-The idea is new and has lot of potential for benefit to people with disabilities, especially those who have mobility issues. It is simple, user-friendly and has scope for range of benefits for the users.
We have learned that disability is not only the physical disability itself but also relates to accessibility and mobility: a quadriplegic in a rural area is therefore more disabled than a quadriplegic in an urban area.
-The idea has the potential for adaptation for other types of disabilities who have communication or typing issues.
We included voice functionality from the start. Another way we made SmartLocate more user friendly was to include simple menu driven communication.
In the district where we plan to do a pilot - the Mopani District in Limpopo Province, there are (according to the last Census done in 2011):
Disabilities:
Sight: a lot of difficulty 2921 men; 5165 females - Cannot do at all 849 men; 1123 females
Hearing: a lot of difficulty: 1495 men; 2295 females - Cannot do at all: 903 men; 1058 females
Communication: a lot of difficulty: 2282 men; 2293 females - Cannot do at all:3895 men; 3907 females
Physical: a lot of difficulty: 2321 men; 4472 females -Cannot do at al: 3114 men; 3386 females
Wheelchair bound: 6575 men; 7448 females
Total women: 31124 Total Men: 24355 ; Grand Total: 55479
We believe this demographic of people with disabilities allowing us to test both the written and voice communication capabilities of SmartLocate.
-This idea addresses the need of access which is normally not addressed directly and left for person with disability to struggle with.
-The use of mobile phone technology for enhanced access to services at the fingertips of people with disabilities is an idea with potential impact and benefits for the end-users.
-What3Words and telephones are both existing technologies, but their use to provide services specifically to people living with disabilities is a new approach that could prove very interesting.
We are very happy to have partnered with What3Words and our tech partners Digitata Ltd and MobiHealth Technologies
-How would this approach work better or differently than other GPS location sharing services?
Firstly, we can assign a 3-word address and register a user in our system remotely by locating the user's smartphone. The registration process is simple and easy, when a user then contact us again, we immediately know who it is and where they are. A 3-word address is also much easier to remember/recall than GPS coordinates.
Some will have to rely on assistants/family/friends to help them obtain a 3-word address remotely, and will then register in the system.
-A potential key challenges could be outreach for those rural people who do not use mobile phone technology.
That may be true. However, we believe those without mobile phones will have family/assistants living at the same address. We also use the USSD technology to reach specifically those without data/internet coverage. We will also use community health workers and home care visitors to reach out to disabled people and help them register in the system.
-Who pays for the app - the consumer or the service providers? We’d love to learn more about your business model. End users cannot afford to pay for mobile phone based services - our intention is to render the service free of charges. Service Providers on the other hand will have several benefits from registering in the directory - CSR, CSI, new market segment and increased revenue streams. While registration in the directory will be free, service providers will pay a nominal fee for each service request passed on to them. We also include ethical advertising by service providers to end-users provided permission is given. To sustain SmartLocate as a free service we will also render a survey service - where government, service providers like banks, other NGOs working with people with disabilities etc. can pay for USSD based surveys of our beneficiaries.
-How have you considered the needs of the businesses that would be providing services to the users?
Yes. Service providers will have to be mobile - a good example is Standard Bank's mobile agents.
Need to take care of safety of their staff.
Need to adopt using what3words and use an app like Google Maps to navigate to the 3-word address.
Our directory will automatically list service providers available in the end-user’s vicinity.
From our focus group discussion, we learnt that people with disabilities want service providers to be sensitized and educated on the needs of people with disabilities.
-Is the intent to expand this idea to beyond health care services? If so, is there a supply of businesses that are able and willing to meet this demand
Yes, started engaging with Financial Service Providers, Transport, courier, pharmacies, and on request with beauty salons.

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Dear Amplify team
After our focus group discussions, here are some answers to your questions and comments:
-The idea is new and has lot of potential for benefit to people with disabilities, especially those who have mobility issues. It is simple, user-friendly and has scope for range of benefits for the users.
We have learned that disability is not only the physical disability itself but also relates to accessibility and mobility: a quadriplegic in a rural area is therefore more disabled than a quadriplegic in an urban area.
-The idea has the potential for adaptation for other types of disabilities who have communication or typing issues.
We included voice functionality from the start. Another way we made SmartLocate more user friendly was to include simple menu driven communication.
In the district where we plan to do a pilot - the Mopani District in Limpopo Province, there are (according to the last Census done in 2011):
Disabilities:
Sight: a lot of difficulty 2921 men; 5165 females - Cannot do at all 849 men; 1123 females
Hearing: a lot of difficulty: 1495 men; 2295 females - Cannot do at all: 903 men; 1058 females
Communication: a lot of difficulty: 2282 men; 2293 females - Cannot do at all:3895 men; 3907 females
Physical: a lot of difficulty: 2321 men; 4472 females -Cannot do at al: 3114 men; 3386 females
Wheelchair bound: 6575 men; 7448 females
Total women: 31124 Total Men: 24355 ; Grand Total: 55479
We believe this demographic of people with disabilities allows us to test both the written and voice communication capabilities of SmartLocate.
-This idea addresses the need of access which is normally not addressed directly and left for person with disability to struggle with.
-The use of mobile phone technology for enhanced access to services at the fingertips of people with disabilities is an idea with potential impact and benefits for the end-users.
-What3Words and telephones are both existing technologies, but their use to provide services specifically to people living with disabilities is a new approach that could prove very interesting.
We are very happy to have partnered with What3Words and our tech partners Digitata Ltd and MobiHealth Technologies
-How would this approach work better or differently than other GPS location sharing services?
Firstly, we can assign a 3-word address and register a user in our system remotely by locating the user's smartphone. The registration process is simple and easy, when a user then contact us again, we immediately know who it is and where they are. A 3-word address is also much easier to remember/recall than GPS coordinates.
Some will have to rely on assistants/family/friends to help them obtain a 3-word address remotely, and will then register in the system.
-A potential key challenges could be outreach for those rural people who do not use mobile phone technology.
That may be true. However, we believe those without mobile phones will have family/assistants living at the same address. We also use the USSD technology to reach specifically those without data/internet coverage. We will also use community health workers and home care visitors to reach out to disabled people and help them register in the system.
-Who pays for the app - the consumer or the service providers? We’d love to learn more about your business model. End users cannot afford to pay for mobile phone based services - our intention is to render the service free of charges. Service Providers on the other hand will have several benefits from registering in the directory - CSR, CSI, new market segment and increased revenue streams. While registration in the directory will be free, service providers will pay a nominal fee for each service request passed on to them. We also include ethical advertising by service providers to end-users provided permission is given. To sustain SmartLocate as a free service we will also render a survey service - where government, service providers like banks, other NGOs working with people with disabilities etc. can pay for USSD based surveys of our beneficiaries.
-How have you considered the needs of the businesses that would be providing services to the users?
Yes. Service providers will have to be mobile - a good example is Standard Bank's mobile agents.
Need to take care of safety of their staff.
Need to adopt using what3words and use an app like Google Maps to navigate to the 3-word address.
Our directory will automatically list service providers available in the end-user’s vicinity.
From our focus group discussion, we learnt that people with disabilities want service providers to be sensitized and educated on the needs of people with disabilities.
-Is the intent to expand this idea to beyond health care services? If so, is there a supply of businesses that are able and willing to meet this demand
Yes, started engaging with Financial Service Providers, Transport, courier, pharmacies, and on request with beauty salons.

Photo of Rowan
Team

Such a great idea! Whilst this has utility across all walks of life, I love that the first thought is for those with the highest need. Often this type of innovation is targeted towards the wider public, with secondary refinement for other segments that are less marketable. That being said, the ability to offer this to the wider consumer opens up the possibility for greater revenue and thus floating the costs for supporting access to those who cannot afford mobile phones or similar devices.

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Hi Rowan

Thank you much for seeing the bigger picture - you can just imagine what this platform can do for the elderly, or chronically ill or People Living with HIV, to name but a few.

We will definitely not limit uptake of the service among others who need it.

Our aim to provide this service free to end-users means we have to lean on service providers to ensure sustainability - in the end they do benefit from an increased target market and revenue streams.
We are also looking at ethical advertising and a survey service as ways to sustain the "free" nature of SmartLocate....
Best
Coenie

Photo of Aishwarya J
Team

Is SmartLocate going to be available in South Africa only or do you plan on expanding your service to other countries as well?

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Hi Aishwarya

Thanks for already seeing how it can be replicated in future.

We will pilot test it in South Africa in a district with a population of about 400000 (7.5% of them being disabled), roll it out nationally in SA and then make the software we developed
and implementation plan available to organizations anywhere that are capable of replicating and implementing it in other countries. In other words we will make the APIs and APKs and stuff available as open source software for not for profits (NGOs), but will require organizations to be trained to ensure the successful implementation of the program in other countries.
Would you like to join our team here on the OpenIdeo challenge to learn from the experience?

Best Coenie

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Dear Amplify team

Thank you for the positive feedback as well as the questions.

We had a focus group discussion on the 24th of May which included quadruplegics and blind people with the specific aim of getting feedback from people with disabilities on how to improve SmartLocate to be as inclusive as possible - we received some great input during the discussion.
Today we have a meeting with Special Olympics SA to discuss improvements to accommodate people with special needs. Once we have all this feedback collated, we will answer your questions as best we can, and will them improve SmartLocate to include suggestions made . Watch this space!

Thanks Much
Coenie

Photo of Aishwarya J
Team

It is a unique idea indeed! Good luck!

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

THank you! I am happy to say we are collaborating with BeAccessible - another idea on this platform to also assist people with disabilities in Accessing places and events in their communities to ensure their communities are more inclusive and more opportunities arise for people with disabilities.

Coenie

Photo of Phelisa Jela
Team

Great idea. I really like it!
Keep up the great work Coenie. This will really help a lot of us out there. Thank you so much.
Phelisa Jela

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Thank you Phelisa. On another note after discussions with some people with disabilities there also seems to be a need for people with disabilities to locate places and events in their communities where they can interact with able bodied people - which they feel will also address stigma. What do you think?

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Hi Coenie,

I love this idea. I like that it is even accessible for those who don’t have a phone. A few questions:

How would they call the service, via a neighbor’s phone?
Would it be possible to also do an icon system for those who are illiterate?
Finally, is it also IVR activated for the blind?
Who is the owner of the technology now and would all telecom providers be able to use it?

Apologies if you’ve already answered any of these questions, I looked at the previous comments to see.

Thanks! Virginia

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Hi Virginia, thanks for the questions.

The system will not be available to those who do not have a phone - it is available to those who do not have a smart phone. Meaning any kind of phone not just Smart Phones.... However, yes, those who do not have a phone can register using a neigbour's phone if it has to be like that.
Registration will be possible with smartphone tech and USSD.
Only condition is that each phone is linked to only one disabled person, so the neighbour will have to be able bodied and should be willing to let our disabled beneficiary borrow their phone from time to time... Then the system will work just fine.

Yes we can and will use icons for illiterate people - very good point you make.

It is defintely IVR activated for the blind - as you can see on the screenshots we "can get permission to control a phone's microphone"

I am owner of the technology and IP - to the benefit of Gateway Health Institute. Our USSD string to dial the *120* xyz# number will work across all networks.
We will however make the technology available to organizations in other countries capable of offering a similar service for disabled people in those countries based on the charitable premise of open source technology.

Hope it answers most of your questions

Thanks again
Coenie

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Yes this answers my questions. I think you have a very scaleable, sustainable and worthy idea. I wish you the best! V

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Thank you very much! We are working hard to improve the app and every question we get helps to guide us.

C

Photo of Bronwyn
Team

Hi Coenie,

Well done! Great idea. Has an approach been made to the national department of health in order for them to use this system to roll out community health service providers? If so, what stance have they taken?

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Hi Bronwym

The NDOH is always part og the plan. However, from experience we have learnt that they want evidence. For that purpose we will tast this in Limpopo Province where we have 72 Community Health Workers at our disposal in collaboration with district nd provincial health departments. After the pilot test we will take it to NDoH.

Best
Coenie

Photo of Clare Jones
Team

It's great to see this idea, Coenie and team, and we're so pleased to be working with you on using 3 word addresses to help people access services. We're here to help if you need any support for this project.

Very excited to see it in action and learn from your experiences to see if it can be replicated elsewhere.

- Clare

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

HI Clare

Thanks for the kind words of encouragement.

In order to ensure the SmartLocate service can be replicated elsewhere, we will make it available as open source software to not for profit organizations outside South Africa.

Best
Coenie

Photo of Cindy Nell
Team

Hi Coenie,

Great innovation. The main focus is on rural areas. How will you deal with the language barriers and illiterate,as we are well aware that most of these people don't understand other languages than their own due to them being isolated etc? Thanks Cindy

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Hi Cindy

We have done similar for a project aimed at girls and young women before. In Zimbabwe we translated everything into Shona and Ndebele for instance. Users then have the option to select their language preference as part of their profiles. Even instructions are in their home language. We also translated into Zulu before . The second thing is that there is also a VoIP version - with voice for those who cannot read or are visually impaired. Lastly because we also use field workers who can physically visit our beneficiaries, we can set up the service specifically for the specific end-users needs.

Best
Coenie

Photo of Belinda Grant
Team

Hi Coenie, 

love the idea, how does it work if you don't have a smartphone? would it work via a simple SMS? and how would it be linked to health care professionals? Would there be a call centre to manage and dispatch or are areas linked to certain hospitals/Clinics? Thanks Belinda

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Hi Belinda

For those not having a smart phone we use USSD technology. If you have ever topped up pay as you go airtime, then you have used USSD. Unstructured Supplementary service data - is very low cost and does not require a data connection. It works on any kind of phone.
We will mostly use USSD for those without smartphones, but also a long code SMS service to receive requests, and send responses. The service remians free to end-users i.e. people with disabilities in this case.

Best
Coenie

Photo of Karina Jefferson
Team

Hi Coenie,

It warms my heart that someone is finalling doing something about the inaccessibility for mentally or physically disabled individuals.

If I understand correctly, this is an app that the disabled individuals can use. These individuals in rural areas are the most in need as they are mostly ignored or bullied. Families often orphan children with disabilities, this means these individuals will have no funds to buy a mobile device and would therefore not be able to make use of this. Do you perhaps have any plans to assist acquiring the means to use this app?

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Hi Karina
The service will also be available in a USSD - Unstructured Supplementary Service Data - format which allows for access from any kind of phone (not only smartphones) and does not require data/imternet.
Most of our USSD services are free to end-users . We do this especially for users in remote rural areas who cannot afford to pay for the airtime or data. Part of our sustainability plan - to continue offering the free service - is to create revenue streams such as listings in the directory, surveys, advertising with end user permission of course.
USSD has been proven a successful communication tool and combined with long code SMS numbers we can receive requests from end-users and send responses at no cost to the end user. The only downside here is that one of our field workers has to physically visit the disabled person to assign them with a a 3-word address - but through our work in KwaNdengezi Durban, we have proved that it is doable.
It is all about having the ability to locate a person - after that, whether we use smartphones or any feature phone is equally possible.

Best
Coenie

Photo of Tanya Adamson
Team

Hi!
When do you see this project starting and are you planning to gather volunteers to help with "marketing" getting it used and out there?

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Hello Tanya

We have just assigned SmartLocate to one of our project managers to develop a marketing strategy. The strategy will include networks of disabled people , organizations and associations working for or with people with disabilities. Volunteers will form a large part of the effort. In Limpopo where we are pilot testing we have 300 home visitors and 72 community healthcare workers assisting us.
The pilot test in Limpopo will start by end May . Signing up service providers to list in the directory will be a full time job - assigned to marketers.

Hope it makes sense

Best
Coenie

Photo of Cri-zelda Brits
Team

Hi Coenie,

Wow what an awesome concept.

What are your strategies around user adoption for the relevant people? I'm sure projects like these are only successful if used correctly and sufficiently by all parties involved?

Regards

Cri-Zelda

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Hallo Cri-zelda

Thanks for the question! We have a person-centered approach, meaning we involved beneficiaries from the start in the design and development of the app. This iterative process increases the beneficiary ownership of SmartLocate on a basis of nothing for us, without us...
Adoption by users is also an important research question for us as indicated by beneficiaries i.t.o. acceptability, affordability and ease of use for both disabled people as well as service providers.
There are also clear benefits to end-users, revenue for service providers through an increased customer base and an increased ability to function independently for disabled people.
I can send you our Marketing Plan for SmartLocate if needed.

Best
Coenie

Photo of Cri-zelda Brits
Team

That would be great thanks and good luck!

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Send an email to louwc@ghi.ngo and I will reply with the document!

Photo of Barry Griffin
Team

Hi Coenie

Do you plan to monetize the Directory of service providers available to people with disabilities and how?

Great project that can have real impact!

Regards
Barry

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Hi Barry

Initially business and service providers would be approached to use the 3-word addresses as a way to reach their disabled customers. There will be a period when the listing will be free of charge. We will also offer businesses and service providers value added services such as
1. advertising messages - with consent from end-users to receive such
2. Surveys - businesses and organizations can conduct surveys via our app... with again consent from our end-users
Later on we will have to charge a nominal fee for directory listing because we need to have a sustainable business model and need streams of revenue...
Best
Coenie

Photo of Fadila Lagadien
Team

Hi Coenie, can you please have a look at my idea and see if you can support it and or provide some feedback that I might be able to incorporate into t to make it more feasible?

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

HI Fadila

Of course I will. Please email me a link to louwc@ghi.ngo to speed up the process.
Will gladly give some input.

Best
Coenie

Photo of Ashley Tillman
Team

Hi Coenie,

What an interesting and impactful project! It seems like this product/service has some impressive applications, I'd love to learn more about how you are designing your product specifically for people with disabilities in mind. I'd also love to learn a little more about your prototype or pilot testing (where did you test, whom did you test the concept with and what did you learn?). Don't forget to include a link to your website too!

Make sure to check out the Challenge Brief: http://bit.ly/2nMVqGZ + the Evaluation Criteria: http://bit.ly/2nkRpYz + if you want some additional tips for creating your post: https://challenges.openideo.com/blog/anatomy-of-a-challenge-idea

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Hi Ashley

Thanks for the compliments.

Well, we are still refining the prototype, I will post a link soon to enable users/contributors/you to test it for themselves.
It is based on a combination of smartphone tech, USSD tech and voice (for those who are blind or with poor vision etc). I think I indicated that we tested it with a small group of people, meaning iteration as we go along. So, maybe I should edit my contribution to make it clearer that once the current system is refined we will pilot test it properly.
SmartLocate does not yet feature on our website as it is a totally new concept.
I will update our website soon to include all our new projects, but will include it on the OpenIdeo page. For your information http://www.gatewayhealthinstitute.org

I will have a look at all the links and will refine our contribution as we go along. As soon as I have a test link, I will let you know.

Best
Coenie

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Hi Ashley

I am uploading some screenshots of SmartLocate to give you an idea of where we are going with this. I will also upload a video later in the day of how SmartLocate can be used.

Best
Coenie

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Hi Ashley

I uploaded a video - a bit home-made and poor quality, but nevertheless.... it gives you an idea of what we are trying to do...

Photo of Ashley Tillman
Team

Hi Coenie, thanks so much for all the additional information!

Photo of Fadila Lagadien
Team

Hi Coenie, This looks like a promising project given our proliferation of informal settlements with no cleat addresses. I am interested to know though how you will get buy-in from service providers both to use the app and to deliver services in the manner in which you intend given that service delivery in general is lacking?

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Hi Fadila

Thanks for your questions.

Service delivery is lacking, you bare right. The idea behind this project is to improve service delivery to disabled people as well as in general.
More and more service providers - like couriers, healthcare companies etc. are recognising the benefit of being able to locate a customer, especially in areas where there are no clear address - street names and numbers. Their interest stems from both increased revenue and customer satisfaction. and of course social responsibility. In countries like Puerto Rico and Brazil what3words is already successfully used by service providers. In South Africa our job will be to sign up service providers to use the technology (which is a very easy process for them), In healthcare for instance we are using community health workers who are very keen on having the ability to lacte people in need of their service.
However, signing up other service providers, is a human resources intensive project - agents have to engage them and explain to them the benefits and ease of use. But we are optimistic that our directory available to people with disabilities in various districts will grow rapidly.
We also use our relationship with for instance the National Department of Health to advocate for the use of technology to reach people that are traditionally categorized as "hard to reach".
Further we have partners like Open Data Durban who have good relationships with local governments which enables us to reach out in terms of municipal service delivery like utilities - water and electricity - and emergency services - fire, ambulances etc.
The scope of SmartLocate is very wide and while we focus on people with disabilities at the moment, it will be available on a wider scale to residents of remote and informal areas.
Best
Coenie

Photo of Fadila Lagadien
Team

It all sounds very promising - I hope it works out. I will track you as I am also disabled and am always interested in solutions for us.

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

HI Fadila

Thanks for the good wishes. Would you like to help us test the SmartLocate app as soon as we are ready to test some of its features? It is always good to have members of the beneficiary community involved.
Best
Coenie

Photo of Fadila Lagadien
Team

Absolutely! It would be my pleasure. I am in Centurion. fadila@beaccessible.co.za

Photo of Alexis
Team

Hi Coenie,

This is a fascinating and necessary project that I can imagine will really help to enhance the quality of life of persons in South Africa. I am interested to know though how this specifically ties into the challenge's goals of combating stigma and increasing the opportunities for persons with disabilities. I think you can argue it indirectly, but your proposal will be strengthened by more explicitly connecting your dots with stigma and opportunities.

Photo of Coenie Louw
Team

Hi Alexis

The use of SmartLocate will eventually not be limited to South Africa. Organizations outside SA wishing to replicate will have full access to open source APIs - provided they are not for profit.
I will elaborate on how access to social and emergency services as well as products will decrease stigma and discrimination against people with disabilities. Also uploading some screenshots of SmartLocate now, and a video in a bit. Thanks for the advice.
Best
Coenie