MoveeCom: SA’s Mobile Internet Cafe

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MoveeCom Picts - CopyRight - 4The Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Tech-I annual competition for science and technology entrepreneurs from emerging countries is back, bigger and better.  This year, the finalists will receive a trip to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) held in Silicon Valley where they will be given a chance to showcase their ventures and receive rigorous training.

Nunnovation caught up with one of the semi-finalists representing South Africa, Matsebe Phasha from the Limpopo province.  Phasha is the Innovation Concept Founder and co-developer of MoveeCom, a mobile internet cafe and services kiosk.

Nunn: Take us through MoveeCom? What is it about?

MoveeCom Mobile Internet Café (MoveeCom MIC) is a Mobile Internet and Services Kiosk that will connect both urban and remote areas to the internet as well as computing facilities for public access. On-board and virtual services include but not limited to general computing services and applications, faxing, scanning, copying, printing, electronic vouchers selling, internet services, telephony, etc.

The operator will drive the unit to areas where demand for the services will arise at either scheduled times or on ad-hoc basis driven by the need for services.

Nunn: What motivated you to come up with the idea?

IMG_3674An eagerness to contribute toward humanity through closing digital divide.  The trigger was in 2008 when I was still at the University of the Western Cape and I was now closely exposed to the world of computing as well as the internet; and that would not be the case when the institution was closed and we were back to our homes.

It came to my mind that for me the situation it temporary and for others whom some were my age at the time, the situation was permanent. We were progressing through the information that we would access on our fingertips whilst others would not even touch a computer.

The idea of a mobile internet café that would reach as many people as possible within various environments where managing closely Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) and Operational Expenditure (OPEX) efficiencies would be very important for sustainability came into my mind.

MoveeCom Mobile Internet Café is an Information and Communication Technology For Development (ICT4D) development propelled by Social Enterprise thinking that says “address societal challenges through solutions and drive usage interest that would over a period of time become a profitable venture that is embraced by many who derive value that improves their lives one way or the other”.

Nunn: How do you plan on improving the service going forward?

We are still working on the MoveeCom MIC project as such we haven’t deployed the current version of the unit to the public but only one deployed 1st prototype that we previously used to survey the market. The 1st prototype unit had numerous challenges but it served well for the purpose of surveying the market as the services are almost the same but it had ergonomics and overall design challenges.

Hence for the current MoveeCom MIC we’ve employed the services of the Industrial Designer to assist with many aspects around design and other key activities.

Nunn: What has been the reaction from people regarding the mobile internet café?

The reaction was very diverse – this is from user testing session.  Some people would asked where else are this units for them to be able to access them when they need the services and some people would see business opportunity and ask where they could by the unit to run their business. In one specific incident a man who had just gone on pension said that he has his pension money and his daughter had just finished from the university some few months ago; and was unemployed and he saw an opportunity for him to buy it for her if it was available in the market for here to run a small IT end-user services business.

Nunn: You’re one of the semi-finalists for GIST 2016, how was the experience been?

It comes with mixed emotions, pressure and ultimately with excitement; to say the experts who sit on the panel of Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST)  whom most don’t come from disadvantaged background but made it their duty not to ignore sufferings and challenges that many people endure; recognised MoveeCom MIC as one of the solutions to help improve people’s lives, that recognition is fulfilling. It ignites the “keep on working hard on this because societal development pioneers are watching” feeling.

It is very encouraging to be recognised by an astute international body that is pro-development at all levels – both at grassroots and affluent levels alike.

Nunn: As a semi-finalist, what does this mean for your business?

It has opened doors in numerous ways and within the few weeks of GIST announcement process there are few prospects that are coming into play. We may not disclose the details at this point until such time the conversations are solid and it is agreed that some pronouncements can be made.

Nunn: Any last words?

As for 2016 Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Technology Innovation (Tech-I) completion; we call upon our South African population and the citizens of the world who believe in Information and Communication Technology For Development (ICT4D) as well as Digital Inclusion to rally behind our project by voting for us at: www.gistnetwork.org.

We are Africa, We Innovate for the World!

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