Vodafone Partners with Connected World Forum in Dubai

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, September 17, 2011 --(PR.com)-- Mobile pioneers Vodafone are the operating partners for the upcoming, groundbreaking Connected World Forum in Dubai from 31 October to 3 November, which will showcase next-generation mobile applications and services in the money, health, education and agricultural sectors.

“Vodafone is the consummate partner for the Connected World Forum as the mobile industry is a constantly evolving one,” says event director Sonum Puri. She continues: “From pioneering the hugely successful mobile money transfer business in Kenya and Tanzania, Vodafone have been able to build on this achievement by developing what they have termed 'mobile lifeline services' and running parallel or adjacent services.”

Michael Joseph, who led Safaricom’s M-PESA success in Kenya for many years and current strategic advisor to Vodafone Money Transfer, will address the Connected World Forum on “How mobile money is accelerating innovation in the developing world.” The event will bring together experts in the realm of innovative apps and services, regulators, banks, governments and MNOs who will share their success stories and the lessons they have learned in the market place so far.

Vodafone: building cross sector partnerships
Vodafone Group External Affairs Director Matthew Kirk says the group’s mobile services in money, education and agriculture have shown that, “A mobile phone company can’t do it alone, and one of the important lessons we have learnt from the adjacent areas is to build cross sector partnerships.”

Commenting on Safaricom success with M-PESA Mathew Kirk says: “We did a lot of work at the time looking at the social impact of mobile - how people would use the technology and how it would enable them to improve their lives and their economic opportunities. The speed of take-up of handling money in Kenya (bearing in mind that mobile in Kenya was still a very much new technology platform for communications) was much greater than we or anyone had anticipated. That really showed us just how strong a need this type of service was fulfilling.”

Mobile Agriculture
He sees agriculture as another mobile lifeline service, after mobile money, education and health: “Agriculture is important because of the proportion of the population engaged in agriculture in emerging economies. One of the striking features of agriculture is that the basic information that you would be accustomed to finding without much difficulty in North America and Europe, simply doesn’t exist in the same way in Africa or India, which makes it that much more difficult to bring improvements in systems that create new opportunities.”

People willing to trust their mobile phones
He says the success of M-PESA, particularly in Kenya and Tanzaia, has proved the case for further mobile lifeline products and services: “Not just M-PESA, but also other innovations have undoubtedly shown that people are willing to trust their mobile phones for more than just basic communication, and as the technology we put into their hands becomes more sophisticated; the price of smart phones comes down (not just the high end ones but more basic ones that give internet access); and networks improve, internet access gets better – then the range of services you can offer with a handheld device will become greater and will feed new innovation and business models.”

Mobile services also for developed markets
Vodafone’s Matthew Kirk believes that mobile services can be successful in both developed and emerging markets: “There are good examples in developed markets, but in terms of mobile money, the demand gap has not been as great in the developed markets. You have large networks of ATMs and internet banking and so forth, so the ability to access basic financial services is already well spread and well available. The demand gap of mobile provision is much smaller, but still there are a number of initiatives pushing into this area. Healthcare is a huge opportunity and if you take the right approach in mobile healthcare, you can make the delivery system both more efficient and more personalised to meet the needs of an individual.”

The Connected World Forum consists of three separate streams: Mobile Health, Mobile Money Global and Mobile Life.

Event dates: 31 Oct- 3 Nov
Location: Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai, UAE

Connected World Forum
Annemarie Roodbol
+27 21 700 3558