Mobile for impact: meet the winners of the mBillionth South Asia Awards 2018Madanmohan Rao
In this article, we present the winners and special mentions for the mBillionth mobile excellence awards, along with juror insights.
Each year, the mBillionth Awards recognises and honours outstanding mobile content and apps from across South Asia. A jury put together by the Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) screens the nominees online, followed by a full day of face-to-face discussion and debates.
A total of 154 nominations were received from across South Asia this year, from which 130 were shortlisted. The number of final winners was 60, along with 23 special mentions. The largest number of shortlisted nominations was from India (48), followed by Bangladesh (7), Pakistan (3), Sri Lanka (2) and Nepal (2).
Nominations are judged for excellence based on impact, testimonials, innovation, usability, accessibility, design, and effective use of technology. (See also my previous photo essay and winner write-ups from earlier mBillionth Awards).
“The innovative ways in which digital and mobile solutions have been deployed in healthcare, especially pre-natal and neo-natal, will pave the way for easy and affordable healthcare facilities even in remote areas,” said Ashish Garg, Consultant at NIELIT, Ministry of Electronics & IT, Government of India.
Having annual awards for mobile excellence collates new ideas as well as documents the history of the future, she added. The awards function in New Delhi included a day of panel discussions on mobile empowerment, along with networking between participants and domain experts from industry and government.
“The vibrant technology ecosystem in India means that not only are we generating solutions for national development goals but that most of them can be offered to the rest of the world as well. This is indeed a huge opportunity for India to support global development goals,” said Suhel Bidani, Lead – Digital & Supply Chain, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“Information sharing is quicker, knowledge is more accessible and comfort is customizable, thanks to mobile solutions available to us today,” observed Dipti Kumar, Director for Digital Engagement, US Consulate General, Chennai.
“Though India is in a telecom boom, with many users experiencing the internet for the first time on mobile phones, there are still large digital divides in rural areas,” cautioned Osama Manzar, Founder of DEF. “Bullet trains can wait, India needs bullet internet,” he joked.
Here is the list of winners, special mentions and shortlisted nominations in 10 categories, with links to the organisations’ websites or apps as relevant (the default country is India). In subsequent columns, we will feature insights from the winners, success tips, and emerging trends.
1. Agriculture and Environment
Special mention: Pump Selection
2. Business and e-Commerce
3. Culture & Tourism
Winner: Kashmir Through My Lens
Shortlisted: India Heritage Walks (by Sahapedia)
4. Early Stage Organisations
5. Government and Citizen Engagement
Special mention: Nepal Immigration app
6. Health and Well-being
Special mention: Transparent Hands (Pakistan)
7. Inclusion and Empowerment
8. Learning and Education
9. Media and Entertainment
Special mention: eTunes (Bangladesh)
10. Smart Settlements and Urbanisation