Tools for Real Life
Priyanka Tilve | 21 July 2010
Tools for Real Life
Launched in 2009, Nokia Life Tools is a range of innovative services that brings up-to-date and locally relevant information straight to the mobile phone. By Priyanka Tilve
The Nokia Life Tools have been developed to help bridge the digital divide in the emerging markets and also make tangible the benefits of information access beyond just voice communications on the mobile phone. It currently covers the three areas of agriculture, education and entertainment, and supports eleven languages - Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Oriya and English.
The Nokia Life Tool for agriculture in particular is quite revolutionary as it provides accurate information about crops, market prices and weather to the farmers. Making this valuable information available to the farmers is not an easy task. B V Natesh, head of Emerging Market Services at Nokia India says, “We are aware of the breadth and depth of the agricultural industry, which is why we are working closely with our ecosystem partners to bring the service to consumers. The state-of-the-art Nokia Agri Knowledge desk helps aggregate and validate content pertaining to commodity prices, weather, and crop advisory through in-house agriculture experts. Today, the knowledge desk caters to personalized content covering 270 commodities in 11 categories, including the popular cereals, pulses, horticulture, oilseeds, medicinal plants, etc”.
It uses an icon-based, graphically rich user interface that comes complete with tables, which can even display information simultaneously in two languages. Behind this rich interface, SMS is used to deliver critical information to ensure that this service works wherever a mobile phone does without the hassles of additional settings or the need for GPRS coverage. The service allows farmers to access data anywhere, anytime wherever mobile services are available, thereby allowing them to access up-to-date information in their fields, home or marketplace. Also, the service is provided to the farmers in their local language to enable them to understand and use information with ease.
availability and Features
Nokia Life Tools Entertainment services offer fun features for subscribers, including astrology, news on current affairs, sports, politics and other matters, jokes, and downloadable ringtones.
The consumers can choose between two plans. The basic plan, available across India at Rs 30 per month, provides daily weather updates and relevant agriculture-related news, and tips. The premium plan, at Rs 60 per month, is available in 18 states, including in Madhya Pradesh in Hindi and English, and provides the closest market prices for three crops chosen by the subscriber, as well as weather information, news, advice and tips. Little wonder then that
As these services are available via SMS, one might wonder if it would make sense to have a voice-based service to make it accessible to even the illiterate. “The aim of Nokia Life Tools is to bring information to consumers in the easiest and most cost-effective way, which is via SMS. We have also seen that users prefer to make notes of the information provided in Life Tools for reference in the future. For example, a student keeping note of the English learning lessons or exam tips for future reference, or a farmer keeping track of prices over the last few days. Users find our services delivered over text immensely valuable as they can refer to the information anytime they want,” explains Natesh.
In order to promote this service, Nokia has partnered with IDEA to deploy mobile vans in towns and villages across Maharashtra and others states in India. These co-branded vans aim to educate consumers on the impact of mobility on their lives, how NLT can change the way non-urban consumers work, and how it can be a key tool for improving their financial and social wellbeing. It also has ecosystem partners such as ITC eChoupal and Syngenta to further NLT awareness across mutually identified locations in India. In addition, they engage specially trained promoters in key retail outlets, who can explain the service to the consumers.