Soweto Moves Project – User Research Participant: Towards Building an Interactive Mobile Web Platform for the SMMEs Community within the Developing Economies
I had an amazing experience when I visited Soweto Moves Project team as part of my pilot project initiative on building an Interactive Mobile Web Platform for the SMMEs community within the developing economies. I was lucky to come right at the time of their practice to see those moves and it’s really happening – big time.
As part of our meeting, I first introduced the platform and also showing the team other artists who have adopted similar approaches in the developed economies – especially top music producers like Jay-Z with his Roc Nation, founded in 2008. It is not surprising that Jay-Z has recently decided to pull his music library from Spotify and Apple Music. Roc Nation is like a hub of service entertainment and the home to a diverse roster of critically acclaimed recording artists, writers and producers including Rihanna, Shakira, J. Cole and other great artists.
Photo: Get Everwise @ Flickr
The second step was to show the team the analytics platform, which serves as a business backbone for analysis, visualisation and the sharing of knowledge or experience with other players who have similar interests within the entertainment industry. The founder of the project then asked if this platform can also be displayed on smartphones and other devices like tablets: The platform is driven by responsive web design, which means it’s flexible and is able to maintain the user experience seamlessly and consistently across other devices or displays.
Similarly, we also discussed key social media platforms that can be used as communication channels but viewed from the platform itself rather than having to manage each channel separately. The information from different Social Media platforms is integrated seamlessly into the Interactive Mobile Web platform and the business owners have a single view of how the users interact with the content.
Lastly, I then explained to the team how the whole model is designed specifically for the pilot project. This was the most sensitive part of our discussion. However, since my main objective is to learn from the SMMEs: I allowed the team to lead me to all their difficulties and challenges regarding this proposed model. This was the biggest learning curve for me. I asked the team to choose a package, which is most suitable for their project. Surprisingly, they went for the top of the range package. The cost was around $399.00 ( R5, 300.00) for the software licencing platform in addition to the hosting facilities including domain registration. This means that the total cost was around R7000.00 for the entire project. This is a direct cost. This means if the SMME ask someone to give them the same platform, that developer will have to first spend +/- R7000.00 to acquire all the basics to build the platform before charging the SMME for the actual work of building the platform.
I am told that in U.S., the developers charge small business from anything around $3000 to $12000 to build similar kind of platforms. We are not in U.S., we are in Africa. What should we do? Hence, I am running this pilot project. Through interviews or discussions with the SMMEs, I am going to gain further insight on how this cost issue can be addressed to make sure that even the developing countries are able to adopt these emerging technologies. The bottom line is: the cost factor, should not be a problem to prevent SMMEs from adopting an Interactive Mobile Web platform within the developing economies.
To the Soweto Moves Project team: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. I am humbled by your professionalism and dedication towards making a different in our communities. I salute you.
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