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Yesterday, I was discussing the process of mobile registration forms with a colleague from Uganda. He was asking if I knew of a simple way to capture data quickly from mobile devices whilst minimising potential fraud and human error.

We know smart phones have become common place in the “first world” but technology is not as advanced in developing countries such as Uganda so relying on mobile apps and web forms are not always an option.

However, one common feature of all mobile phones are contacts – a digital representation of a person.

Nearly all mobile phones allow users to store basic contact details for an individual. They store common fields such as first name, last name, telephone number, address and date of birth. These devices also have cameras built in so there is potential to attach a photograph of the owner for security reasons.

Additional to this, most mobile phones also offer the facility to send contact cards via email or SMS so there is a method available for data submission.

If a provider required registration prior to activation, a user should be asked to create a new business card containing all their personal details and send it to a pre-defined point of contact (SMS or email). Not only is this allowing instant activation on a reliable data capture mechanism, it is also minimising chance of error as well as validating the origin (the mobile telephone number).

In a world where mobile apps are fast becoming the norm, it’s easy to forget other audiences where new technology is unavailable. However, this simple approach could revolutionise data capture in a developing world.

What do you think? Is there potential in this process or is it flawed in some way?

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