The adoption of Mobile Technology for International Development is a rapidly increasing trend across the globe. There are many good reasons for choosing to use mobile tools in conjunction with, or as a replacement for, traditional paper-based methods. Development organization Pact has outlined the most common reasons:
Faster, more accessible data—Data collected in the field with mobile devices can be submitted and stored online or on home office servers, allowing for real-time access to data for analysis and decision making.
More reliable data—Collecting data in the field with mobile devices eliminates the need to enter data from paper into a database, therefore reducing the opportunity for error or loss.
Cleaner data—Mobile applications embed skip logic that directs respondents to specific sections of the questionnaire based on previous responses (e.g., different questions for males and females). Thus, data is never entered where it doesn’t belong.
Ability to monitor data collection—By monitoring GPS locations and time stamps of submitted surveys, you can track field worker performance and the quality of incoming data.
Richer data—Integrated GPS coordinate collection, camera capabilities, and audio capture broaden the scope and type of information that may be collected.
Built-in data visualization—In some systems, online interfaces permit data visualization or have dashboards that allow data to be manipulated, customized, and downloaded.
More than just data—Mobile devices support a range of capabilities beyond data collection (e.g., mobile banking, patient tracking, and crowdsourcing, as well as communication).
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