Betavine Social Exchange - Pilot in South Africa

Vodacom Pilot in South Africa …

The Betavine Social Exchange (BSX) is the name we have given to a new concept around using mobile technology for social and economics benefits in local markets.

Betavine was created to encourage developers to cross over from other types of software development to mobile.   Betavine provides a space to learn about mobile development and to participate in it by uploading applications which are then accessible to people directly on their mobile via

The Betavine forge also allows us to explore open source software as a way of reaching the long tail of users.

Since its launch in January 2007 Betavine has been rapidly evolving as new needs are identified and as our users give us feedback.  One of the things we like to do is think of new ways of utilising the platform and hence our interest in the using Betavine for social and economic benefits in emerging markets.

The Betavine Social Exchange is aimed at creating mobile solution to solve social problems in a way that helps them to be sustainable i.e. there should be a clear deployment path for the solution that can be funded in the long term.

Our vision is that the Betavine Social Exchange encourages the growth of the local mobile eco-system.

Betavine Social Exchange - Vision

Betavine Social Exchange - Vision

The BSX offers 4 key functions:

  • problem capture / needs definition
  • co-creation solution space
  • discovery – easy search /categorisation of problems and solutions
  • Information about deployment

However, we are planning to make the website and the user experience as easy to use as possible.  The Betavine Social Exchange (BSX) will focus on “discussing challenges” and “creating solutions”.

BSX - Website Messaging

BSX - Website Messaging

The plan is to build the BSX in collaboration with the various stakeholders and pilot it in South Africa with Vodacom.

The requirements are being developed in public on the Living Labs in Southern Africa (LLiSA) wiki.

Betavine Social Exchange – how it could work

The basic concept is to connect NGOs etc. who have “problems” with the mobile developer community who may be able to create “solutions”.

The process is as follows:

  1. An NGO, NPO, government department discovers the existance of Betavine Social Exchange and registers with the website.
  2. The problem owner enters a problem description via a form on Betavine. The form will guide the user to enter certain information that will help to clearly describe the problem and also help to categorise it so that it can be easily discovered. The form will allow the problem description to include multi-media .e.g photos, audio, video, documents.
  3. The problem is posted on the Betavine Social Exchange and can now be easily discovered on the “discovery” page. The BSX advertises new problems via a number of media e.g. twitter, facebook groups, LinkedIn …
  4. A developer discovers the problem and decides to create a solution. The developer goes to the problem description (challenge) page and clicks on “create solution”.
  5. A “co-creation” solution space is created ready for the developer to use. The developer who creates the space is automatically the project leader and has the control over who else can join the project. The co-creation (project) space has the following features:
    1. description of the project solution
    2. notes space for the project
    3. forum for discussions
    4. links to resources inc. uploaded apps and open source code
  6. Multiple solutions can be created for one problem if required. Developers may have different approaches to solving a particular problem.
  7. Once a solution / project is marked as “complete” it appears on the discovery page under “completed solutions”.
  8. The problem owner and developer (solution provider)can then consider the deployment options that are detailed on the Mobile Solution Deployment page.
  9. Once a solution is selected for deployment the commercial discussions take place off-line between the parties concerned.
  10. Once successfully deployed the status of the project can be updated.

NOTE: Developers will be encouraged to use open source licences for software but this will not be mandatory. All IP remains with the creator of the IP.

See: LLiSA wiki for diagram

Betavine Social Exchange – “audiences”

In creating the Betavine Social Exchange website we are currently thinking about 3 key groups of stakeholders or “audiences” – owners, contributors and activators.


This is the group that “own” the problem or challenge that could be addressed by a mobile solution. The problem owners can come from many difference and diverse organisations e.g. NGOs, government departments, universities. The problem owners are those organisations and individuals who understand the situations on the ground and are able to describe it clearly to others.

The engagement of the problem owners with the Betavine Social Exchange is key to its success. The Betavins Social Exchange will seek to make it very easy to describe a problem in a way that is accessible to the problem owner but also helpful to the contributors and activators.


This group are the mobile developers or other mobile enthusiasts who have the knowledge or interest in “contributing” towards mobile solutions for the defined problems. Contributions can be helpful pointers, software (open source code), time to lead a co-creation project online, user interface designs or business advice.

Contributions can come from anyone in the world … the global mobile development community or mobile enthusiasts. The beneficiaries are the local entrepreneurs who are able to deploy a mobile solution that meets a pre-defined and real problem.


This group is made up of the local businesses or entrepreneurs in the emerging markets that are willing to step forward and “activate” a mobile solution in the local market. One key advantage for the activators is that the customer, the problem owner, has already been indentified and a mobile solution is available to review.

Local activators can pre-register their interest and engage with the co-creation phase of the project.

Funding for local entrepreneurs can come from many different sources but one possibility is to use kiva.


11 Responses to “Betavine Social Exchange”

  1. […] I ran in South Africa recently highlighted this as one of the key challenges to the success of the Betavine Social Exchange.  One comment I recorded was “technology is global, issues are local”.  I guess there […]

  2. […] was in Johannesburg for the Betavine Social Exchange workshop.  I was keen to hear what people thought about the idea and get some valuable input […]

  3. […] trae contenuti principalmente da MobileActive, si congratula per il prossimo lancimento di Betavine Social Exchange, un progetto fondato come parte del Vodafone Group Social Investment Fund, che cerca di permettere […]

  4. […] which currently mainly pulls in content from MobileActive, compliments the soon to be launched Betavine Social Exchange, a project funded as part of the Vodafone Group Social Investment Fund, which seeks to enable […]

  5. […] dei suoi post più recenti riguardano il Betavine Social Exchange, un progetto fondato come parte del Vodafone Group Social Investment Fund, che cerca di  abilitare […]

  6. […] for social change” as a morning session and got some very good and detailed feedback on the Betavine Social Exchange concept.  The detailed feedback can be found on the wiki here.   Thanks to Luke for taking notes. […]

  7. […] Vodafone’s open mobile application community. Stephen also explained their new project, Betavine Social Exchange (BSX), which is aimed at creating mobile solutions that bring social and economical benefits in […]

  8. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  9. […] of his recent posts are about the Betavine Social Exchange, a project funded as part of the Vodafone Group Social Investment Fund, which seeks to enable […]

  10. […] of his recent posts are about the Betavine Social Exchange, a project funded as part of the Vodafone Group Social Investment Fund, which seeks to enable […]

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