A conference glossary

June 7, 2011

Know what a 'Moses phone' is? Credit: enter/flickr

Conferences like this always have their own language. Below is a short glossary of terms that I’ve come across so far:

Pilotitis The condition that affects many organsations like the WHO that are overrun with pilot programmes, few of which ever seem to make it to full-scale implementation.

mHealth ecosystem A prerequisite, some say, for functional mHealth services. This involves having the physical mobile infrastructure in place, as well as trained nurses and doctors, policies and guidelines to regulate the services, handset makers, technology companies etc etc. Quite a stretch for developing countries to achieve this…

Telemedicine Not to be confused with mHealth. TM is where you have a doctor at the end of a phone line making a diagnosis, more or less. mHealth includes this, but also applications for prevention and follow-up care, plus informing the public about health issues.

SIM app A mobile application that uses the simplest and cheapest way that mobile phones can communicate: The same mechanism that you use to find out your airtime, say, or phone number, by sending a code to a particular number. Very useful for developing countries where few people have smartphones.

Moses phone Cheap mobile phones made in China that cost US$15-20 each and which even the poorest can afford. Like Moses, these phones are delivering all Africans to the ‘promised land’ of mobile phone ownership.

Freemium A business model where a service is offered for free in a basic version to the majority of users, and the revenue is garnered from a minority of users who can pay for unlimited use of the service.

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