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RapidSMSOpen X DataFrontlineSMS/FrontlineFormsMobile ResearcherEpiSurveyorNokia Data GatheringOpen Data KitEMITEpiCollectVoxivaGeoChatGATHERdataAcquee

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Compiled by Nate Barthel and Mohini Bhavsar (MobileActive.org)

VERSION, Dec 2, 2010.

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OVERVIEW [1]

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DevelopersUNICEF and open source communityOpen source communityFrontlineSMS/KiwanjaClyralDataDyneNokia/University Partners/Open Source CommunityUniversity of Washington and the open source community. Supported by Google.Cell LifeImperial College London supported by Wellcome TrustVoxivaInSTEDDAED-SATELLIFEAcquee

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Websitehttp://www.rapidsms.org/http://www.openxdata.orghttp://www.frontlinesms.comhttp://www.populi.net/mobileresearcher/http://www.datadyne.org/episurveyorhttp://www.nokia.com/corporate-responsibility/society/nokia-data-gathering/englishhttp://opendatakit.orghttp://www.emitmobile.co.za/http://www.epicollect.net/http://www.voxiva.com/http://www.instedd.org/our-work/technologies/geochat/http://www.healthnet.org/gatherhttp://acquee.com/

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Summary RapidSMS is the underlying framework used to build enterprise level, SMS-based applications for data collection, logistics and communication. The software provides the built-in functionality to help users create and customize SMS-based applications. Third party developers have created applications built on RapidSMS which are also available out-of-the-box.OpenXData is an Open Source platform for data collection via Java based phones. A wide variety of data types can be collected, including GPS. User-hosted server allows for the management of groups, users, creation of forms, and performing surveys. FrontlineSMS is an Open Source platform that provides for data collection using basic phones and as a result collects data only via SMS. Software, which is down-loadable to user's computer, provides for management of users and deployment of SMS based surveys. FrontlineForms, add-on module for FrontlineSMS, allows users to leverage more advance Java-based to use forms for data collection.Mobile Researcher is a 'cloud-based' service that enables data collection via SMS, WAP, and/or HTML. Data types vary with implementation. Software resides on Clyral servers and interfaces with client software on mobile handsets. Web based console offers users the ability to develop forms, deploy surveys, manage field workers, and analyze responses. Episurveyor is a 'cloud-based' service that enables collection of text and GPS data using a variety of mid-ranged handsets. Software resides on EpiSurveyor servers and interfaces with client software on handset. Web based console allows for form development, conducting of surveys, and data .Nokia Data Gathering (NDG) allows for text and GPS data collection via handsets. Client (mobile) and server software are free to download and install. Server software allows for the development of customizable questionnaires, dissemination of forms to mobile phones, data collection on mobile phones, and data submission from mobile clients. Open Data Kit (ODK) is a set of free tools used all over the world to make data collection and information delivery easier. ODK primarily provides an out-of-the-box solution for users to:

1. Build a data collection form or survey
2. Collect the data on a mobile device and send it to a server
3. Aggregate the collected data on a server and extract it in useful formats

See http://opendatakit.org/about/tools for a listing of all our tools.
EMIT is a cloud-based service that provides the ability to gather text data via Java based handsets. Web based console allows for conducting of surveys and extracting data. Forms are created and administered with the aid of the Cell-Life team. Software resides on Cell-Life servers, and interfaces with software on client's cellphones.EpiCollect is a cloud-based services that enables the collection of rich content via Android and iPhone phones. A web-based console allows for form development, conducting of surveys and data .Voxiva is a cloud-based service that allows for data collection via a number of mobile platforms and channels. Voxiva provides a number of sector-specific services built around a core set of technologies allowing users to conduct surveys, collect data and perform . Implementation, development and forms creation is done with the aid of Voxiva.GeoChat is a cloud-based tool that provides users associated with a GeoChat 'group' the ability to collaborate over multiple channels including SMS, email, and Twitter. Key feature is ability to display messages with associated geographic location.GATHERdata is self hosted system consisting of a modular suite of tools allowing users to gather multiple data types via XForms on Java based handsets. Components include front-end server UI, data storage, and other utilities. Acquee is a fully browser-based application used for collecting structured data. Design forms, surveys and polls, share them with mobile users. Analyze and download results in real-time.

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Use Cases/ImplementationsPolls and Surveys, Surveillance, Supply Chain, Emergency Response Monitoring, CHW Patient Registration/Reminder System and general communication messaging.Rabies surveillance in Pakistan, Pepfar project monitoring South Africa, MoTech community health project Ghana, WHO disease early warning system.Monitoring Nigerian Elections, Haiti Disaster Relief, Disease Tracking Malawi http://www.frontlinesms.com/aboutthesoftware/user-map/Medical Research Council; Human Sciences Research Council; Stellenbosch UniversityAmerican Red Cross, WHO, CDC and others. http://www.datadyne.org/about/partnersAmazonas State Health Department and Health Vigilance Foundation (Brazil), Foundation human nature (Ecuador), Department of Agriculture and WWF (Phillippines), CMI (Crisis Management Initiative) (Liberia), World Vision Indonesia. http://www.nokia.com/corporate-responsibility/society/nokia-data-gathering/english/projectsODK deployments range from deforestation monitoring in the Amazon to decision support for pediatrics patients in Tanzania.

See http://opendatakit.org/about/deployments for a map of deployments and http://opendatakit.org/about/research for evaluations.
Cases include several HIV and AIDS prevention and outreach programs throughout South Africa. http://www.emitmobile.co.za/case-studies/ Imperial College LondonAlberta Health Surveillance, Rwanda Ministry of Health mHealth platform, HIV Awareness in MexicoMinistry of Health Cambodia, Community health workers Thailand, New York State Dept Mental Health and Hygiene, Inveneo ground support Haiti, Hospital network ThailandDeployed in Liberia, Uganda, and Mexico; projects underway in Mali, Nigeria, and LiberiaPolls and Surveys, Surveillance & Monitoring, Supply Chain, Logistics,

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TECHNICAL

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Architecture [2]

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Basic description of systemBrowser-based application resides on server, communicates with basic phones.Server software resides on local PC and communicates with client software on cellular phones. Forms are downloaded from server to handsets. Data is returned to server.Stand-alone software application used to manage SMS messaging via cellular phone or GSM modem. Cloud-based service where all data is sent and received from centralized servers. Accounts managed via internet connected PC.Cloud-based service where all data is sent and received from centralized servers. Accounts managed via internet connected PC. Server software resides on local PC and communicates with client software on cellular phones.Forms are developed locally (or on the Internet using ODK Build) and loaded into mobile phones running ODK Collect. Data collected using ODK Collect is transmitted to central server (ODK Aggregate) which can run locally or on the Internet. Aggregate can hold on to the data or stream it to other services.Cloud-based service. Forms are created online, downloaded to Java handsets and data is returned to centralized server for extraction and reporting.Cloud-based service. Forms are created online, downloaded to Android/iPhone handsets and data is returned to centralized server for reporting and analysis.Cloud based service. Forms and management conducted via online portal. Data collected from handsets is returned to centralized server.Cloud-based service that allows users to collaborate over multiple channels including SMS, email, Twitter. Message management/interaction is performed via online portal. Agreements with national and international gateway's allow for SMS aggregation. Modular server software resides linux based computer that can be hosted locally. Data is transmitted typically to cellular phones from XForm based client and can be downloaded from server to handsets. Cloud-based service. Forms are designed through a desktop browser interface and filled in through browsers on mobile devices.

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Data Type CollectedText (SMS)Text, Audio, Video, Images, GPSText (SMS), Text via formsDepends on channel used. Basic text (SMS), More complex form entry (WAP, Mobile App Channel)Primarily Text data via mobile web forms. Can also collect location with GPS enabled phones.Text data via forms. GPS and image data can also be gathered. Text, Images, Sound, Barcodes, Video, GPS.Text data via forms, images, sound, videoText via forms, GPS, ImageText via forms, SMS Text, Image, AudioText (SMS, email, Twitter)Text (SMS), Image, GPSText via Forms, GPS

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Data StorageStored locallyStored locallyStored locallyHosted storage, can be downloaded.Hosted storage, can be downloaded.Stored locallyLocal and Internet-hosted storage, provides features to extract data.Hosted storage, data availableHosted storage, provides ability to send data users own servers.Hosted storage. Data accessed through web.Hosted storage, provides features to extract data. Source software can be downloaded to host privately.Stored locallyHosted storage, can be downloaded.

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Requirements [3]

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Operating System (Computer required for all)

Describes operating system of computer used to run server and/or perform administrative functions.
Linux, Mac, WindowsLinux, Mac, WindowsLinux, Mac, WindowsMultiple (externally hosted - accessed via browser)Multiple (externally hosted - accessed via browser)Linux, WindowsLinux, Windows, MacMultiple (externally hosted - accessed via browser)Multiple (externally hosted - accessed via browser)Multiple (externally hosted - accessed via browser)Multiple (externally hosted - accessed via browser)LinuxLinux, Mac, Windows

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Handset

Describes operating system of computer used to run server and/or perform administrative functions.
Basic PhonesJava PhonesBasic Phones, Java phones (for FrontlineForms)Depends on channel used. Basic to sophisticated.Java, Android, or Palm. All Nokia Java Enabled phonesAndroid, but support for Java phones is available through JavaRosa.JavaAndroid, iPhoneDepends on channel used. Basic to sophisticated.Basic Phones, More advanced phones would allow for use of web-based communication.JavaPhones with web-browser capability.

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Internet for server or administrative center required?Required if you want to be able to see the data on the webRequired in most configurations.Not RequiredRequiredRequiredRequiredNot requiredRequiredRequiredRequiredRequiredRequiredRequired

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Network Type/Channel Used

Describes the network protocols and channel(s) used to transfer data (e.g. SMS, GPRS, Voice).
GSM (SMS)GSM (SMS), GPRS (WAP), BluetoothGSM (SMS)GSM (SMS), GPRS (WAP), EDGE, 3G GPRS, EDGE, 3GGPRS, WiFiGPRS, EDGE, 3G, WiFIGPRSGPRS, 3G, WiFIGSM (voice, SMS), GPRSGSM/CDMA (SMS), GPRS, 3G, WiFI (last three only necessary for mobile email and mobile web based communication)GPRS, USB, Wifi, BlueToothGPRS, EDGE, 3G, WiFi

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Connectivity required for data collection?Connection necessary.Connection not necessary. Forms can be saved for later transfer.Connection necessary with FrontlineSMS, Connection not necessary with FronlineFormsVaries on implementation. More sophisticated phones and channels allow for saving of data on handset for later transfer.Connection not necessary. Forms can be saved for later transfer.Connection not necessary. Can fill out forms without connection and later use available mobile, wlan, or memory card to transfer data. Connection not necessary. Can create and fill out forms without connection and later use available mobile, wlan, or memory card to transfer data. Connection not necessary. Forms can be saved for later transfer.Connection not necessary. Forms can be saved for later transfer.Varies with implementation.Connection necessary for SMS usage. Connection not necessary. Forms can be saved for later transfer.Connection necessary.

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OtherGSM modem, cellular phone with USB port, or SMS GatewayNoneGSM modem or cellular phone with USB port, SMS Gateway needed for higher volumeSMS Gateway if using SMS Channel.NoneNoneNoneNoneNoneNoneFor local gateway use, cellular phone with USB.NoneNone

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Customization [4]

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Software customization

Describes ability of the user to alter the underlying software in order to perform different or additional functions. Categories include: open source and completely customizable, proprietary (closed) but with open APIs, proprietary (closed) but can be customizable with help from vendor, and not customizable.
Open Source, completely customizable. Open Source, completely customizable. Open Source, completely customizable. Core application not customizable. Does provide APIs for extending product.Core application not customizable. Does provide APIs for extending product. Handset clients are open source and customizable.Open Source, completely customizable.Open Source, completely customizable.Open Source, completely customizable.Open Source, completely customizable.Not independently customizable. Must work with Voxiva.Open Source, completely customizable. Open Source, completely customizable. Not independently customizable. Must work with Acquee.

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Tools for configuration

Describes built-in functionality for configuration of forms, users, groups, and similar functions that are common to mobile data collection systems.
Import/export and web-based authoring of XForm definitions, user and group contact managementProvides web-based system to manage users, roles and develop forms.Offers configurable system for groups and message management. Forms can be created and sent to phones with the aid of FrontlineForms. Web-based form creator/editor and management system.Web-based form creator/editor, management and data system.Web based form creator/editor and management system.Forms can be developed and deployed a number of ways using XForms and ODK Build. ODK Build allows for is a web-based form creator/editor. XLS2XForms, PurcForms and OpenRosa Form Designer are compatible alternatives.Forms development and management performed with EMIT team.Web based form creator/editor and data visualization tools.Forms designed and implemented with Voxiva team.Basic configuration allowing for configuration of groups and gateway. Number of additional tools built on GeoChat allowing for message processing, forms and other features.3rd party applications are used to generate and export to x-forms and to javarosa for display on handsets. Back end includes user defined alerts, pre-defined reports with configurable delivery, adhoc reports via web interface, data storage and analysis in mysql and ability to export forms to other database programs for deeper analysis.Web-based system for designing the forms and assigning mobile user access.

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Programming Language Required for Customization/Configuration

Describes programming language necessary for customization and/or configuration. Does not necessarily describe language used for original software development.
Python with DjangoJava, Java MEJavaAPI's can be accessed via .NET framework. Any .NET compliant language. JSON based API's available. Can be accessed over HTTP. Multiple languages.Java, Java MEXForms to generate Forms, Java to modify base code.Java, Java MEXForms to generate Forms, Java to modify base code.User cannot modifyCore product written in C#, Includes API's for common data services, built on REST architecture. Java, JavaRosa, Apache, MySQL, XFormsUser cannot modify

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Data & Forms

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Forms questions/logic overviewAll data sent as SMS, Does support branching/jumping based on response.Multiple data types and associated questions supported. Supports branching and jump logic.FrontlineForms can create forms with multiple question types. Does not support branching.Depends channel used. Can support variety of question types and logic.Supports multiple question types and branching logic.Supports multiple question types and branching logic.Supports multiple question types and branching logic. Multimedia can used as both question and answer.Forms built with EMIT team. Supports multiple types of data collection and branching logic. Multiple question types. No branching logic.Forms designed/built with Voxiva team. Does allow for multiple question types. Uncertain with regards to branching logic.Typical configuration does not deploy forms. Collects data via SMS, email, and web interface. Typically uses 3rd party Xforms builders such as Orbeon. Can support variety of question types as well as branching logic.Supports forms with unlimited questions that can be grouped by pages. Branching and jump logic is currently not supported. 10 different question types are available.

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Native data analysis/reportsDashboard ability to display data. Analysis external to base software.Reports creation supported though not fully tested.No native data analysis or reporting.No native data analysis or reporting.Basic auto-analysis provided. Additional analysis at extra cost.Built-in basic reporting functionality allowing for data review.No built in data-analysis but can stream data to Google Spreadsheets, Google Fusion Tables, Google Earth and Rhiza Insight for analysis.Reports and data analysis built/conducted with EMIT team.Basic data analysis/viewing built in. Platform has data analysis and visualization tools. Reports built with Voxiva team. Built on a geo-based data visualization tool. Primary functionality.Basic built-in reporting mechanism. Most sophisticated analysis and reporting done externally.Collected data can be viewed in raw list, grouped by question or by individual responses. Answers to structured questions (dropdowns, radio, checkboxes) can also be analyzed graphically.

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Data exportExport to csv fileExport to csv fileExport to ExcelExport to Excel/csvExport in multiple formatsExport in Excel/csvExport in multiple formatsExport to Excel/csvExport Excel/csvUncertainUncertainCan export .csv files.Export to Excel/csv

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Security [5]

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No additional security provided. No additional security provided. No additional security provided. Varies with implementation. Can be stored securely on handset. Data stored on servers stored securely. Connects to Internet via secure HTTPS protocols. Data stored on servers stored securely.No additional security provided. No additional security provided. No additional security provided. No additional security provided. Servers are secure. Works with client to create a appropriate security protocol.No encryption. Channels unencrypted. Provides anonymous group configuration. No additional security provided.Data on our servers stored securely. Access to forms can be public or granted only to specific authenticated mobile users.

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NONTECHNICAL

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Costs [6]

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OverviewSoftware is free to download and use. As it is a platform, rather than deployable application, it will require significant development and implementation services which are likely to incur costs. Additional costs include (GSM modem or SMS gateway), computer, internet connection and costs associated with SMS.Software is free to download and use. OpenXData will require configuration and may require development depending on implementation. Additional costs include server, internet connection, and connection costs (SMS, GPRS). Java handsets may require additional investment. Software is free to download and use. Will require some configuration and may require development depending on implementation. Additional costs include computer, GSM modem or SMS gateway), and costs associated with SMS messaging. Cost of software is levied on a pay-per-survey basis. Will require some configuration via web based interface and may require development if interfacing via APIs. Additional costs include computer, Internet connection, SMS or data charges, and possibly handsets if using channel other than SMS.Software is free up to particular limits (such as 500 record per form). A $5000 yearly subscription fee removes all of these limits. EpiSurveyor will require some minimal configuration for operation. If necessary, custom reports, training, and development will require additional investment. Additional costs include computer, Internet access, and data charges. Handsets may require additional investment.Software is free to download and use. NDG will require configuration and may require additional development depending on implementation. Additional costs include server, Internet connection, and data charges. Handsets may require additional investment. Software is free to download and use. ODK will require configuration and may require development depending on implementation. Additional costs include computer. Handsets may require additional investment. Internet connection is commonly used, but not needed.Software is free to download. Prices depend on scope of project. Initial setup (configuration) and monthly usage costs apply. Additional costs include Internet, computer, and java capable phones. Software is free to download and use. EpiCollect will require configuration and may require additional development depending on implementation. Additional costs include computer, Internet connection, and data charges. Handsets may require additional investment. Software prices will depend largely on scope of project. Configuration and development costs covered by contract. Additional costs include computer and Internet connection. May require investment in cellular phones. Data costs are determined by channel used in implementation. Software is free it use and download. Costs largely driven by communication channel (SMS) and, depending on user, need for additional development.Software is free to download and use. GATHERdata will require configuration and development for each implementation. Additional costs include computer, Internet connection, and data charges. Handsets may require additional investment. Anyone can sign up and create an account with Acquee that offers full functionality but limited number of responses. Professional subscription starts at 33EUR/month and enterprise subscription at 75EUR/month and contain extended or unlimited usage. Extended access can also be arranged for non-profits.
Additional costs include computer, Internet access, and data charges. Handsets may require additional investment.

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Purchase and/or Usage CostsNoNoNoPay per surveyFree up to particular limits. $5000 yearly subscriptions removes these.NoNoPrice depends on implementation. Setup and monthly charges will apply.NoPrice dependent on implementation. Determined by clients requirements. NoNoSubscription model. Flat rate offered for unlimited use.

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Costs associated with Implementation and/or DevelopmentSignificant services in implementation and development will be required.Significant implementation services required. Additional development services may be required. Modest implementation services required. May require development services.Modest implementation services required. May require development services.Modest implementation services required. May require development services.Moderate implementation services will be required. May require development services. Moderate implementation services required. Likely to require some development services. Can be hard to source Android phones in some locations.Modest implementation services required. May require development services.Moderate implementation services required. May require additional development services. No additional costs for implementation or development. Basic configuration requires no implementation/development services. More advanced implementations requires skilled development services.Moderate implementation and development services required.No additional costs for implementation or development.

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Costs associated with connectivetySMSSMS, Data (GPRS)SMSSMS, Data (GPRS, EDGE, 3G)Data (GPRS, EDGE, 3G)Data (GPRS)Data (GPRS)Data (GPRS)Data (GPRS, 3G)Supports multipleSMS (Geochat agreements may reduce costs), Other wireless channels costs may apply.Data (GPRS)Data (GPRS, EDGE, 3G, WiFi)

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Additional cost factorsComputer, Internet Connection, GSM modem or SMS GatewayComputer, Internet, Java handsets may require investment.Computer, GSM modem or SMS gateway.Computer, Internet, cellular phones (depending on channel)Computer, Internet, cellular phonesComputer, Internet, cellular phonesComputer, cellular phones.Computer, internet, java phonesComputer, Internet, cellular phonesComputer, Internet, cellular phonesComputer, If using local gateway - cellular phone, InternetComputer, Internet, cellular phonesComputer, Internet, cellular phones

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Licensing [7]

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Open SourceOpen SourceOpen SourceProprietary Proprietary, Handset clients Open SourceOpen SourceOpen SourceOpen Source (APL), built on Open Source (Open X Data)Open SourceProprietaryOpen SourceOpen SourceProprietary

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Language [8]

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Administration - ; Forms - ; Support - Some French language contributionsAdministration - ; Forms - Forms can be built in a number of languages; Support - Largely in English.Administration - ; Forms - ; Support - Most support is in English, does offer some support in French and Portuguese. Administration - ; Forms - ; Support - English onlyAdministration - ; Forms - ; Support - Developing multi-lingual support websiteAdministration - English, Spanish and Portuguese Forms - The software accommodates questionnaire creation in many other languages; Support - English.Administration - English; Forms - any language. Support - English.Administration - English, Portuguese, Sesotho, Chichewa. Forms - The software accommodates questionnaire creation in many other languages; Support - English.Administration - English, Forms - Can support additional languages, limited by operating system, Support - EnglishAdministration - ; Forms - Has been deployed in multiple languages; Support - Has ability to build out support for additional languages as necessary. Administration - Varying support of multiple languages (translated by Pootle); Forms - n/a ; Support - Varying support in multiple languages including Thai, Khmer, Spanish, AfrikaansAdministration - ; Forms - supports variety of languages enabled by use of XForms language tags; Support - EnglishForms - English; Support - English. Does offer free online translation tool in order to build in other languages.

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Support [9]

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Online Forum, FAQ, Tutorial, wiki, mailing list, and case studies.Support is primarily available through the open source community via online forums and support groups. Online documentation describing basic setup and operation.Varied support including wiki, blog, groups, online tutorials, videos, and case studies.Community portal, case studies, tutorials, guides, email support and training session available.Community portal, Case studies, User guides, Video tutorials, and API technical user guides available. Paid support and training also available. Rich wiki including user, administrator and developer guides, active discussion group.Tutorials, guides, videos, wikis, papers, presentations, posters, mailing lists (developer and implementer). Paid support and training available.Training, telephonic and email support, Case studiesDetailed online instructions for application use. Basic instructions for developers. Developer forum available.High level of personal support from Voxiva. Available 24/7.Detailed online instructions for users and developers. Includes wiki, videos, discussion groups, code examples.Development and configuration instructions and tutorials available at GitHub.Online instructions for application use. Public user forums and full 2nd level support to professional users (non-profits included).
[1] The overview provides a brief description of the ‘out-of-the-box’ functionality of the software and summary. Additionally, use cases highlight some of the specific implementations. Primary developers are also acknowledged. This section answers the following questions: What does it do out of the box? What has it been used for? What and who is the user base?
[2] Discusses basic aspects of communications architecture relevant to evaluating appropriateness of software for particular implementation. Users should ask themselves: What type of data can be collected? What is the sensitivity of the data? Who might have access to the data?
[3] These are the basic requirements for use. Additional requirements may be necessary based on specific implementations. Users should ask themselves: What type of data connections are available through the cellular network to be used? How good is the mobile connection? Is an Internet connection necessary and available? What types of handsets will be used and will these need to be provided?
[4] Customization here refers to both modification of the underlying software (software customization) and customization through configuration. Programing language is included here to indicate the programming skills required to customize. User should ask themselves: Do we have the capability to perform the necessary development? Do we have people with the correct computer language skills for customization? Is a high degree of flexibility/extensibility important? Do we need a solution that is relatively easy to setup and maintain? Will the built-in tools and functionality be adequate?
[5] Describes ‘out-of-the-box’ security. Please note,a lack of built-in security does not necessarily preclude implementation of security policies or tools. Users should ask themselves: How secure is the data on the handset? How secure is the transmission of data to the centralized database? How secure is data storage?
[6] Describes some of the factors that are likely to influence cost including initial procurement, development, ongoing operational, required hardware, and cellular network costs. Users should ask themselves: Can resources be dedicated to development, maintenance, and support? What are the ongoing costs of using a particular communications channel (e.g. SMS)?
[7] Type of software license. Note, open source products may not necessarily be cheaper in terms of total cost of ownership. Questions for Users to Consider: What degree of customization is required?
[8] Describes language support for software from multiple perspectives. Users should ask these questions: Can administrative functions (creating forms, creating user groups etc) be performed in multiple languages? Does the end-user interface support multiple languages including forms and handset navigation? In what languages are technical and end-user support available?
[9] Describes the general type of support provided. Users should ask themselves: Do we need dedicated support? Can we rely on staff to provide support? Is documentation clear and easy to locate? Does the Open Source community provide the level of support needed?