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April 8, 2009

Nokia Life Tools pilot scheme ends in preparation for launch

MAHARASHTRA, India – We first brought you word of Nokia Life Tools back in November of last year (get the full lowdown), and here on Conversations we even selected it as one of our best services of 2008. Nokia Life Tools has been running as a pilot scheme in Maharashtra, India , and today sees the pilot phase officially come to an end. So now Nokia is taking stock of its encouraging findings as it readies for the full commercial launch of Nokia Life Tools in the first half of 2009, debuting on the Nokia 2320 and Nokia 2323.

Read on to find out how Nokia Life Tools received and how it was found to affect people living in rural communities in India.

One of the main features of the Nokia Life Tools service is an agricultural service designed to help local farmers be better informed with valuable information, such as current crop prices, delivered via SMS. During the pilot scheme, which kicked off in December of last year, Nokia found that the farmers using the agricultural service became less dependent on local agents for basic information because of the fact that Nokia Life Tools delivered daily updates of prices direct to their phone. In turn this had a number of positive effects on farmers’ lives – up-to-date information was found to give farmers more confidence and negotiating power with local agents, enabled them to take fewer trips to the market (where they otherwise need to go to get up-to-date information) and ultimately helped them save money and improve their quality of life.

One farmer and trader from Tuljapur, Amravati, expressed his thoughts:

“I believe in working rigorously to enhance my livelihood and lifestyle and I expect that Nokia Life Tools services will help me in validating the desired information”

Another major part of the Nokia Life Tools service is an educational service, that helps teach local people in remote areas other English and general knowledge. Again, Nokia found the people on the pilot scheme fed back with a positive response. In Nokia’s official announcement today it highlighted, “for many, learning English was an aspiration which was finally achievable. Better performance in job interviews and career prospects, enhanced image and social standing also featured highly and frequently in the feedback.”

Here’s what a 25-year-old second-year Master of Arts student in Hindi, who is also a trader and owns an electronics repair and CD shop, had to say about it:

“Nokia Life Tools has given me many directions that I can take related to my education, agriculture business and my overall individual status. It has the potential to change my future.”

Jawahar Kanjilal is Global Head of Emerging Markets Services at Nokia. Here he explains why he believes the Nokia Life Tools pilot was a success, and why the full launch service promises to continue to deliver an invaluable resource to rural communities in emerging markets.

“The success of the Nokia Life Tools pilot can be attributed to the fact that it honed in on consumers’ specific pain points, and addressed several unmet needs in the areas that were crucial to them in their daily lives. By continuously sharpening our offerings and providing the most relevant services, we intend to make Nokia Life Tools extremely relevant and indispensible to the target users.”

Let us know what you think to the Nokia Life Tools service in the comments section below.