The cancer society developed a mobile application known as ˜LUDIc’, to successfully reach out to new audiences, to spread the awareness of breast cancer.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that technology can also be an amazing tool to improve the success rate of social initiatives.
In today’s digital world, technology empowers people in different ways by providing them with the tools required to earn a sustainable living, or make a difference in their community. Placed in the hands of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), technology can work as a powerful force, opening doors to incredible opportunities to extend NGOs’ services to new communities and to change the lives of more individuals in need.
Many Malaysian NGOs still lack the resources to implement the projects to fulfil their missions. However, this is one example of an extraordinary NGO that managed to leverage technology successfully to achieve its objective of spreading awareness about cancer.
The NGO in question is the National Cancer Council of Malaysia (MAKNA). MAKNA recently developed a mobile application known as “LUDIc”, which is successfully reaching out to new audiences to spread the awaress of breast cancer.
The LUDIc mobile application basically combines informative video content about breast cancer and MAKNA’s services – which is then streamed to end user masses using the ˜streaming technology’ by local data center AIMS; and is now also available for download at the Apple App store at no cost.
Matheus Trevizoli Barrachi, Manager of MAKNA’s International Division shares that LUDIc is made up of 3 vital components, namely:
a) The understanding breast cancer – content and information that covers the anatomy of the breast, symptoms of breast cancer, progression, treatment and also prevention.
b) Mobile Unit Screening Locator – for the public to locate MAKNA’s mobile mammogram unit that is on the road. The app allows women to set reminder to go for a mammogram or perform a breast self-examination.
c) Tutorial on breast self-examination – a step-by-step illustration of how to conduct a self-breast examination, as well as information for an easy breast cancer prevention routine.
The LUDic Journey
Matheus also shares how MAKNA came about developing LUDIc, running on AIMS’ Streaming Service.
“What started off as a sketch on a white board has now evolved into a potentially lifesaving application. Once MAKNA staff put down the idea on paper and had a direction on how we wanted to go about it, we had to consider how we could use technology viably to share the most with our users. The key challenge was that MAKNA is a charitable trust and we had to keep our budget in mind as the public funds we have are scarce, and highly accountable for.”
He said that once MAKNA narrowed down and finalised the app development and graphic design, the most important and toughest task came in – which was the decision-making for the ˜Video Streaming’ part of the mobile application.
“The video streaming portion was a major problem. Although we were very well prepared for video hosting and streaming to be the most costly of the entire project, we found out that because most companies charged by the amount (megabyte) streamed, it meant that in the foreseeable future, MAKNA would be faced with increasing charges every year!
He explains that as the LUDIc mobile application becomes more popular, the Streaming model offered by many data centers made it as such that MAKNA would be faced with increasing costs to keep the application running as more and more people view the LUDIc’s video section.
“At some point, we would have to start discouraging people to watch the videos, so as to maintain the cost down. This doesn’t make sense, and neither does the idea of MAKNA charging for the LUDIc app; it’s something that we definitely don’t wish to do!”
This is when MAKNA stumbled upon AIMS. This Malaysian data center offered the best specifications for the ˜video streaming’ technology that the NGO was looking for, as well as extremely reasonable rates for hosting the LUDIc mobile application for mass public mobile phone-based viewing. An amicable arrangement was brokered with AIMS for reliable application hosting, video streaming technology, as well as future growth for LUDIc.
Ahmad Zahri Mirza, Vice President, Business Development, AIMS says, “AIMS is proud to be associated with an NGO, like MAKNA in their initiative to propagate wider awareness about breast cancer to the masses. Not only is the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility is somewhat achieved, it is also a testimony AIMS’ Streaming Service can be leveraged for non-commercial applications by ˜society providers’.”
Zahri continues that AIMS is helping non-profit organisations to realise the power of technology so that they can achieve their mission of helping humankind.
He further explains that AIMS is the first data centre in Malaysia that offers such value added services. Through AIMS, LUDIc could focus on their main objective to fight cancer, while AIMS covered everything from the infrastructure, hardware and technical expertise. Also, AIMS ˜Streaming’ technology is highly scalable and flexible as it is a pay per use model that fits perfectly for a social cause, without draining them financially.
So far, MAKNA’s LUDIc mobile application has been downloaded in Malaysia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, The Philippines and Vietnam. AIMS has also helped LUDIc hosting versions of the videos in different languages to have further outreach of breast cancer awareness in different markets. Currently LUDIc has been developed in English, Chinese Mandarin and will soon be released in Malay and Tamil.
“We’ve always believed in the power of our company to improve the quality of our customers’ lives. This is a small way to repay back for all we’ve got,” concluded Zahri.
~ Article by Asma Mior. Published in Malaysian Business. April 2013