SBIR Phase II:Large-Scale Analysis System for Mobile Crowdsourcing

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1026853
Agency Tracking Number: 0912640
Amount: $500,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: SS
Solicitation Number: NSF 08-548
Small Business Information
21 Cougar Ridge Rd, Santa Fe, NM, 87505
DUNS: 833269207
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Benjamin Olding
 (617) 407-5240
 olding@fas.harvard.edu
Business Contact
 Benjamin Olding
Phone: (617) 407-5240
Email: olding@fas.harvard.edu
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project seeks to create a new, innovative system to manage a highly-scalable, geographically-distributed labor force through wireless technology - what is refered to as " mobile crowdsourcing." The plunging cost of handsets and the introduction of prepaid call plans have allowed individuals throughout the world to have the ability to communicate and transact electronically. This project will create the infrastructure needed to provide wireless subscribers the ability to do work and earn money - leveraging today's mobile phone's ability to send, receive and display images, audio files and text. The system will: deconstruct a client's work into "micro-tasks;" preferentially route micro-tasks to individuals most likely able to complete them; statistically analyze completed work across individual responses to automatically reach a decision on when work is complete, and who has provided the most useful input; compensate workers in proportion to the value they have added; and, finally, reconstruct the completed task for the client, with a statistical assurance the work has been accomplished correctly. The first application of this system will be for the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. The company will integrate with several mobile carriers in Africa and South America to allow subscribers direct access to transactional BPO tasks including transcription, translation and text categorization. Communicating with workers directly through phones and emphasizing quality control on work, rather than worker will enable users to perform tasks when they want, where they want, and as they want. Automated compensation through existing mobile payment and airtime transfer systems will allow for much lower overhead costs. In addition to cost savings, however, clients who use this system to complete work will also have the benefits of: increased security (no one worker will be able to see an entire document or hear an entire audio recording), access to a scalable workforce (when "spikes" of work come through, labor can be seamlessly scaled up), and potential for very fast turnaround on work (micro-tasks can be done in parallel by many individuals, greatly reducing total time to complete a workload). Additional applications of the mobile crowdsourcing platform include data gathering related to local content and surveys, productivity tools for auditors, and mass reporting abilities following disaster-related events.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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