Crowdsourcing -- internet and mobile working

Jouko Ahvenainen/Grow VC Group
27 Nov 2013

Crowdsourcing is becoming an important new model to get things done. It also represents extra income for many people, even livelihood for some. Crowdsourcing is used, for example, to translate text, analyze information that is difficult for machines, create software, and even execute legal services. Even larger corporations look for new models to better utilize these kinds of services. Operators could play a role in this business.

A crowdsourcing case has typically three parties: 1) a client which needs to source work, 2) a facilitator that manages projects and has access to a crowd, and 3) a crowd, i.e. a large group of people who can work for the project to fulfill the client’s needs. The crowd can be professional or semi-professional, or in some cases the tasks are so simple, like identifying items in a photo, that basically any human being can do them. Crowdsourcing is a kind of human extension for work that can be executed in computer networks.

Translations between languages are a good example, where crowdsourcing can be applied. For example, if a company must localize their web services or mobile app (see Localization an underrated opportunity) they need translators. They can send the translatable text to companies like Gengo, which can use over 8,000 professional translators, or Flitto, which can use over 700,000 multi-lingual people. People and companies that need translations can then select, the degree of service, how quickly they need the work done, and how much they will pay for it.

More and more people can execute crowdsourcing work also by mobile. For example, Flitto has a mobile application to create translations. Crowdsourcing companies need access to many people and often models to compensate to people. Operators can have a role in this new business. They can either themselves crowdsource work for their own needs, or work with crowdsourcing companies (i.e. facilitators) to help them get access to many people and with payment and compensations arrangements.

Carrier business will be to transfer data and offer value-added services, like media content from third parties (read also The future of carriers' revenue). Crowdsourcing is an example of a third category, how networks are not only for communications and to download content, but also a platform to enable work in a new way. If operators can help facilitate this business, they can also take a fair revenue share from the services. As in many other services, operators should not make these services themselves, but find their own natural role to support companies that have competence offer the services.

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