April, 2012

  • Microsoft Kinect® Makes the Difference in Patient Rehabilitation

    There is a new movement thundering through hospitals in South Korea. It all began when Microsoft Korea, in collaboration with the Korean Institute of the Disabled for Independent Living, held the “Kinect® Contest for People with Severe Disabilities” to provide people with disabilities, most of whom are wheelchair-bound, with the opportunity to use the Xbox 360 with a Kinect sensor to enjoy sports games they had never thought to be able to play.

    Since then, this initiative has begun to make inroads into hospitals as well. On 22 and 23 December 2011 the Korea Citizenship team, in partnership with social workers from two of the biggest hospitals in South Korea, organized a Kinect-themed event, which was open to patients within the rehabilitation wards in these two hospitals. Approximately 60 patients participated and had the opportunity to experience Kinect-themed games. This initiative is significant, as it dispels the notion that technological accessibility cannot play a part in a patient’s rehabilitation process. 

    According to the social workers that were present, the inception of technology during the rehabilitation process of patients actually motivated them to overcome their diseases, as it gave them an opportunity not to dwell on their current situation, which in turn offered them hope for the future.

    On a global scale, Kinect has been used in hospitals as a therapeutic tool to aid medical rehabilitation. In Korea, there will be ongoing efforts to organize similar Kinect-themed events and there are hopes of expanding this initiative to nationally recognized events such as the National Disabled Day in April.

    “Physical therapists have reported that they are currently using Kinect as a therapeutic tool in hospitals, and Kinect has been an invaluable tool for the patients in rehabilitation,” said Ms Hoon Hee Park, Rehabilitation Ward Social Worker, Shinchon Severance Hospital.

    Korean Citizenship team and social workers helping out at the hospital
    The Korean Citizenship team and social workers helping out at the hospital.

    A young patient trying her hand out at the Kinect game with the help of a social worker
    A young patient trying her hand out at the Kinect game with the help of a social worker.

    “Physical therapists have reported that they are currently using Kinect as a therapeutic tool in hospitals, and Kinect has been an invaluable tool for the patients in rehabilitation.”
    -  Ms Hoon Hee Park, Rehabilitation Ward Social Worker, Shinchon Severance Hospital
  • Innovate4Good@Microsoft Arrives in Singapore

    This blog has been posted by Clair Deevy, Citizenship Lead, Microsoft Asia Pacific

    There are 1.2 billion young people on our planet today, with projections of 1.5 billion young people by 2035. Many of them are doing amazing things. They are innovating, they are inspiring and they are driving real impact.

    As the Microsoft Citizenship Lead I have seen firsthand just how amazing young people can be. We can learn a lot from their work, their energy and their passion. Microsoft can provide the access to the technology, but we want to hear from them directly on the best way we can support what they care about – that is how Innovate4Good@Microsoft was born. The first of six Innovate4Good events held around the world was in Seattle, and the second was held earlier this month in Cairo. We are delighted to be hosting the APAC event in Singapore on April 28 and 29. After Singapore, hundreds more youth will participate in similar conversations in Brussels, Beijing and Mexico City.

     Innovate4Good@Microsoft participants working hard on a special project.

     

    This event is a platform for youth to speak and meet with Asian visionaries and thought leaders. More than 100 great young minds from around the region will participate in an open dialogue, discussing technology’s role in bridging the growing opportunity divide, an increasing gap between those who have access, not only to technology, but to a good education and the skills and connections needed to be successful – and those who do not. 

    Working with Microsoft’s technology these young leaders and their communities will be empowered to build successful futures and bring positive change to their homes. From fun collaborative debates on a range of issues, to listening to inspirational youth peers and finding ways to realize personal future goals, we will be providing the participants hands-on time with Microsoft’s latest technology.

    This is the start of an online global community and I hope participants will find a place where young people around the world can come together, collaborate, inspire and support each other.

    For Microsoft, investing in using technology to make the world a better place is part of who we are. Innovate4Good@Microsoft is just one of the ways Microsoft is sparking conversations to identify how technology and other investments can help bridge the opportunity divide for youth around the world. We have a lot to learn from young people – I am thrilled to be part of the excitement!

    Join the conversation at our online Twitter community at Innovate4Good@Microsoft.

    Dream it. Learn it. Live it.

  • Microsoft Collaborates with NPOs to Support Relief Efforts by Restoring Lines of Communication

    The Great East Japan earthquake that happened on 11 March 2011 hit an unprecedented 9.0 on the Richter scale and damaged vital lines of communication between disaster regions, throwing the whole nation into turmoil. “We were shocked and saddened by the images and reports coming from Japan. It was a human tragedy on a massive scale," said Mr Akhtar Badshah, Senior Director, Global Community Affairs, Microsoft.

    A mere day after the disaster struck, Microsoft wanted to reopen these lines of communication to help deliver support to both survivors and volunteers alike. Its long-standing relationships with Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) helped pave the way to re-establish lines of contact for over 150,000 victims of the quake and relief personnel working to help in the disaster. The Microsoft Disaster Response team formed a response plan that was implemented in two phases: 1) focusing on providing logistical help to volunteer centers, and 2) providing logistical support to evacuation centers.

    Microsoft Japan called out to the industry to participate in this relief effort and 27 partners joined the initiative. This marked the launch of the “Information and Communications Technology Caravan” or ICT Caravan. The ICT Caravan ensured that PCs arrived ready-made. This meant that the hardware, software and network requirements were already installed in Tokyo before they reached Tohoku. Approximately 3,000 PCs were delivered to volunteers and the evacuees themselves.

    Two key Microsoft technologies were utilized to support the disaster relief effort; the first being Office 365 SharePoint®. This cloud-based collaboration software gave volunteers in different and remote locations an easy and reliable way to deposit, share and communicate information. The other technology utilized was Microsoft Lync™. This allowed volunteers to liaise in real-time – making the speed and extent of help more immediate, through instant messaging, voice communications and even audio, video and web conferencing.

    Volunteers were very impressed with the support provided by both Microsoft and Microsoft partners. A volunteer from Tono City shared his personal sentiments, that “these personal computers were actually saving lives by helping volunteers communicate and identify evacuation centers that urgently needed food and water.” At the end of the relief exercise, the collaborative effort between the industry and NPOs helped survivors get back on their feet and reconnect with the world through the use of technology.

    The ICT Caravan’s actions eventually evolved into a larger movement of industry collaboration, which was sponsored by the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industry Association (JEITA).

    “…these personal computers were actually saving lives by helping volunteers communicate and identify evacuation centers that urgently needed food and water. ”
    - volunteer from Tono City

    For more information, please visit,
    http://www.microsoft.com/ja-jp/citizenship/challenge/npo/disasterrelief.aspx#1
    http://www.facebook.com/ictcaravan?ref=ts

  • Microsoft Built SMS Toolkit for Pregnant Women

    As part of the Maternal Health Service on Mobile (MHSM) project implemented by Datamation Foundation Trust in India, Microsoft India partnered with OneWorld South Asia (OWSA) to develop an SMS toolkit that would allow pregnant and lactating women to send and receive SMSs from a computer or laptop cost-effectively. The localized SMSs are in Hindi and contain information related to maternal and child health.

    Due to several factors such as the lack of awareness about mother and child care practices, India has one of the world’s worst infant and maternal mortality rates. This has led to the initiative to deliver health information through mobile technology, which is available to most of the Indian communities.

    The project commenced in two districts of Northern Indian state Uttar Pradesh and has benefitted more than 1000 pregnant and lactating women. Through an extensive community mobilization drive, women were registered for the MHSM service manually on the Content Management System (CMS), along with details such as the month of pregnancy or pregnancy complications. Thereafter, they would receive at least two customized messages every week, which provides them with medical advice and reminders on pre-natal care or post-natal care. 

     “The SMSs gave me useful tips such as the various vaccinations I need during the course of my pregnancy. I took all the advice seriously and managed to deliver a very healthy baby,” said Bilja, a 23 year-old beneficiary. 

    The health information provided by the service allowed the families of the targeted women to be in a better position to take care of the beneficiaries. An added benefit was that the health workers and officials who were part of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scheme were able to provide relevant, timely and customized health information, allowing them to monitor the beneficiaries more effectively.

    “Prior to using this service, I felt very weak during my pregnancy. After my husband encouraged me to monitor the diet chart sent via the SMS alerts, I started to eat iron-rich food. Now, I feel more energetic and healthy,” said Mamta Devi, 29 years.

    Following this pilot experience in India, the best practices from the project may be used to develop other projects in areas and countries, where high maternal mortality rates prevail.

    “The SMSs gave me lots of useful tips such as the various vaccinations I need during the course of my pregnancy. I took all the advice seriously and managed to deliver a very healthy baby.”

     - Bilja, Beneficiary

  • Women and Youth of Sri Lanka Empowered

    Children trying out Microsoft MultiPoint technology
    The youngest ever children to try out Microsoft MultiPoint technology in Seenigama, Sri Lanka.

    Employee volunteerism is important to Microsoft. As part of Microsoft Sri Lanka’s Staff Volunteer Day, employees teamed up with the Foundation of Goodness (FOG) to plan a series of practical training sessions aimed at building career and personal development skills in 250 women and children in Seenigama.

    The sessions took place on 18-19 November 2011 with women and children gathered from 20 villages around Seenigama, all eager to learn from Microsoft and FOG staff. The two days saw multiple activities ranging from cooking and sewing lessons, leadership and skills building, information technology (IT) training, and a host of team building activities.

    One of the more notable activities was the introduction of Windows® MultiPoint® technology into a kindergarten classroom. It was the first time that these children had used computers. With MultiPoint, the kids could access a centralized computer simultaneously, all from the convenience of their own independent monitor, keyboard and mouse. This was a significant activity for Microsoft, as the kids were the youngest ever to use this type of technology.

    Other activities that stirred great interest were the personal development courses. These included cooking and sewing classes for women over 80, as well as public speaking courses. While Microsoft wanted the villagers to have fun with learning, Microsoft also wanted to help secure the youths’ future with the right job skills. To help raise the youth’s employability, Microsoft garnered the support of professional trainers from Global Talent Coach & Consultants (Pvt) Ltd who dedicated their time and energy to conduct free team-building and leadership courses to 180 youths. Microsoft staff themselves also planned in-depth feature trainings centered on two commonly used workplace programs, namely Microsoft® Office 2010 and Windows® 7. With these newly developed IT skills, Microsoft hopes that the youth will feel more confident about entering the workforce.

    All in all, the event was a great success. The organizers, Microsoft and FOG, were inspired by the active participation from the villagers. And the villagers themselves showed great enthusiasm throughout the two days. This was yet another accomplishment for Microsoft employees in their mission to help improve the lives of women and the youth worldwide.

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