August, 2012

  • Microsoft and USAID Help iMULAI 4.0 Winners Turn Ideas into Reality

     The United States Government, Microsoft Indonesia and the Government of Indonesia jointly announced on 24 May the 10 winners of the iMULAI 4.0 Business Innovation Competition.



    Now in its fourth year running, iMULAI 4.0 is a national innovation software competition sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Microsoft Indonesia. The purpose of the competition is to encourage Indonesian startups to submit creative ideas on information and communications technology (ICT) based software that improve the way entrepreneurs do business.

    “iMULAI helps these local software startups by providing them with access to Microsoft software development tools, as well as connecting them with key industry players and government and economic development agencies to increase market visibility. We are working towards the common goal of developing Indonesia to its fullest potential,” said Andreas Diantoro, President Director of Microsoft Indonesia.

    Prior to the competition, iMULAI conducted a series of seminars in Makassar, Samarinda, Palembang and Surabaya to raise awareness and encourage participation. As a result, more than 280 startups from 55 cities in Indonesia participated in this year’s competition.

    Each of the iMULAI 4.0 winners received a professional startup software suite worth US$300,000 and hardware which will help to support their businesses. They are also provided with the opportunity to join a special business planning boot camp to present their innovative ideas to venture capital companies that are looking for prospective partners to invest in. 

    “The iMULAI 4.0 competition has given us lots of useful tools and opportunities that aid in our business development. We appreciate the chance to meet possible investors who are able to help us expand our services to more companies,” said Mico Wendy, one of the iMULAI 4.0 winners who submitted the “SaveMillions” idea, a mobile application aimed at helping people make educated decisions on their charitable donations.

    Programs such as iMULAI demonstrate Microsoft’s commitment to work closely with government agencies to foster innovations and broaden the reach of technology into communities across Indonesia.

    “The United States is proud to support iMULAI for the fourth year and create opportunities for Indonesian entrepreneurs to contribute to the global economy. For Indonesia to sustain its growth, we have to work together to improve education, protect intellectual property rights and support innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Scot Marciel, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia.

  • Office 365 for Education – A Game Changer for Teaching and Learning

    This piece was originally posted on 27 June 2012 by Anthony Salcito, Microsoft Vice President of Education. For more stories like this, please go to his Insights blog.

    The cloud and online learning are key trends and opportunities to transform education today. And with today’s launch and availability of Office 365 for education, schools now have a holistic collaboration platform that will change the game. As schools face ever-tightening budgets and the pressure to innovate, Microsoft is offering enterprise quality technology for free that will modernize teaching practices and help prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.

    Office 365 for education builds off of the great platform we've established with Live@edu and is the next evolution to provide a better experience for communication, collaboration and productivity tools for education institutions of all types…while saving costs and delivering a great connected experience for students and educators. With Office 365, schools get Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online and Office Web Apps at no cost. You can sign up today at

    Announced as part of the one-year anniversary of Office 365, prestigious K-12 and higher education institutions around the world are moving to Office 365 for education. Our cloud suite was chosen by the Scottish Government to supply Office 365 for education as the integrated productivity suite for the future of the renowned Glow Platform - representing upwards of 1.2 million students and teachers across the country. In Qatar, all 93,000 students and 15,000 teachers will have access to Office 365 at their fingertips. There are many schools across Europe moving to Office 365, including the University of Dundee that is moving off Novell GroupWise to expand communication capabilities on campus. These schools join other large academic institutional and countrywide commitments to Office 365 such as the India Council for Technical Education with 7.5 million users and the Catholic International Education Office with over 4.5 million users across 102 countries.

    Students must be more than consumers. They need to be creators. They need to know how to communicate and collaborate with others. Office 365 is the best productivity experience that’s used all over the world and that companies are demanding expertise in. And there is no compromise for going to the cloud with Microsoft. The experience and features that you expect on the desktop and offline are also there in the cloud. Schools can connect all devices to the cloud, and every student and teacher regardless of location, can realize the potential of online learning.

    Teachers can create curriculum, record lectures and publish them on online class sites in the cloud where students are able to view, open, produce, edit and share their homework. Office 365 provides new ways to extend classroom teaching time and distance learning, tutor students online and whiteboard ideas. Students can engage in ad hoc instant messaging or video chats to collaborate on class projects in real-time, regardless of where they’re working or on what device. They can create documents with Office Web Apps that provides the same features as the desktop version of Microsoft Office, share class notes by synchronizing OneNote notebooks and create digital portfolios.

    What I’m most excited about is Lync Online which will enable teachers to create purposeful, personalized and fun learning experiences. The University of Massachusetts Amherst and the National University of Ireland, Galway are using Office 365 to create virtual teams and prepare students to be more effective in the business world than other graduates. Students are immersed the very first day of class in the cloud. Take a look at the video below.

    With Office 365, learning possibilities are limitless. And I can’t wait to hear how it’s helping to increase students’ success in your school.

  • New Zealand's PlunketLine Uses CRM Solution to Better Engage with Clients

    The Royal New Zealand Plunket Society Inc (Plunket) operates a 24x7 national contact centre service group called PlunketLine. Its existing CRM systems' on-going support requirements and costs were proving to be a challenge. Dimension Data New Zealand proposed the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 system to Plunket, and integrated it to PlunketLine's call centre telephony system.

    Dimension Data New Zealand managed the entire process, including the design, development and configuration of the new system, as well as the migration of the PlunketLine existing data into the new CRM database.

    Watch this video that details how Microsoft CRM is helping Plunket and the call centre better engage with New Zealand families and give them the technology experience they deserve.

  • Ensuring the Health of Mothers and Babies in India

    Due to the lack of awareness about mother and child care practices, India has one of the world’s worst infant and maternal mortality rates. At the same time, India also has one of the fastest growing mobile telephony markets, where the technology has become available to the most economically and socially marginalised communities. These factors have led to an initiative to deliver health information through mobile technology for an uncommon purpose: delivering actionable health information right to a mother’s hand.

    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 provide critical reproductive and child health related information services to pregnant and lactating women, their families and health workers through mobile phones, using localised SMSs in Hindi. The content is predetermined and pre-vetted – providing the kind of knowledge that these women need to not only ensure better healthcare for themselves, but also to ensure that their babies get the best possible start in life.

    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 mobilisation drive, women were registered for the MHSM service manually on a Content Management System (CMS), along with details of the pregnancy including any complications. Thereafter, mothers would receive at least two customised messages every week with medical advice and reminders on pre 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 families of the targeted women to better support 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 customised health information, allowing them to monitor the mothers and babies 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, a program participant.

    Upon the successful implementation of phase I, the team plans to scale the project across India and provide the SMSs in multiple languages through partnerships with health departments of central and state governments. In the second phase, pre-recorded voice messages are being looked at, so that more women and families can access this service. Finally, a system of automatic registration will be introduced at a later stage.

  • Bridging the Digital Divide for Hong Kong’s Underprivileged Youth

    The Church of United Brethren in Christ Social Service Division becomes the first local nonprofit organisation in Hong Kong to use Microsoft Multipoint Server for IT training.

    The Church of the United Brethren (CUBC) launched its social service division in 1984 in Hong Kong. With 70 full-time staff and 3,000 volunteers, the division provides support, development and education services to young people and their families, regardless of their faith, who face financial, social or educational challenges, helping them realise their potential. It also helps unemployed youth, and runs a Cyber Youth counselling support service.

    CUBC’s social service division has helped over 10,000 deprived individuals through educational and counselling programmes that are designed to increase skills, knowledge and just as importantly their sense of self-worth and confidence. Programmes are run from a number of service centres, some of which are set up inside Hong Kong’s disadvantaged communities. There are programmes for children with learning difficulties and leadership training for bright kids – all designed to unlock individual career potential and give them equal opportunities.


    For CUBC, much of their teaching is either computer based or it’s about equipping young people with IT skills including social media. The organisation also relies on IT for student enrolment, course planning and to promote training activities.

    At the heart of each CUBC service centre is a computer room with up to 16 computers. However, lack of IT resources meant that computer rooms were in constant demand, and unable to offer as much access as required. Despite the fact that running and maintenance costs were increasing CUBC was challenged to scale up their programmes as many youth were looking to them to level the playing field.


    CUBC needed an efficient solution that would allow it to stretch its limited resources and cost effectively run IT training that would continue to enhance the computer knowledge and skills of growing numbers of low-income families and individuals. The solution - a Chinese version of Microsoft’s Multipoint Server operating system - was tailor-made for CUBC. A simple cost-effective way for more students and teachers to gain access to the latest technology, Microsoft Multipoint Server is designed to allow a single computer to support multiple users at the same time, each working independently using their own monitor, keyboard and mouse and with a familiar Windows computing experience. In support Microsoft also donated software such as Microsoft Office Professional 2010.


    Along with improving learning and helping students prepare to compete in a digital economy, the Microsoft Multipoint Server and software system has allowed CUBC to stretch its budget, create a more attractive learning environment and better manage its operating costs. Cost savings include over 60 percent on hardware, energy and maintenance, and the same amount in efficiency improvements for IT technicians in software management, hardware maintenance and daily operations.

    Both staff and volunteers are happier and more productive because the new system is simply making it easier to manage and less time intensive to prepare for new courses and teaching programmes. With Microsoft’s donation, there were no extra costs involved in upgrading computer accessories such as keyboard, mouse and extended power cables.


    CUBC is the first non profit organisation in Hong Kong to introduce the Multipoint Server and it is already realising that as well as better engaging with students and empowering its volunteer, it can scale up to meet the growing needs of underprivileged youth without increasing costs or investing in more assets.

    With Microsoft’s Multipoint Server, CUBC can effectively triple the number of Windows computers without increasing budget – and that means it can provide more people with what may be their only access to a computer and help them cross the digital gap. CUBC has already been able to double the number of classes per session – and that is just the beginning.

    “We are a small NGO with limited resources but this system helps us tailor-make computer facilities (hardware and software) to meet the needs of local users. The Microsoft system has helped us provide more access to the most vulnerable in our society, to offer more services with less manpower and less cost. We can reach more people, run more classes and develop more programmes like cyber counselling and education. We want to bridge the digital gap between the poor and the well off and help them to have equal learning opportunities,” said Wong Sau Wa, service coordinator of social service division, CUBC.

    The Multipoint Sever solution adopted by CUBC underpins a successful pilot that Microsoft plans to share among its Community Technology Learning Centers (CTLC), a network of 47 centres that Microsoft Hong Kong launched in partnership with a number of nonprofits in 2003. To date, close to 600,000 people have benefited from the IT access and training from these centres, and the use of Multipoint Server will help multiply the effect.

    Project at a glance


    The Church of United Brethren in Christ Social Service Division


    An efficient and cost-effective IT suite to provide 21st century access to information technology for underprivileged youth


    Microsoft Multipoint Server OS (Chinese version), Microsoft Office Professional 2010


    Cost saving of 60 percent on hardware, energy and maintenance; Better and safer teaching environment


    Number of classes doubled so more people will benefit from the classes

    Scope for developing more and better programmes such as cyber counselling and education


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