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IS1103

Group Assignment: Social Innovation Project

< An Application To Solve Emotional Needs >

Francis Pang De Xian A0067394U


Leong Shi Jie A0072320X
Sim Shengming, Eugene A0073091L
Tay Wen Yin A0071489U

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CONTENTS

1 INTRODUCTION
2 OBJECTIVES
3 SOLUTION – iCARE
3.1 THE NOVEL APPROACHES OF iCARE
3.1.1 HASSLE-FREE COUNSELLING
3.1.2 USER ANONYMITY
3.1.3 A DEDICATED, PERSONAL COUNSELLOR:
MYCOUNSELLOR
3.1.4 MULTI-PLATFORM COMPATIBILITY
3.2 OVERVIEW OF SERVICES AVAILABLE
3.2.1 PRIVATE VIDEO CALL
3.2.2 PRIVATE VOICE CALL
3.2.3 PRIVATE MESSAGING
3.2.4 FORUM DISCUSSION
3.3 INFORMATION SECURITY
4 TARGET CONSUMERS
5 CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS & SUGGESTED FRAMEWORK
5.1 QUALITY OF VOLUNTEERS
5.2 INTERFACE OF APPLICATION
5.3 FOCUS
5.4 MARKETING
5.5 TRUST
5.6 CAPITAL
5.7 OPERATIONS / ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS

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6 LIMITATIONS OF SYSTEM AND SOLUTION
6.1 UNIQUENESS
6.1.1 CASE STUDY: CARE CORNER
6.1.2 CASE STUDY: AWARE
6.2 KEY FEATURES AND DIFFERENTIATION
6.3 INTEGRATION WITH OTHER SOCIAL PLATFORM
6.4 TRUSTWORTHINESS OF iCARE
7 RESOURCES REQUIRED
7.1 LOGISTICS LISTING
7.2 BUDGET
7.2.1 OVERVIEW
7.2.2 FREE LOANS OF WEB-CAMS
7.2.3 GRANTS
7.2.4 SPONSORSHIPS
7.2.5 DATA STORAGE
7.2.6 ALTERNATIVES
7.2.7 BREAKDOWN OF BUDGET
8 PUBLICITY/MARKETING
9 MANPOWER
10 FUTURE PROJECTION
11 CONTINUATION
12 OUR TEAM
12.1 WORKFLOW OF THE PROJECT
13 REFERENCES
14 ANNEX
ANNEX A: SURVEY QUESTIONS AND RESULT
ANNEX B: SAMPLE REGISTRATION FORM
ANNEX C: EMAIL EXCHANGE WITH MOBIEG

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1 INTRODUCTION

The teenage years are the most challenging period of growing up. According to Watson
(2006), changes in the teenage brain give rise to increased impulsiveness, defiance and
narcissism, especially around the age of fourteen. Youths may also experience new
challenges and pressures such as dealing with peer pressure, trying out new ideas and
developing new interests and behaviours. However, not all of these youths would be able to
react in the healthiest ways to these problems. As such, it is vital for youths to go for
immediate counselling the moment a problem is suspected or detected.

Problems can arise from troubled kids, and this can be further supported in the evidence of
revival of youth gangs in Singapore. There has been a recent increase in news reporting about
youths involved in gang activities. Assault cases that took place in the heartlands involved
youths ranging from age 13 - 23. On October 30, 2010 at Downtown East, a Republic
Polytechnic student aged 19 suffered multiple slash wounds and a stab wound to his abdomen,
and later passed away in Changi General Hospital. It was also reported that a group of
victims at Bukit Panjang were assaulted by six assailants armed with parangs and choppers
on November 8, 2010.

Even a dispute over a missing mobile phone sparked off an attack. Three youths aged 13, 15
and 18 reportedly left a 23-year-old man with slash wounds in Yishun on December 8, 2010
(Asiaone, 2010). All these recent gang activities show that more youths are getting involved
in gang activities again. Researches have shown that gangs usually recruit troubled youths or
youths that are isolated from society, thus suggesting that more youths now are isolated or
disconnected from the society.

In addition, reports showed that school bullying has been on the rise in the past few years, be
it virtually, mentally or physically. Victims of bullying usually become especially reserved
and tend to shun away from society. Moreover, the situation gets even more complicated if
they are bullied due to their family background such as coming from a single-parent family,
or having a family member with a complicated past (Children‟s Society, 2007). All these can
cause youths to get disconnected from society.

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Surveys also revealed that nearly 20% of the teenage population experience depression even
before they reach their adulthood (Counselling Mom, 2010). From these supporting
evidences, we can see that counselling is of utmost importance to prevent serious trouble and
consequences such as suicides from taking place and should be paid close attention to.
Moreover, the degree of difficulty in counselling increases with age. As such, we believe that
youths should go for counselling to help them cope with these challenges and problems once
detected. However, existing counselling centres and services may not benefit all troubled
youths. Based on a survey (ANNEX A) we conducted, 39.72% of the respondents think that
existing counselling centres are not effective in helping youths cope with challenges and
problems they face.

It has been identified that troubled youths who intend to seek counselling services are highly
limited by the existing mediums. The traditional practice of meeting the counsellors
physically may not be as effective because youths may have various personal issues that
need to be resolved prior to meeting the counsellors.

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2 OBJECTIVES

In order to cater to the group of youths who are unable to approach existing mainstream
counselling centres and services due to the aforementioned issues, our group proposes to
develop a mobile-based counselling application using existing (ICT) Informational
Communication Technology. This software mobile application seeks to complement the
current existing counselling services and to provide youths in our society with an alternative
counselling service medium in the hope of encouraging positive character development in
them. From our survey‟s result (ANNEX A), we gathered that more than 77.30% of the
respondents think that people in Singapore are ready and will use such counselling
applications to consult counsellors anonymously if developed.

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3 SOLUTION – iCARE

Our proposed solution is to develop a software application for smartphones – iCARE – that
will give users a highly mobile high mobility and thus convenient multimedia platform to
seek ad-hoc professional counselling services.

This application aims to accommodate the personal, one-to-one correspondence relationship


between counsellor and counselee, as practiced in conventional counselling. Highlights of
this interactive software include a fuss-free, minimalistic design interface utilizing cheerful
design themes, and a characteristic personal touch added to its range of services not yet seen
in other web-based attempts of such nature.

3.1 THE NOVEL APPROACHES OF iCARE

3.1.1 HASSLE-FREE COUNSELLING


The power of mobile Internet technology, coupled with the ubiquitous nature of smartphones,
enables this application to provide counselling services to youths at new levels of expediency.
The hassle of securing an appointment with a counsellor through call or in-person booking,
along with personal issues of transport convenience and cost, may prove to be discouraging
factors for those seeking counsel. iCARE delivers a highly convenient, quick-access medium;
the only administration is the first-time user account creation process within the mobile
application or on our website– similar to signing up for a free email account on the Internet.
Given the predominant tech-savvy state of youths today, this will definitely be preferred over
possible red-tape involved via conventional means.

3.1.2 USER ANONYMITY


Another attractive proposition of iCARE will be the level of anonymity it offers to the user;
no real names or national identification numbers are required optional data field during the
registration process. In addition, recognising the fact that users will be sensitive towards
privacy issues, iCARE provides a range of counselling services that vary in the level of user
anonymity. This would be beneficial to users who prefer private counselling, but yet do not
want their personal information to be revealed at all.

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3.1.3 A DEDICATED, PERSONAL COUNSELLOR: MYCOUNSELLOR
iCARE offers personal touch it offers immediately upon successful registration: the
assignment of a personal counsellor to the user, known as myCounsellor. This personal
counsellor, who is represented by an ID, assumes the responsibility of corresponding with the
user through the services offered by the application. By fostering one-to one long-term
relationships between counsellor and counselee, iCARE seeks to gain trust of its users in
increasing measure, thus enabling the counselling process to be more effective over time.

3.1.4 MULTI-PLATFORM COMPATIBILITY


iCARE aims to be compatible with popular smartphone operating systems such as:
- iOS by Apple Inc.*
- Android by Google Inc.*
- Blackberry by Research In Motion Ltd
- Windows Phone 7 by Microsoft Corporation

*Platforms that will be given priority for the development of iCARE, based on smartphone
operating system market share research by AdMob Metrics May 2010 Report.

3.2 OVERVIEW OF SERVICES AVAILABLE

Relying on a data connection established with the user‟s phone, this application enables two-
way communication between counsellor(s) and counselee(s) via the following four modes of
contact: i) initiating a private video call, ii) making a voice call, iii) utilizing the private
messaging function or iv) making a post in a forum-based session.

The first-time user, upon launching the application, is required to create a personal account
via iCARE‟s interface. The following lists the information fields required of the user:
o Full name
o NRIC Number
o Preferred iCARE Username
o Mobile number
o Sex
o Email address
o Address

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o Preferred password for iCARE account (User-specified)
o Gender
o Date of Birth
A sample interface prototype of the form has been attached (ANNEX B).

Upon successful registration, both short message service (sms) and email confirmations will
be sent to the user, containing:
- iCARE Username
- Password
- myCounsellor ID (ID of the assigned personal counsellor)
- Activation link and activation code

The user need to click on the activation link, or alternatively he/she can sign in the account
and then key in the given activation code manually upon request.

The following is a flowchart of the user process as well as a description of the program
functions:

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3.2.1 PRIVATE VIDEO CALL
<Meet myCounsellor>
Leveraging on 3G-324M (a third-generation radio telecommunication protocol for video
telephony) and VoIP (Voice-over-Internet-Protocol) technologies, this software application
aims to reproduce, as similarly as possible, the personal touch of a traditional counselling
session. By simultaneously delivering visual and audio intents of communication between the
user and his/her personal counsellor, the benefits of face time between counsellor and
counselee in traditional settings can be reaped.

3.2.2 PRIVATE VOICE CALL


<Speak to myCounsellor>
Recognising the fact that not every smartphone is equipped with the necessary hardware for
making video calls, nor will every user be comfortable with having visual contact with
his/her counsellor, users can opt to make voice calls to their respective personal counsellors.
Voice calls made through this application will be using VoIP technology, helping users to
save on their monthly mobile phone bills by not incurring precious minutes on users‟ limited
free talk time. Finally, however, users can still make a conventional phone call to their
personal counsellors* via a given hotline.
*Within working hours only. Otherwise, the counsellor on shift duty will tend to the caller.
Working hours refers to Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm.

3.2.3 PRIVATE MESSAGING


<Drop A Message!>
A private messaging function is built-into this software application for message exchange
between a user and his/her personal counsellor. Other than delivering text-based content, this
feature will also support attachment of pictures, video and audio clips, to allow both parties
for greater expression in their message content. This mode of communication is well-suited
for users who require greater levels of privacy than those of video or voice calls, and also for
issues which not do not necessitate prompt counselling.

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3.2.4 FORUM DISCUSSION
<MyForum>
This function is almost similar in concept to Internet forums; however, the difference lies in
the visibility and accessibility level of threads and the responses posted to them. Threads
started by a user will be approved by his/her personal counsellor, before being made visible
to other iCARE users for the purpose of learning by example. However, the ability to post
replies to a thread will only be granted to counsellors and the user who created the thread
itself. It will also be offered to understudy volunteers who are potential counsellors in future.
This is to prevent the possibility of spam and malicious posts from other users, as well as to
maintain the integrity of information being shared. Users may use this forum to gather such
information from the other counsellors who are willing to provide feedback on certain issues,
which need not be limited to only the personal scope.

3.3 INFORMATION SECURITY


Given the sensitive nature of the information that is transmitted between counsellor and
counselee, iCARE must provide effective security measures in place to maintain data
confidentiality, and security, as well as to gain users‟ trust. iCARE relies on current 3G (3rd
generation mobile telecommunications) networks for data transfer, and has been found to
provide high levels of information security[28] (3rd Generation Partnership Project, 2000).
However, to take a step further in ensuring users that iCARE will handle their digital
information safely, application-layer security protocols will be included in its software. The
following are such protocols that we aim to implement in iCARE, as much as time and
budget permits:
- Layer 7 Security
- Data Encryption
- Application Firewall
- TLS 1.0 Standard
- Web Application Security

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4 TARGET CONSUMERS

This mobile-based counselling application aims to cater to adolescents and young adults of
ages 15 to 25, focusing on the following issues that require counsel: teen relationships, family
disharmony, also social problems faced in school such as quarrels and bullying. Catering to a
focused target group can ensure that we will be able to provide more attention to youths in
need.

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5 CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS & SUGGESTED FRAMEWORK

5.1 QUALITY OF VOLUNTEERS


The most critical factor is the quality of volunteers. A stringent screening system has been in
place so as to filter out the non-genuine helpers. In addition, there will be check to ensure the
volunteers are trained well and efficiently. Therefore, as seen in the section on budget, the
budget allocated to training (HR) is substantial. If these factors are taken care of, quality of
counselling service will be constantly of high standards. The following is a framework on
how we‟ll go about doing this.

There would be three phases of gathering volunteers and manpower. In the first phase,
professional social workers will be hired and engaged to be in charge of both counselling and
administration of iCARE. As there has been no such all-in-one service offered before, there is
a need for professional social workers to effectively provide help and support to troubled
youths. It is estimated that around 45 social workers to be working on a 6-days per week
basis for the first phase.

The recruitment of the certified counsellors will start from asking for loans of registered
counsellor from SAC (Singapore Association for Counselling, 2004). To ensure the project
success, the quality of the counsellors cannot be compromised at phrase 1, hence only
registered counsellors will be considered instead of normal ordinary social worker. To better
prepare the counsellors for the new type of counselling medium, they will be sent for a
refresher course, “Art of Mobile Counselling” conducted by R Labs ( R o s s , 2 0 0 9 ) . The
course will also allow them to understand how mobile counselling is different to face to face
counselling.

After the first phase, many counselees would have benefited from the program. As such, for
the second phase, the counselees will be offered to take up the job to continue to bring forth
the love, care and help they received from their social workers to other youths who are also in
need.

In the beginning, they will serve and help out in being the under study of the certified
counsellors, following which they will be sent to professional counselling courses and

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negotiation courses to further enhance their skills before they become full-fledged helpers to
take on counselees. These steps are necessary to take so as to ensure top notch quality of
services can be provided for the welfare of the youths. The volunteers who will like to serve
but have limited commitment with us will be taking up the administrative work in the
organisation. At this point of time, it is expected for iCARE to have around 30 social workers
and a pool of 100 volunteers.

Entering the third phase of the project – estimated to be 5 years from the launch of iCARE –
there will be a stable pool of volunteers. From then on, the number of professional workers
will gradually be reduced to the minimal to reduce operation costs. The remaining social
workers will take the supervisory role and to oversee the pool of volunteers as well as take on
any unforeseen emergencies (e.g. attempted suicide, serious depression patients). Plans of
extending recruitment to other voluntary organisations and platforms will be carried out to
assist in recruiting new fresh blood. There will be no specific requirement in the recruitment
criteria except for time commitment. Similar experiences will be an added bonus. iCARE will
be in full operational force of 10 social workers as supervisors, and approximately 350
volunteers to help out in the mobile counselling application.

5.2 INTERFACE OF APPLICATION


The interface of our application must be user-friendly, so as to appeal to the users. This is
viral as the application is the differentiating factor of counselling service offered, thus it must
be well-built and appealing.

5.3 FOCUS
The focus on iCARE objective must be kept in check constantly, which is to provide youths
of targeted age group quality alternative to traditional counselling services and to enable them
to approach someone for help without any stigma or fear. Once the focus is kept, the
counselling service will always go in the right direction.

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5.4 MARKETING
Marketing of this service must be extensive and comprehensive. To even achieve the
project‟s aims and objectives, people must have known and used iCARE. Thus, initial
marketing activities must achieve recognition for its services across a wide community of
targeted youths from different background. The following is a comprehensive plan of
preparatory marketing strategy.

Branding is a very important factor to successful applications, hence publicity space in


popular company website, such as NCSS will be requested (National Council of Social
Service, 2010).

Moreover as the target counselees are youths between 15 and 25 years old where most of
them would still be schooling, it will be easier if there has been liaising with various
secondary schools, polytechnics and junior colleges to inform the students of the presence of
iCARE. Coupled with fun and entertaining skits and presentations, we will educate the
students on how the mobile application can be used to reach us as well as bring across the
consequences of not seeking help when troubled. There have been plans to tour around the
secondary schools on a regular basis to educate the students on the presence of the iCARE,
and to greater bring about brand awareness.

Beside targeting school as a mean to reach out to public, there will be generic publicity to
reach out to the working adults under 25 years old. The following are some platforms/
medium for publicity:
- New media: Facebook, twitter, blogs.
- Traditional media: Magazines, newspapers, brochures and flyer distribution.
- Words of mouth: Buzz marketing.
- Company endorsement.
- Mass media publicity: Standees, posters at shopping mall, banners, booths in schools.

Just like how Facebook has integrated in smartphones, we will also adopt the same system.
Although our main focus is the mobile application – iCARE, there will also be online
technical support, online support community and a forum put up on the webpage so that
youths who do not own smartphones can visit our webpage to use our services. The youths
will not be left out in this way and what they are missed out is merely the convenience and

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the ubiquity offered by the mobile application.

5.5 TRUST
The foundation of this whole service is built on trust from the users. Thus, it is of utmost
importance that trust be nurtured and gained from every single user of this application. This
can be done by setting up an ethics pledge whereby counsellors and volunteers alike must
adhere to. Also, we can make it explicit to the public about the concept and motive of our
service, and also collaborate with existing established counselling centres and get them to
endorse our service. In this way, even as a new start-up, the public would be more inclined to
trust in our service and application.

5.6 CAPITAL
We have to ensure we have the needed amount of money so that all operations that needs
funds can run smoothly. A solution for this can be coupled with publicity, as other than
depending on grants and sponsors, we can also collaborate with charity organisations to
create fund-raising events like fun fairs, carnivals and youth-driven concerts. In this way, we
can ensure that we have more than one source of capital, which in turn translates into lower
risk of situations whereby we get bogged down by the stoppage of capital from an avenue.
Moreover, we can use these events to promote awareness of our service, thus also
contributing to marketing.

5.7 OPERATIONS / ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS


Operations must be well-organised to minimise errors or unforeseen incidents that may
compromise our creditability as a trust-worthy counselling service. It is also imperative that
administrative matters are well dealt with to maintain and improve efficiency of our
counselling service. To do that, we have set out a framework for our operations and
administrative matters:

- Operations wise, all the phone calls will be recorded down for documentation and
archived for the training implemented in phase 2.

- Web-cameras will be loaned out to users who require them based on our assessment.
For example, youths who are not able to afford smartphones, or individuals who may

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need special attention from our counsellors will be offered web-cameras to enable
them to access our services.

- iCARE‟s modes of services will be available throughout most periods of the day.
Peak counselling hours will be from 5pm to 2am on weekdays and the whole day for
weekends. During this period, there will be 10 social workers on standby. During off
peak hours, there will be 4 social workers on duty. In the case where all our social
workers are not available, the caller will be put on hold to wait until the next
counsellor is available.

- As every single patron is of utmost importance to us, we will be allocating a social


worker to specially tend to each one of them. This minimises the possibility of any
transitional losses or loss of precision in information in a case of change of social
workers for each patron.

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6 LIMITATIONS OF SYSTEM AND SOLUTION

This application can cater even to youths who do not possess any 3G supported mobile
phones. We can provide them support through an SMS system or video call over Skype/MSN
with our social workers. The mechanism for the SMS system involves youths to key in a
<username> space <message> to a central SMS system where the SMS will be sorted and
sent out to his allocated counsellor. The counsellor will then view and respond with an
appropriate reply via the central SMS system. As for video-conferencing, for youths who
cannot afford any video-conferencing devices but are identified to have mild depression will
receive a free loan of web-cam from us.

Over time, should any counsellor feel that his/her counselee is in need of greater help than
what iCARE can provide, we will liaise with the relevant professional counselling centre to
arrange for a free-of-charge face-to-face counselling session. This is to ensure that the best
help and assistance available is offered to iCARE‟s users.

In the case of emergencies, such as when the counselee is found to be in a life-threatening


situation for example, we will immediately contact the police for assistance and release all
the necessary details required.

6.1 UNIQUENESS

After reviewing the global main counselling trends, it has been identified that the main
medium used for counselling communication is face-to-face counselling. Such traditional
mode of counselling offered does not provide a review of our current youths‟ activities and
analysis. As the target mobile application users are from the generation Z, these generic
traditional modes of counselling will not work as effectively as our proposed mobile
application (Julie, 2010). Research has shown that these youths are impatient and instant-
minded, and tend to lack the ambition of previous generations (Penelope, T, 2009). As such,
it is difficult to tie them down with home visit and regular appointments at the consultation
centres. Moreover, for youths who feel the need to stay connected due to FAD (Facebook
Addiction Disorder), our application can provide them with an alternative to depend on.
Instead of spending time on social media platforms, youths can make more effective use of

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their time on iCARE which would contain archives of thousands of ebooks online for their
reference.

There have been several case studies been done to compare against the proposed mobile
application, iCARE and the following is the research result:
MobieG

MobieG is currently the only surviving non-profit organisation which offers mobile
counselling on existing free online mobile chatting platform MXit. It is a new organisation
which was founded on 20 July 2010.

We did an in-depth evaluation and comparison of what the organisation offers and our
application offers. We felt that the operating hours of Tuesdays, Wednesday s and Thursdays
are not sufficient as emotional problems do not only happen on those days; it is perhaps the
lack of staff that results in such a short operating hours. Unlike mobieG, our focus is that we
are 24/7, hence able to provide the real time mobile counselling support and positive
counselling experience. Like iCARE, there are trained facilitators from MobieG to provide
youth support.

We can witness the success of a mobile counselling. Within 3 months upon its launch, the
National Aides Help Line has more than 2200 subscribers. Their 3 counsellors have the
highest record of each having 360 conversations in 90min (Ross, 2009). Given the high levels
of dependency youths of today have on their mobile devices, we are confident that the
approach that iCARE takes will help engages youths effectively.

After an email exchange with Stephnie Crouse,the director of MobieG, we learn about some
of the success factor of MobieG that keeps it so successful and be running till now (ANNEX
C).

The key ideas that link to MobieG success is the presentation they made in high schools
which hare for youths of ages 14 to 18 years old. They have managed to do it consistently
with up to two high schools weekly. Other means of publicity include social media and
MobieG official website. The best marketing is personal marketing
like visiting schools. Because it works so well, kids tell other kids - word of mouth

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advertising. The successful inspires the team to focus more on such publicity effort in the
preparation phrase.

On the operation side, MobieG trained 80 counsellors the past six months that counsel
voluntarily. Its training director wrote a training manual that she uses to train facilitators and
as a reference during sessions.

Moving forward, MobieG continue canvassing and training for more counsellors, marketing
at schools, marketing the counselling services in the business world to secure funds, while
maintaining the counselling sessions as advertised every week.

The next closest in nature of online counselling services to iCARE is the use of email and
video conferencing as an occasional check-in tool on their patients‟ lives (Kraus et al., 2004).
However, what stands us out from such services is the ubiquity and convenience that iCARE
can provide. Counselling support can be reached within a few clicks on iCARE – a click to
open the application followed by a click on “Chat with us”.

Moreover, iCARE focuses on a niche target audience of youths aged 15 to 25, which differ
from generic counselling services. We will also brand ourselves as a cool and approachable
organisation catering to the needs of youths today. Our publicity platform will involve putting
up advertisements in games, Facebook and Twitter.

In view of the current counselling service, we wish to take a case study on Care Corner,
which has a good reputation in the industry of counselling in Singapore (Care Corner
Counselling Centre, 2009), as well as Association of Women for Action and Research
(AWARE). From the information we gathered about the companies, we have done a
evaluation of their current practices presented as follows:

6.1.1 CASE STUDY: CARE CORNER


Clinical counselling
This is the traditional form of the counselling where the counsellors meet the clients face to
face for a counselling session to take place.

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Pro(s):
Financial aids are available for counselees.

Con(s):
Charges are relatively high, even though there are financial aids available for the needy
clients (Care Corner Counselling Centre, 2009). The charges are $30 for a counsellor and $50
with a senior counsellor per session. This is a potential problem as most youths are still
undergoing studies and will most probably not have the income to support regular
counselling.

Hotline Counselling
The free of charge hotline counselling is offered by experienced volunteers.

Pro(s):
The hotline is opened to the members of the public and it is manned 7 days a week from
10am to 10pm. The privacy of the clients can be kept safe as the service offer clients an
opportunity to share their problems in total anonymity and in strict confidentiality.

Con(s):
The hotline is not 24/7. In view of the current youths lifestyle now, we are indeed expecting
youths to seek counselling late at night.

Youth Outreach
According to webpage description, the youth outreach guidance programmer by the Care
Corner FSC is a 6-month programme which offer counselling and other workshop as a
package for youths who have committed petty crimes (Care Corner Counselling Centre,
2009).

Pro(s):
NIL.

Con(s):
This programme is good in nature, however, it is not open up to the public, as it is clearly
stated that "admission to the programme is only by referral from the police" (Care Corner

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Counselling Centre, 2009).

Conclusion
In conclusion, we feel that the services offered by the Care Corner was good, but they were
not able to specifically tailor their counselling services to youths.

6.1.2 CASE STUDY: AWARE


Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) is a non-profit organisation which
offers telephone counselling and physical face-to-face counselling as their main counselling
medium.

AWARE Helpline
After studying the helpline service, it is found out that the operating hours is limited, as
opposed to the 24/7 hotline offered by iCARE (Association of Women for Action and
Research, 2011). The hotline offered by the organisation is not a dedicated hotline catered
just for counselling, but a generic telephone number to cater to AWARE wide range of
services. Hence to get to the counselling service, the users need to key in several options
given by the automated voice before he/she can talk to a real counsellor. Such a system
design which is not customised purely for counselling services are a disadvantage.

Face-to-face Counselling
AWARE offer counselling service which covers a range of areas from body image to crisis
and trauma, from parenting concerns to cross-cultural relationship issues, in which iCARE
cannot and will not be offering (Association of Women for Action and Research, 2011). As
compared to AWARE which offer preventive and personal enhancement consultation, the
approach that iCARE takes in counselling is different in the sense that iCARE only caters to
targeted youths of age 15 to 25 and attend only to diagnostic and treatment of counselees‟
problems. The reason why iCARE does not take on similar approach as AWARE counselling
is the concern of funding issues where iCARE is not able to handle such a vast range of
counselling services.

Conclusion
All in all, AWARE is good and effective in their telephone counselling and physical face to
face counselling. However, their main target group is women and not youths. Hence their

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effectiveness and competitiveness is already halved as opposed to iCARE. iCARE also offer
video conferencing counselling service as a medium which AWARE does not offer.

6.2 KEY FEATURES AND DIFFERENTIATION


One of the key features that we will like to promote is the ability to allow counselees to
arrange for video conferencing with our professional social workers for a one-to-one session
to let us understand more of their problem. What differentiate us from the traditional mode of
counselling are the convenience and the personal touch that no other counselling services can
offer.

As compared to the tradition physical face-to-face appointment or house-visit type of


counselling, it is a waste of time for both social workers and counselees taking into account
the travel time and cost. Although it may be effective, the time and cost saved can be used to
take care of other counselees. For example, some small cases do not require physical meet-up.
That is when our video conferencing can balance out the scale.

On the other hand, as compared to telephone counselling, our video conferencing can add a
personal touch to the counselling service. Through the visual interaction that our social
workers make with the counselees, we can better access the situation and provide a much
more effective counselling session than telephone counselling. By showing empathic concern
and listening to the counselees, it will also add to the workers‟ sincerity and desire to help.

As our mobile application will be providing not just video conferencing, we will be setting up
two other modes of communication. One of which is instant messaging (IM) with similar
functionality of Whatsapp© so that the counselees who are shy of showing their face can
choose to text and send in their problem to us. Our social workers on duty will reply him with
appropriate reply promptly before he/she is being handed over to a social worker to take
charge of him if necessary. If the person wish to speak to any of us but not willing to show
their face, we also provide this other method which is the in-house Voice Over Internet
Protocol (VOIP) services. Of course, it is recommended that our counselees will take up the
video conferencing as their priority as they will be able to gain the most from it.

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6.3 INTEGRATION WITH OTHER SOCIAL PLATFORM
Twitter: We will allow our users to link their Twitter accounts with our mobile application. In
this way, they can either tweet on iCARE or twitter where both platforms will be updated.

Facebook: Like the integration of Twitter, users can post their status updates on our mobile
application and the application will update their Facebook automatically. If they come across
an article on our application that they would like to share, they will also be able to post it on
Facebook with our built-in bit.ly shorten-er as well as monitor who has viewed that article.

6.4 TRUSTWORTHINESS OF iCARE


All video conferencing and other related counselees‟ data are being documented into a
database for documentation and training purpose. However, there is an opt-out option for the
privacy-conscientious. Furthermore, the counselees can write in to request to erase off all
traces of usage of the mobile application at absolutely no cost involved.

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7 RESOURCES REQUIRED

7.1 LOGISTICS LISTING


- Web hosting space
- Professional social workers
- Small working office (optional) or SoHo (small office/home office)
- A team of web technicians and web designer to maintain and set up the website
- Data server
- Web-cams

7.2 BUDGET

7.2.1 OVERVIEW
We will estimated that we will need a start-up of at least $10,000 to kick-start the project, eg.
hiring of people for website and mobile application creation and maintenance, engaging
professional social workers. After that, an annual amount of $5000 will be required for
regular maintenance of the projects to keep it going. A more detailed analysis on the budget
will be discussed in the following parts.

7.2.2 FREE LOANS OF WEB-CAMS


This is regarding about the free loans of web-cams to financially-challenged users of our
service as explained in the earlier sections of our proposal. To go about providing them free
loans, we will be sourcing out sponsors to provide us with long term loans of the devices.

7.2.3 GRANTS
As we need a substantial amount of money for the head start, we will be looking at some of
the government body and other societies for assistance via grants and donation. Some of them
include Youth Innovation Grant (YIG) (National Youth Council, 2011), New Initiative Grant
(NIG), and ComCare Social Support Projects Fund (CSPF). From the above list, the most
likely grant that we will be getting is YIG as it fits very well with our project vision and
needs. As YIG can allow up to $50k grant, the grant will be more than enough as we have
fulfilled all of the requirements of obtaining the grant.

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7.2.4 SPONSORSHIPS
Beside grants, we are also looking for sponsorships to provide with us with logistics. We will
be looking at schools or other organisations to provide us with free web domain and hosting
space for our web technical support. In addition, we will be reaching out to our very own
local universities to look for programmers and application designers who can also take this
chance to showcase their skills and talents as well as contribute to the designing of iCARE.
As the first phase of our project requires professional social workers, we have plans to
request for some help from the government or existing voluntary organisation to aid us in
providing working professionals for short-term assistance. Some of the companies which we
are planning to ask for assistance from will be Counselling and Care Centre (CCC), Care
Corner Counselling Centre, and Shan You Counselling Centre.

7.2.5 DATA STORAGE


As there is a large amount of sensitive information involved, we will be engaging a data
storage solution company to specially take charge of our cloud computing services.

7.2.6 ALTERNATIVES
In the event where our sponsors are unable to cover all of our expenditures, we have sourced
out web hosting sites like www.fatcow.com and www.godaddy.com who charges an
[a] [b]

average of US$90/year (www.godaddy.com offers a cheaper alternative at US$12.99). On the


other hand, web-page designers may come from friends and volunteers from the public, thus
would not take up much of our budget. In total, this may add up to around US$20/month.

On the current examination of some of the successful case studies of the NGO mobile
counselling services that they are using, we feel that we too can use the free mobile services
such as „Google talk‟ in our applications. Therefore, to go about reducing the additional costs
regarding telecommunications (eg. phone and electricity bills), instead of using traditional
methods of telecommunication, Google talk will be embedded into our applications, not as a
standalone application, but part of it and it will be the application we will be using for the
text-based consultation.

Side note: The current mobile chat applications like Mxit, Mig33, Pooosch and the Grid are
not a likely choice where we will be using, because we are unfamiliar with the usage,
capabilities and the interface of it.

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7.2.7 BREAKDOWN OF BUDGET
In conclusion, the majority of our budget will come from sponsors, donations, and grants
while the majority of our expenditure will be on publicity and logistics. The breakdown of
our budget, or budget allocation, is shown below:

NOTE: As seen in the appendix above, there is „buzz marketing‟ in our marketing strategy,
thus we would need opinion leaders to help us spread the word of our service. Incentives
could be provided to these people, estimated to be around $30 per person. This accounts for
10% of the „physical publicity‟ budget allocation allocated to „buzz marketing‟.

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8 PUBLICITY/MARKETING
Refer to section 5.4.

9 MANPOWER
Refer to section 5.1.

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10 FUTURE PROJECTION
We will be targeting 500 visitors for the first year, with the membership database and solved
cases to double every year. Extrapolating the result, we will be expecting more than 2000 and
7500 members after 3 and 5 years respectively.

11 CONTINUATION
As we are looking at continuation of the mobile application, we have the intention to extend
our outreach. As of current stage, most of the engagements are online based. Hence we have
ideas to bring the virtual reality back to reality.

Depression can be relapsed if triggered. One of the cures of youth mental disease is to adopt
new healthy habits that will distract you from sadness. Our group thinks that taking up sports
activities is a good habit to cultivate as it not only keeps the body fit, but also a good chance
to get to know more people.

We are looking at forming various small interest groups for our counselees with similar
interests to foster their interests and to at best develop their social skills. Some of the interest
groups that will be the pioneer batch to be in discussion will be music-related and sports
interest groups.

12 OUR TEAM
About the roles of our team, we will be the pioneers of the project. We will be more likely to
take on the roles of a coordinator and planers in this. We will be on the management level
who will oversee the whole smooth running of the project.

Our jobs will be more focused towards bringing in the fund and to assist in coordinating the
publicity effort for the mobile application. In view of the lack of technical skills, we will be
outsourcing most of the technical tasks such as publicity design, database maintenance,
website/ application designers and other administrative work to specialist to handle.

Moving on towards the end of phase 2, we will be likely to hand over the roles of
management over to the NGOs, and we will take on advisory roles to the understudy to take
over us.

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12.1 WORKFLOW OF THE PROJECT
Here is a summary of the timeline of the project:

Preparation Phase (Year -2 to 0) Phase 1 (Year 0 to 2) Phase 2 (Year 3 & 4) Phase 3 (Year 5+)
Marketing/ Liaise with government Mobile application soft launch Talks around schools
Publicity organisation for joint event Flyers distribution
publicity plan Social media publicity Events to encourage healthy living & stress management
Joint publicity with various non-
profitable government
organisation and charity
organisation
Manpower Not applicable Certified counsellors 100 Certified Counsellors 70% Senior Counsellors 5%
%
Volunteers 0% Volunteers: 30% Volunteers 95%
Administrators
Understudy counsellors
Estimated 8,000 7,500 5,000 3,000
Expenditure per
year (SGD)
Result
Total Not applicable 500 2000 7500
Membership
Expected cases 600 4000 9000
per year

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13 REFERENCES

3rd Generation Partnership Project. (2000). A Guide to 3rd Generation Security (3G TR
33.900 version 1.2.0). Retrieved from
ftp://ftp.3gpp.org/TSG_SA/WG3_Security/_Specs/33900-120.pdf

AdMob Mobile Metrics. (2010, May). Metrics highlights. Retrieved from


http://metrics.admob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/May-2010-AdMob-Mobile-Metrics-
Highlights.pdf

Asiaone. (2010, December 10). Youngest youth in Yishun slashing only 13. Retrieved
February 10, 2011 from
http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne+News/Singapore/Story/A1Story20101210-
251923.html

Association of Women for Action and Research. (2011). Counselling. Retrieved from
http://www.aware.org.sg/support-services/counselling/

Association of Women for Action and Research. (2011). Helpline. Retrieved from
http://www.aware.org.sg/support-services/helpline/

Association of Women for Action and Research. (2011). Support Groups. Retrieved from
http://www.aware.org.sg/support-services/support-groups/

Brinda, B. (2010, March 5). The Life of Generation Z. Retrieved from


http://teenlife.blogs.pressdemocrat.com/10220/the-life-of-generation-z/

Care Corner Counselling Centre. (2009). Our Services (Counselling). Retrieved from
http://www.carecorner.org.sg/services_counselling.htm

Care Corner Counselling Centre. (2009). Our Services (Youth)- Youth Outreach. Retrieved
from http://www.carecorner.org.sg/services_youth.htm#outreach

Care Corner Counselling Centre. (2009). Overview. Retrieved from


http://www.carecorner.org.sg/cccc.htm

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Children‟s Society. (2007). A Survey of Bullying in Singapore Primary Schools. Retrieved
February 10, 2011 from
http://www.childrensociety.org.sg/images/services/Bullying%20in%20Singapore%20Primary
%20Schools.pdf

Counselling Mom. (2010, April 10). Alarming Statistics Of Adolescent Depression.


Retrieved March 17, 2011 from http://www.counsellingmom.com/depression/alarming-
statistics-of-adolescent-depression

Counselling and Care Centre. (2011). Services Offered. Retrieved from


http://www.counsel.org.sg/index.cfm?GPID=7

Julie, H. (2010). Inside Generation Z. Retrived from


http://www.omigoddess.com.au/family/inside-generation-z/

Kraus, R.; Zack, J.; Stricker, G. (2004). Online Counselling: A Handbook for Mental Health
Professionals, San Diego, California: Elsevier Academic Press

Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports. (2011). ComCare Social Support
Projects Fund. Retrieved from
http://app1.mcys.gov.sg/Assistance/ComCareSocialSupportProjectsFundCSPF.aspx

National Council of Social Service. (2010). Main Page. Retrieved from


http://www.ncss.org.sg/home/index.asp

National Youth Council. (2011). New Initiative Grant(YIG). Retrieved from


http://www.nvpc.org.sg/Pgm/Content/NVPC_F_CMS_SubPage.aspx?PID=2&SID=19

National Youth Council. (2011). Youth Innovation Grant(YIG). Retrieved from


http://www.nyc.pa.gov.sg/forms/YIG%20Factsheet.pdf

Penelope, T. (2009). What Generation Z will be like at work. Retrieved from


http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2009/07/27/what-work-will-be-like-for-generation-z/

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Peter, H. (2000). 3G Security Overview. Retrieved from
www.isrc.rhul.ac.uk/useca/OtherPublications/IIR-overview.pdf

Ross, C. (2009, December 2). Let the fingers do the talking. Retrieved from
http://kingross.co.za/?p=688

Ross, C. (2009, November 29). Rlabs presents mobile counselling training #part 1. Retrieved
fromhttp://kingross.co.za/?p=626

Shan You. (2010). Our Services. Retrieved from http://www.shanyou.org.sg/en/our-


services/clinical-services.html

Singapore Association for Counselling. (2004). Members. Retrieved from http://www.sac-


counsel.org.sg/members.html

Singapore Children‟s Society. (2006). Services - Remedial. Retrieved from


http://www.childrensociety.org.sg/services/remedial.htm

Watson, I. (2006, September 26). Parenting Pitfalls – The Two Critical Turning Points of
Childhood. Retrieved March 30, 2011 from
http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/9/prweb442365.htm

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14 ANNEX
ANNEX A: SURVEY QUESTIONS AND RESULT

34
ANNEX B: SAMPLE REGISTRATION FORM

35
ANNEX C: EMAIL EXCHANGE WITH MOBIEG

From: francispang@hotmail.sg
To: info@mobieg.co.za
Sent: Monday, March 28, 2011 8:17 PM
Subject: Message from mobieG contact us page: Enquiry on mobieG

Name: Francis Pang


Email: francispang@hotmail.sg

Dear Sir/Madam
I am Francis, a student studying in National University of Singapore. I and my team of
friends are currently doing a project with regards to mobile counselling service.
I have seen the success of mobieG. Hence I will like a few questions/requests on the
organisation:
1. Why or what do think that has made mobieG such a success?
2. What do you think is the main publicity that has been effective that so many
user/subscribers get to know about mobieG?
3. May you be willing to share about the technology you have adopted on the counselling
behind the scene?
I personally wish that mobieG can continue to work hard and spread it services to more
people.
Thank you for your precious time in reading the email. I look forward to your helpful reply.

Warmest regards
Francis Pang
School of Computing | Year 1

36
From: MobieG
Sent: Friday, April 01, 2011 8:31 PM
To: francispang@hotmail.sg
Subject: Re: Message from mobieG contact us page: Enquiry on MobieG

Hi,
Thx for your enquiry . I hope I can be of help to you.
1. Mobieg has 4 people at the helm with a united vision, who are entrepeneurs in the true
sense of the word (we never give up), who trust in God totally and who love teenagers. Those
combined saw us through tough times and decisions. Since it was a new concept - we hqd to
invent a lot of new stuff, write our own code of conduct, training manuals, rules, systems,
ethics, jobdescriptions etc.
2. We made appointments with high schools (ages 14 -18 years)- one with the principal
during which we eplained our product, and the next one we adressed all the scholars during
an assembly and handed each a businesscard with our log-in details. This we do consistently
every week - one or two schools. We also use facebook and an website. The best marketing is
personal marketing like visiting schools. Because it works so well, kids tell other kids – word
of mouth advertising.
3. The technology we use is the software from Jamiix - it works perfectly for this type of
counselling, we use a fast broadband internet connection and set up 10 or more laptops per
session. We trained 80 counsellors the past six months that counsel voluntarily on mobieg -
just because they want to do something back for the community. Our training director wrote a
training manual that she uses to train facilitators and we use it as a reference during sessions.
It is actually quite simple and easy to do. There is a few things we do consistently - for
example: canvassing for more counsellors, training new counsellors, marketing at schools,
marketing mobieg in the business world to secure funds to keep it running, and doing our
counselling sessions as advertised every week.

I hope this information will help you. If you need anything more, feel free to contact us again.

Stephnie Crouse
Director: mobieG

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