Mobile Crowdsourcing

Definition of “Mobile crowdsourcing”

Mobile crowdsourcing is a term that describes crowdsourcing activities that are processed on smartphones or other mobile devices. Thanks to the improved, technological smartphone features, including reliable GPS, very good cameras, and continuously new apps, mobile phone users can work on mobile crowdsourcing tasks without any further difficulties. Meanwhile, these tasks involve more than simple site descriptions.

Mobile Crowdsourcing

Uses of Mobile Crowdsourcing

Mobile crowdsourcing can be used to collect data either passively or actively. Users who have smartphones equipped with GPS can be located via apps to create movement profiles. In active crowdsourcing, smartphone users upload data: This can include photos of restaurants, exact company addresses and businesses (known as geocoding) or information about menus.

Meanwhile, mobile crowdsourcing can also provide aid to disaster victims by coordinating relief programs in real time and documenting the damage. Helpers can be sent to the site where they are most needed, as was the case during the flood disasters in Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria, or the earthquake in Haiti. Data that is gathered via mobile crowdsourcing is up-to-date, has a low error margin and large amounts of information can be delivered very quickly. That data can then be easily collated and formatted for the desired purpose. This could be to add to existing data, to create new datasets, to teach AI and more.

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Mobile Crowdsourcing at clickworker

In addition to our regular crowdsourcing services, clickworker also offers mobile services. Using own own mobile app, data can be stored and processed on clickworker.com. With this service, photos can be made on-location and quality tests or product placement can be checked locally. To date, clickworker has performed many mobile crowdsourcing projects for a variety of clients.

Why a Good App Matters

Having a mobile app means workers who don’t always have access to a PC or laptop can still take part in projects, furthering the reach of workers across the world. This means projects can be completed in promptly. Having a specific application or “app” means that workers do not have to use the desktop version of the site on a small screen which may pose problems for some. The app can also be updated as the need arises, workers can easily update it via the App Store or the Play Store depending on their device.

The clickworker app enables workers to see available jobs, instructions and to perform the task with ease. Therefore the workers have access to extra work and clients will see their projects completed on time. Additionally, with many places having free wi-fi these days it’s easy for a worker to not have to use their own data keeping costs low. The app is able to adapt in many ways to ensure the smooth running of all kinds of projects. This can include but isn’t limited to:

  • Testing various apps
  • Mystery photo shopping
  • Training AI via voice/video recordings
  • Surveys and opinion research
  • Quality control assessments
  • Pros and Cons

    Accordingly, with most things in life and in business, there will also be the good and the bad mixed together. Fortunately, when an app is used for mobile crowdsourcing that app can usually be constantly developed to keep up with demand. To this end, there may be some issues or limitations but, they can often be overcome. Additionally, clickworker has a team of excellent developers who keep our app in good shape. However, it is interesting to know the advantages and disadvantages of mobile crowdsourcing overall:


  • Work can be done outside the home with ease
  • Data can be sent in real time
  • Free wifi/data can mean no extra cost to the worker
  • Range of environments/climates for training AI
  • No extra equipment needed for recording video/audio
  • Access to more workers worldwide
  • Use of an app means the ability to adapt and expand
  • Cons

  • Some workers may not have access up to date technology
  • Poor signal/battery life may cause delays/rejections
  • Some sites may be difficult to navigate without a dedicated app
  • Real World Applications

    Although we have theoretically looked at mobile crowdsourcing, it’s therefore interesting to see how it has helped in real terms. As shown above, this kind of data collection has be used during natural disasters. This was done via people notifying rescue teams of people found trapped in rubble or on top of their homes during floods. This information was then instantly sent to the nearest available team to come and assist. Social media sites and apps such as Facebook utilise this in a personal way by people being able to mark themselves safe with their location during a disaster. This is much easier than sending a message several times to different people.

    Overseeing Quality

    Equally, the business field can gain many advantages with crowdsourcing on the go. A business may want to know their stores are following protocol for displays and therefore need to see their sales counters/caselines. However, they have over 200 stores spread across an entire country. Additionally, they don’t want a staff member to do the work as that would mean staff would be made aware of the visit. In comes mobile crowdsourcing! A range of workers in various locations can visit a store (or a few), capture photos, answer a few questions and send the data off. This is then compiled and given to the business who then know which stores may require some retraining. What could have taken the business months to complete could be completed in a matter of days or a couple of weeks.

    Developing and Training AI

    AI is also becoming more and more popular and is a part of our lifes for many of us. However, there are many things that AI still needs to learn, especially when being used for a new purpose. Overall, AI needs data and examples and it isn’t able to grab that on its own. Real life people and situations are required. For example, if a company is wanting to create or develop an in-car voice system, the AI needs to be able to understand all kinds of people. Although the system may understand the creators, they may not understand someone of a different gender, ethnicity or a non-native speaker.

    This means that data needs to be collected, this can be so easily done via a crowdsourcing mobile app. The worker simply picks up their phone, finds a usually quiet location, and records their voice once or even several times. The worker may also be asked to use different phrases, this can include words that are local to them. All of this can help the AI to recognise different voices and colloquialisms or slang.

    Testing Applications

    One of the most important things to do when an app is developed is to know that it works. However, the creators can often become blind to issues and make assumptions based on bias. This is where a Clickworker can come in handy. The worker can use the application and see what the process is like, this could be anything from an online store to a video game. Afterwards, the worker can feed back to the client to let them know via a survey, free written format or by the app following what the worker is doing. This can give invaluable data to the developers to assist them with any bugs and to enhance the quality overall.