Qualcomm and sesame street

Partnership in Brief

Qualcomm and Sesame: High tech for little ones.

Qualcomm’s Objectives

Founded in 1985, Qualcomm is more than a telecommunications pioneer. They are committed to using mobile technology to enhance people’s lives around the world. Children and vulnerable communities are especially core to that mission. Using the latest technologies, Qualcomm strives to find new ways to educate children and to use the incredible reach of mobile devices to put life-changing educational material in the hands of children who otherwise might not have access to it.

Why Sesame Street?

In Sesame Street, Qualcomm found a likeminded partner. We share a commitment to improving children’s lives, the strong belief in the power of media and research, and a willingness to experiment on the cutting-edge of emerging technologies.

Qualcomm is continually reimagining what wireless technology is capable of and when that commitment to innovation is combined with Sesame Street‘s expertise in research and early childhood education, the outcome is truly inspiring. Sesame Street’s characters have literally given a face to Qualcomm’s technological advancements, and infused their mobile devices with time-tested lessons. When mixed together, it’s a recipe full of educational potential.

Qualcomm’s Vuforia, for instance, is an augmented reality technology that makes it possible for mobile devices to “see” and “read” using built-in cameras. AllJoyn, meanwhile, creates shared experiences between your television and a touch tablet. To understand the best ways to utilize these technologies and effectively help children thorough research and development is essential. We need to make sure the educational impact of these technologies is palpable in real world settings like classrooms and homes. Sesame Street’s expertise in childhood development and educational research methods is the perfect complement to ensure the full educational potential of Qualcomm’s technological know-how is realized.

The collaboration is primed to tackle another technological frontier: giving children access to much-needed educational resources via mobile devices.

In many parts of the world, cell phones are the only way to reach people. That’s where Qualcomm comes in. Qualcomm Wireless Reach is a strategic program that brings wireless technology to underserved communities globally. With 84 projects in 33 countries, Wireless Reach works to enhance people’s lives across a wide range of areas: health, education, public safety, and more. Partnerships with like-minded organizations such as Sesame Street have been critical to the success of the program. Sesame’s ongoing educational efforts in India and China, for instance, are providing critical lessons to children across the region through Qualcomm’s mobile initiative.

Partnership Components

One of the cutting-edge educational projects our collaboration has produced is Big Bird’s Words, an app that utilizes Qualcomm’s Vuforia augmented reality platform. The app makes learning new words an exciting interactive experience. It encourages children to find words in the world around them with the help of their mobile device’s built-in camera and real-time recognition software. “Where’s ‘milk’? It’s right there in a bottle on the kitchen counter!” The app then suggests other related words—goat, dairy, cow—to further expand the child’s vocabulary.

In addition, Qualcomm’s AllJoyn technology was used to experiment with ways to create an educational multi-screen experience for kids. At the 2013Consumer Electronics Show, Sesame Street’s resident fairy, Abby Cadabby, flew from a television to a tablet screen, opening up magical new teaching opportunities on the way. Her journey was powered by AllJoyn.

Across the world, the collaboration between Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach program and Sesame Street’s educational content is having an impact on diverse communities. Using 3G mobile technology, Galli Galli Sim Sim, the Indian version of Sesame Street, is bringing lessons about healthy living, hygiene, literacy, and math to children with limited access to traditional media. How? Through mobile phones, courtesy of Qualcomm and Sesame Street.

The imaginative use of mobile devices is equally critical to helping children in China, where Sesame Street is leveraging Qualcomm’s mobile technology to successfully provide digital resources to families with young children and help them prepare for emergencies as part of our Let’s Get Ready! Mobile Project. This effort is an extension of Sesame Street’s existing community engagement work in China that has resulted in the distribution of more than 120,000 emergency preparedness kits to families in 15 provinces.


At the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, we demonstrated various ways Qualcomm and Sesame Street are collaborating. Big Bird’s Words and the Abby multi-screen demonstration were met with great enthusiasm and critical acclaim.

Research on our collaboration in India speaks volumes to our joint effectiveness as well. An initial study1 suggests that the program is linked to several positive changes, including better understanding of health and hygiene practices, as well as new behaviors, such as hand washing. Participants also mentioned improvements in their children’s vocabulary and confidence. Additional research on the impact of the program in math and literacy is in the works , and will be completed before the end of 2014.

The results are also in on our Let’s Get Ready! Mobile Project and the impact has been tremendous thus far. The initiative’s child- and family-centered orientation was a positive alternative to prevailing top-down, abstract approaches to safety education. It differed from other projects of similar type in that it engaged the child in activities and offered an organized learning experience that one parent described as “a breakthrough in [their] life”.

In addition, nearly all of the participating parents (97%) noted that the project heightened their awareness of the importance of emergency preparation. The same percentage also favored the mobile project, recommended it to friends and relatives, and wanted their own children to learn more from it in the future. The project also had a measurable impact on behavior with two-thirds of families having modified or created their own emergency kit.

Given the prevalence of cell phones in India, China, and, of course, the United States, the potential for our collaboration to further impact children’s lives in a positive way is practically infinite.

1. Qualcomm 3G study: Qualitative study – The Galli Galli Sim Sim 3G Radio Access Intervention,” Jan. 2012