“Last month, the Rockefeller Foundation announced a $100 million initiative to strengthen health systems in Africa and Asia by building capacity, supporting policy interventions and promoting health IT applications.
As part of its health IT strategy, the foundation intends to leverage mobile phone-based technologies to improve health care access, quality and efficiency.
Karl Brown, Rockefeller’s associate director of applied technology, explained that the foundation sees mobile health technologies “as sort of the front lines of e-health.” He said that although servers, databases and Web sites will be necessary to support the mobile phone applications, health workers can use the devices to extend their reach to regions that lack adequate health care infrastructure.”
Posts in category 'Asia'
“Across India, the mobile revolution is passé by now and is just a matter of tracking the millions. (By the time you will be reading this, the number of mobile subscribers in India will have crossed 400 million, making it the world’s second-largest market.) But this very growth has put the fear of commoditisation into the hearts of the players. They need a differentiator. That differentiator is services.”
(via Open Gardens)
Design for All Institute Of India is a self financed, non-profit voluntary organization, located in Delhi, India, which seeks corporate and public partnership in order to carry forward its very ambitious agenda of pro-actively building bridges of social inclusion between the design community and all other groups whose activities can be positively influenced by a coherent application of design methodology. Design for All means creating products, services and systems to cater to the widest possible range of users’ requirements. We initiated the concept and have received enormous encouragement from domestic as well as International communities.
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A selection of articles relevant to the topics of this blog:
Vikram Akula: mobile banking could be the future of microfinance
In an interview with India Knowledge@Wharton, Vikram Akula, founder and CEO of SKS Microfinance, spoke about emerging trends in microfinance.
India’s rural poor: why housing isn’t enough to create sustainable communities
The real story of rural India must be told with more than five hundred million characters who live on less than a dollar a day, most of them in terrible living conditions.
The poor deserve world-class products and services
C.K. Prahalad has long championed the notion that business — rather than government handouts — represents the most effective solution to poverty.
Rural India Snaps Up Mobile Phones
India’s cellphone industry continues its steady growth, led by demand from rural consumers, and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Doing well by doing good?
The mobile phone is now one of the hottest development tools world-wide, with corporations eyeing untapped rural markets in the hope that new mobile-phone services can boost rural incomes and corporate revenue at the same time.
“What impressed me most about TEM is its staff members’ multidisciplinary backgrounds. In addition to computer scientists and engineers, TEM also includes experts in the areas of ethnography, sociology, political science, and development economics, all of which help Microsoft understand the social context of technology in emerging markets like India. [...]
By leveraging its multidisciplinary talent, TEM has developed some amazing solutions designed for emerging and underserved markets, both in rural and urban environments.”
Radjou sees this as an example of Microsoft’s new direction in terms of research and development:
“Undoubtedly Microsoft is pioneering the R&D 2.0 model that I discussed in my last post — an organizational model that relies on anthropologists and development economists to first decipher the socio-cultural needs of users in emerging markets like India and then use these deep insights to develop appropriate technology solutions. And it’s telling that Microsoft picked India as the epicentre of its global R&D transformation.”
He concludes with “some operating principles that [he] can offer to senior managers in other multinationals who wish to deploy the R&D 2.0 model in their own emerging market units like India.”
Navi Radjou is the Executive Director of the Centre for India & Global Business at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge.
“I still write and publish my work in academic journals. To me, what we do in companies like Intel is the cutting edge of anthropological study.
“We form a relationship with the consumer and represent their needs. It’s a moral obligation to tell their stories.
“We find out what makes people tick, not just so that we can sell them things, but to make life better for them by ensuring that people in small towns and emerging markets can afford it. We want to help create technology for more people.”
“The top responses for strange mobile etiquette behaviour ranged from making a cashier wait until a cellphone call was completed and texting while driving.
Other responses included using a laptop in a public toilet, as well as hearing typing and conversations at church, during a funeral, and in a doctor’s office.”
“My engineering colleagues were desperately convinced that everything was a PC waiting to happen.
“What is needed is to meaningfully blend television and the Internet. My research conclusion was clear – consumers love television and only put up with their PCs because they want to connect to the Internet.
“It’s clear that people care about social networking and its technologies so how to we bring that into TV sets?
“Imagine accessing Flicker or Twitter on your television without turning it into a PC ? We desire for television to do more but it must not be too complicated. The challenge is to create technology that can accommodate local content,” she says, noting that there is a huge space for advancement in consumer electronics, especially to “make television better”.
“Nokia plans to roll out its Life Tools group of services to more emerging markets following a successful pilot program in India, a company executive said Monday.
Nokia is now formulating plans to roll out Life Tools, which includes agricultural and educational services for rural mobile users, in other emerging markets following the “great success” of a trial conducted in India, said Mary McDowell, executive vice president and chief development officer at Nokia, speaking at a company event in Singapore ahead of the CommunicAsia conference and exhibition, which opens on June 16.”
“It has been a while since the mobile phone became more than just a phone, serving as a texting device, a camera and a digital music player, among other things. But experts say South Korea, because of its high-speed wireless networks and top technology companies like Samsung and LG, is the test case for the mobile future.”
This brochure, published by GTZ, provides a systematic overview of Web 2.0 experiences made to date in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It serves as a practice-oriented introduction to the theme and discusses both the potentials and the possible limits to the participatory web.
“To effectively identify and address the explicit and unmet needs of the broader consumer base in emerging markets, I believe multi-national companies [MNCs] must adopt a new global innovation model. Let’s call it global R&D 2.0.
This global R&D 2.0 strategy calls for a talent recalibration in MNCs’ R&D labs in emerging markets. I suggest that multinationals, besides employing technically-oriented engineers and scientists, begin to staff their R&D units in developing nations like India with two other types of experts, namely:
Anthropologists and ethnographers. By having anthropologists study and interact with end-customers in their natural settings, Western firms can learn to tailor their business models and offerings to match users’ socio-economic and cultural context. [...]
Development economists. [...] To effectively lure low-income buyers into procuring their low-end goods and services, multinationals need the help of development economists who can concoct creative pricing and financing mechanisms, such as microcredit schemes.”
“In this program we’ll highlight several interesting initiatives, one in Africa and one in the South Asia region, initiatives which have had success largely because of their responsiveness to people needs. And we’ll also question the West’s preconceptions about the future technological needs of the world’s poor.”
The programme features Nathan Eagle, a research scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, whose “area of expertise is exploring ways in which the lives of people in the developing world can be enhanced by creatively using a simple piece of everyday technology, the mobile phone”; Jerry Watkins, a senior lecturer in design at Swinburne University in Melbourne, who is the co-principal investigator of the ‘Moving Content’ project in India; and Archie Law, CEO of ActionAid Australia, which is “in the process of setting up what they call a ‘blog outreach post’ where the idea is “to send someone to a remote part of the developing world, in this case Tanzania, and have them establish a communications point there.”
“[The conference] frequently explored and critiqued the thesis of CK Prahalad in The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits, which argues that aiming corporatized products at those living at the very bottom of the social ladder will enable markets to alleviate poverty while giving do-gooders a respectable profit by aiming for a kind of long tail that aggregates small sums and micropayments and often uses mobile phones and other kinds of ubiquitous computing technologies to foster exchange.”
My preferred pieces:
Skills: Business must learn from the new tribe
So-called ‘digital natives’ are bringing down the barriers to collaborative working, finds Jessica Twentyman
(If you read one article only, this is the one.)
Mobility: Flexibility is driven from the bottom up
But organisations must ensure employees are not slaves to mobile devices, notes Stephen Pritchard
Overcoming the fear of connectivity
Some organisations, fearful of untoward consequences such as reputational damage, ban social networking websites. Others embrace them enthusiastically and try to persuade others to do likewise.
Developing world: ‘Have-nots’ no closer to catching the ‘haves
Cellphones are nearly ubiquitous but internet access is still very patchy, says Paul Taylor
Case study: Text messages give shopkeepers the power to bulk buy
Stroll through South Africa’s villages – as steeped in ancestral tradition as they are deprived of basic services – and you will come across the convenience store, writes Tom Burgis.
Opinion: IT makes poverty a ‘curable affliction’
Olav Kjorven of the UNDP argues that innovative programmes in developing nations have helped people increase their choices and opportunities
Donor programmes: Sponsors can now view benefits online
Non-governmental organisations and government bodies can see exactly how their money is being spent, writes Danny Bradbury
Developed world: Those with no access miss out on opportunities
Jessica Twentyman examines the evidence that digital exclusion and social disadvantage go hand in hand
Connecting the world: Ubiquity will be a hard state to reach
Network access for all requires money but there are also significant technical hurdles, writes Stephen Pritchard
(Note that without subscription you can read only 10 FT articles a month. But you can double or triple that by installing more than one browser.)
“Adrian Simpson discovers the future of TV entertainment in Belgium; how the mobile phone camera revolutionizes healthcare in Kenya; the way in which government processes are facilitated through internet access in Mexico; and the political influence of SMS and social networking sites during the Obama election campaign in the US. But that’s not all – in the second half of 2009 Adrian will continue to travel to the corners of the globe, to find out how connectivity is impacting people’s lives from Austria to Zimbabwe.”
Currently the site has five 10 minute video episodes up on Europe, Africa, Latin America, USA and India (with China and Jakarta/Tokyo following soon). Each episode comes with clearly marked additional footage, plus interviews of Nokia Siemens Networks customers in those areas.
Mira Slavova of the excellent mmd4d blog that deals with mobile services for emerging markets, reports extensively on the African episode and its additional footage.
The company went to rural India to investigate the impact of mobile technology and developed concepts for new mobile devices for this market. Based on the research they conducted there, they developed a series design principles and concepts for mobile devices to meet the needs of people in emerging markets.
You can find more information in a new dedicated section of their website.
More background is also on their blog:
The authors, a group of people around Mimi Ito, believe that examining new media practices from an international (and, in some cases, transnational) perspective will enhance their current efforts to theorise youth, new media and learning, a wider MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Initiative.
China (by Cara Wallis): introduction – mobile phones – gaming – internet – new media production – conclusion
Korea (by HyeRyoung Ok): introduction – internet – gaming – mobile phones – new media production – conclusion
India (by Anke Schwittay): introduction – mobile phones – gaming – internet – new media production – conclusion
Brazil (by Heather Horst): introduction – internet – new media production – games – mobile phones – conclusion
Japan (by Mimi Ito and Daisuke Okabe): introduction – internet – mobile phones – new media production – gaming – conclusion
Ghana (by Araba Sey): introduction – mobile phones – internet – new media production – gaming – conclusion
Each case study focuses upon the telecommunications landscape, internet and mobile phone practices, gaming, and new media production, and provides a unique perspective on the ways in which infrastructure, institutions and culture (among other factors) shape contemporary new media practices.
“The cellphone appeals deeply to the Indian psychology, to the spreading desire for personal space and voice, not in defiance of the family and tribe but in the chaotic midst of it.
Imagine what it was like, back in the Pre-cellular Age, to be young in a traditional household. People are everywhere. Doors are open. Judgments fly. Bedrooms are shared. Phones are centrally located.
The cellphone serves, then, as a technology of individuation. On the cellphone, you are your own person. No one answers your calls or reads your messages. Your number is just yours.”
And the entire contents are available for free online.
Here are some of the recent contributions:
- Digital Green: participatory video and mediated instruction for agricultural extension [in India]
- Constructing Class Boundaries: gender, aspirations, and shared computing [based on research in India and Chile]
- A Peer-to-Peer Internet for the Developing World
- The Case of the Occasionally Cheap Computer: low-cost devices and classrooms in the developing regions
- Why Don’t People Use Nepali Language Software?
- Warana Unwired: replacing PCs with mobile phones in a rural sugar cane cooperative
- Problematic Empowerment: West African internet scams as strategic misrepresentation
- Sustainability Failures of Rural Telecentres: challenges from the sustainable sccess in rural India (SARI) project
- The Impact of Mobile Telephony on Developing Country Micro-Enterprise: a Nigerian case study
- ICT in Education Reform in Cambodia: problems, politics, and policies impacting implementation
Corporate social responsibility is vital for business survival
Corporate social responsibility used to be seen as a luxury. No longer. In today’s climate, looking beyond short-term profit is increasingly important – and ICT can help. Roger Trapp explains.
Diane Coyle: For new networking technologies, there are boom times ahead
The whole world should feel the benefit.
Closing the digital divide
How the spread of ICT is improving quality of life for millions in the Third World.
Dreaming up a connected world
Adrian Turpin on the ‘imagineers’ whose visualisations will determine the nature of future communications technologies.
Modern networker: using ICT to change Kenyan life for the better
Ory Okolloh, 32, could be seen as a face of Africa’s connected future.
He is currently doing research on South Korean new media culture (2006-2009), human-technology interaction, cultural aspects of new media and ubiquitous society visions.
Check these two recent papers:
A Modern Fetish: The Value of the Mobile Phone in South Korean Youth Culture
DRAFT for a paper to be presented at IADIS Multi Conference on Computer Science and Information Systems, 17 – 23 June 2009, Algarve.
This paper attempts to analyze the cultural significance of the mobile phone to the youths living in Seoul. It is based on the observation data produced by a group of communication students at Seoul National University. The paper presents the students’ observations on mobile phone use in the public and urban context of Seoul area as well as the students’ personal reflections on the subject. The paper further discusses the mobile phone as a significant element of Korean youth culture and, further, of the contemporary modern society.
Keeping in Touch: Notes on the Mobile Communication Culture of Korean Youth
DRAFT ONLY for Sonja Kangas (ed.): Communication Acrobatics, forthcoming in 2009
Discusses South Korean youth and their mobile communication culture. Based on participant observation and interviews conducted by Korean university students.