Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Mobile Revolution

Mobile phones and devices have helped reduce gaps in the market in recent years. We can do more on-screen, in the comfort of our homes, in palms of our hands. But where mobile devices are possibly having the most impressive impact is in the developing countries and communities where government infrastructure can be poor and societies often disturbed. A recent article in The Atlantic pointed out, “When states fail to deliver governance goods, communities increasingly will step up, digitally.”

Here are a couple of revolutionary mobile initiatives in developing countries that are stepping up where governments aren’t able to:
  • M-Pesa is a small value money transferring system in Kenya that relies on ordinary cellphones to transfer money, pay bills, even buy groceries without banks. The service is so widely used, with $25 million a day being transferred, that M-Pesa agents are popping up everywhere including a Nairobi slum. The system is popular because banks are either too corrupt or not interested in serving the poor.

  • iCow is another Kenyan mobile services that provides agricultural information to farmers so they can better look after their herds.

  • Famously, the Libyan government-in-exile formed online, and much of the Arab Spring has its roots in social media.

  • Finally, ‘Cyber-Grannies’, a group of British grandmothers who take time in their days to teach children in India online via Skype!
The Internet provides people with unlimited possibilities for how to overcome government and community shortfalls, showing the power that the digital age has to completely transform the way we communicate, lead and run our lives.

1 comment:

chrisMsimon Bracket Boys said...

Kevin – These initiatives (relating to smaller digital devices) have been around for years. Whether under developed countries, economies or environments, a high speed connection is still needed to drive the infrastructure, security and even invention of such initiatives to a much larger and more effective scale, (like worldwide). On just one local scale of a highly developed and sophisticated market right on my own doorstep, there are many contentious issues still far from being sorted and lack of service provision to create solid infrastructure. I am talking the battles of FTTN vs FTTP; Quota-based NBN plans vs ADSL; Cities built with wireless speeds totally inconsistent with 4G technologies. The world is pretty sick of the same old same old Optus and Telstra type promises of fibre petabyte speeds or higher fibre to the node speeds than super-ADSL. If these promises all came true at once, rather than so often being broken, that is what would save under developed economies, environments and many, many lives.