My two bits...

> 1. What new "high impact" technologies are on the 3-year horizon? Who
> (exactly) needs to do what (concretely) to make those technologies
> widely available?

Optical frequencies communication for exceptionally low power, very high
bandwidth, short distance communications (line-of-sight) will be very
likely to emerge as a new low cost option, in both desktop (laptop) and
handheld devices.  To deploy it, far more effort will be needed from
grassroots social assistance program workers.

Voice based messaging software programs will also appear on handhelds,
enabling the Grameen model to be deployed much more effectively in other
regions of the world, where cellular and cellular-like systems are being
and will be deployed over the next three years.

> 2. What's the most valuable area for technology development? Voice
> recognition? Cheap broadband delivery? Cheap hand-helds (under $50)?

The most critical area for technology development lies in the
digitisation and support of services in demand, not in hardware per se.
This is an exceedingly local activity, given that software development
by its very nature demands a huge level of interaction between
technologists and users.

In hardware, though, it is both cheaper broadband and handhelds that
need to emerge. Right now, in countries like India, the only really
cheap mobile handsets are obsolete ones, which do not support the kind
of operating systems that run such applications.

> 3. Where should we focus our efforts during the coming 3 years? On ICT
> policy? Creating ICT projects with revenue-generation models that are
> quickly self-supporting? Demonstrating the value of ICT to developing
> country communities?

We need to evolve better funding models, that are better equipped to
evaluate and deliver funds to grassroots projects that are more
appropriate to the communities in which they are to add value. Trying to
opine here in this group about specific projects we get to know about
somewhere else in the world is both frustrating and patronizing.

> 4. What levels of access should we be able to achieve by 2007 in each of
> the major under-served regions? Who (exactly) must do what (concretely)
> to attain them?

We need to get a foothold into these regions. And we need to have
funding in place that will support the growth of that foothold, driven
by local demand.

> 5. What funding models should we develop over the next 3 years? Projects
> with business plans that provide self-sustainability? Support from
> multilateral corporations? Venture capital funds for ICT and
> development?

In a nutshell, none of the above. But see *3.*, for the glaring
weaknesses in these models make it impossible to choose between them, or
even to want to make such a choice.
-- 
Vickram




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