Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] Improving Access Via Mobile Telephony

2003-11-17 Thread William Lester
Congratulations! Fola Odufuwa has got it exactly right, IMHO. As we look
for what was referred to in some previous posts as 'narrowband'
solutions, the evolution of the mobile phone from a simple audio
communication device to an internet gateway may prove to be the answer.
While we won't get the speed of high-end WiFi, we will get a
cost-effective solution to support low bandwidth applications, like
email, along with access to all the virtual knowledge centers on the
internet super-highway.

This is happening, not just in Africa, but all over the world - in
places where traditional wired infrastructure is too expensive or not in
place. We've seen this happen in Eastern Europe, where George Soros has
invested millions to help civil society by investing in wireless
technology, and we are seeing it happen today in the nation-building
efforts in Afghanistan and East Timor. Go to Cambodia and see how clever
people are bundling multiple inexpensive mobile phones into virtual GSM
internet gateways that can support email servers and web sites.

While there is no one solution for such a complicated issue, often one
workable solution will help us to move swiftly in the right direction.

Bill Lester

William A. Lester
CTO/Director of Technology
NinthBridge
a program of EngenderHealth
440 Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10001
(Office) 212.561.8002   (eFax) 212.202.5167
(e-Mail) [EMAIL PROTECTED] 
(URL) www.ninthbridge.org 
The Means to The Mission


Fola Odufuwa [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 The only constraint to this happening now is two-fold. First is the
 limitation of GSM technology. GSM support for broadband Internet
 technologies, a key requirement to productive Internet access, is
 evolving at the moment. There is no clear-cut, globally acceptable
 single means of assessing the Internet via a mobile device on a GSM
 network. Whether it is WAP, GPRS, EDGE, or ETC (!), GSM support for the
 Internet is extremely weak. This is why bypass technologies such as
 Wi-Fi, and Wi-Max are in strong demand.

 The second reason is the poor usability of mobile phones as Internet
 access devices. But this problem would be solved and the Internet will
 soon merge with, and converge into, mobile devices. When that happens,
 the digital revolution in Africa would be even more explosive. Think of
 it again. The day you can conveniently use your regular mobile phone
 (and I'm not talking of expensive esoteric models as the Communicator)
 to send emails to your loved ones in the village and browse for current
 prices of cement (for instance), that day your need for the services of
 a place to browse would diminish! The place to browse would be right in
 your hands! And that day is not too far-fetched.





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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-17 Thread Richard Koman
Sorry for piping up without an intro, but I just returned from Uganda.
There community radio stations offer an email service to rural
listeners. Friends can email you care of the radio station and, at a
designated time, the radio will alert everyone who has received an
email. The charge for receiving an email in this way is approximately 5
cents.

I was in Uganda creating a digital bookmobile, which would download
public domain materials from the net, print and bind them into books and
distribute them to rural schools and families. So a form of mediation,
also?

But you mention mediation by societal leaders - I'm not advocating that,
just the use of humans as technical conduits to information for the
benefit of massively nontechnical populations.

- Richard Koman
Program Director
Anwhere Books
www.anywherebooks.org



Herman Wasserman wrote:
 
 Cliff, this is a very interesting line of argument -- if this 
 way of using the internet through an intermediary is a 
 general practice in Africa because of the lack of 
 connectivity, it might mean amending some of the theories of 
 Internet communication from the idea of the Internet as a 
 many-to-one or individualised, customised form of 
 communication to one that is similar to the two-step flow of 
 communication, where information is mediated by leaders or 
 representatives in society.
 
 Can you perhaps point me to some case studies of this type of 
 mediation, or to specific examples? Thanks
 

 Cliff Missen wrote:
 
 Today, villager's messages are being delivered on paper to a Internet
 Cafe and then transcribed into email for delivery worldwide by someone
 who holds an email account. There may someday be a SERVICE that enhances
 this informal relationship to the point where a single griot can
 manage email accounts for hundreds of clients through a simple handheld
 device. It'll take a little tweaking of the current email and client
 software, but it's very possible.






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more information.
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[GKD-DOTCOM] What's on the Horizon?

2003-11-17 Thread Global Knowledge Dev. Moderator
Dear GKD Members,

During the past three weeks, GKD members have discussed a number of
intriguing technical solutions to bringing access to underserved
communities, several of which have demonstrated promise in the field.
Especially noteworthy are various forms of wireless connectivity, in
combination with low-cost devices, e.g., the Solo. In addition GKD
members have noted that some pilots have already proven robust --
scaling them up requires policy change, training, tailoring to local
demand, and community involvement.

This week we ask GKD members to consider the distant future in ICT terms
-- the next 3 years. Connectivity for All. It has a nice ring, but
success thus far has been limited. Funding is a central issue. Although
there are some impressive donor programs, some high profile,
multi-lateral donor commitments have fizzled. Perhaps, going forward, we
should follow the 80-20 rule: Focus our limited resources on pursuing
the few technologies and project approaches likely to have the widest
impact. Forgo experimentation and defer efforts to meet the needs of
those who will be most difficult to serve.

KEY QUESTIONS:

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?

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

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?

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?

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?


We look forward to your valuable input and insights!





This DOT-COM Discussion is funded by the dot-ORG USAID Cooperative
Agreement, and hosted by GKD. http://www.dot-com-alliance.org provides
more information.
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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-17 Thread Venkatesh (Venky) Hariharan
In India, we have the public call offices (PCOs) -- essentially manned
telephone booths where the revenues are shared between the telco and the
PCO operator. There are more than 600,000 of these PCOs across the
country. There are many Community Information Centres where one can
access the Internet and according to some of my friends who love
travelling across India, these cybercafes are now appearing in remote
locations too.

A couple of examples of Community Information Centres are:

www.drishtee.com
www.e-choupal.com

Venky


Herman Wasserman [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 Cliff, this is a very interesting line of argument -- if this way of
 using the internet through an intermediary is a general practice in
 Africa because of the lack of connectivity, it might mean amending some
 of the theories of Internet communication from the idea of the Internet
 as a many-to-one or individualised, customised form of communication to
 one that is similar to the two-step flow of communication, where
 information is mediated by leaders or representatives in society.

 Can you perhaps point me to some case studies of this type of mediation,
 or to specific examples? Thanks

 Cliff Missen wrote:

 Today, villager's messages are being delivered on paper to a Internet
 Cafe and then transcribed into email for delivery worldwide by someone
 who holds an email account. There may someday be a SERVICE that enhances
 this informal relationship to the point where a single griot can
 manage email accounts for hundreds of clients through a simple handheld
 device. It'll take a little tweaking of the current email and client
 software, but it's very possible.






This DOT-COM Discussion is funded by the dot-ORG USAID Cooperative
Agreement, and hosted by GKD. http://www.dot-com-alliance.org provides
more information.
To post a message, send it to: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
To subscribe or unsubscribe, send a message to:
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