Modern software development workshops at the UEM Maptuo

The ICT4DMZ project is now running quite a while and after three amazing weeks in Maputo we are one big step further to reach our goals. Philipp and I (Paul Spiesberger) tried to bring the students of the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in Maputo on the right track.

In more than eight workshops we gave them the tools and the knowledge to start programming for their projects. At the beginning we tried to find out on which level their skills are and what we can expect. From that point on we knew that we will have to give them a short introduction to modern software development in a team as well. Up to that day the students were exchanging code with Dropbox and they had almost no structure or/and organisation for their teamwork. At that time we were glad that Florian and Anders did great work a few months ago. They helped them with team roles and project documentation a lot. So it was not necessary to cover that important part too. In order to give them an easy tool to handle their code and the organisation of their projects, we introduced them to GIT and Bitbucket. The students were impressed by the GIT workshop and we were happy to see over the next days that some of them were porting their “Dropbox projects” to their new GIT repositories. Working with Bitbucket-Issues was not that successful at the beginning, but we are sure that this will change over time. From that point on we were ready for programming and we split up the group by the two projects:

Complaint Center

The goal of this project is to create a website which can handle complaints about a company or a product. It should gather information or feedback and help to improve their services. Philipp started with a short tutorial about the PlayFramework and helped to set everything up. After that he assisted with his expertise as much as he could.

Philipp with students

FindUEM

The other group is working on an Android app for students to find POI like lecture rooms, Wifi hotspots or public power plugs at the UEM campus. I started to teach them the basics of Android programming and helped them to set up the project. Since Java programming and developing for Android are quite different, it took a little bit longer to write the first line of code. I tried to explain step by step the important parts and assisted as much as I could.

Paul with students

In total we worked about 27 hours in three weeks with the students. We had some troubles finding the right time slots for all students, since they had different time schedules during their weeks. Especially at the beginning we did some workshops twice, so no one missed the introductions to the technologies. After that, not all students attended to our workshops all the time, but we were never alone.

From now on, we will assist via Skype and e-mail remotely from Austria. We have a good feeling for the outgoing of the projects and hopefully the students keep engaged in the next months as they were during our workshops.

Group picture UEM

During our stay we also helped the UEM to use Moodle for a first test run. We hope that in the future this modern way of IT supported teaching will be expanded to other lectures and faculties to strengthen the teaching abilities at the UEM.

In addition Philipp and I were working hard on our master thesis. Philipp is doing research on big data for emerging countries and for that he conducted some expert interviews. I am interested in user interface design for mobile devices in emerging countries like Mozambique. So I did a survey with students to find out their mobile phone usage and habits.

Of course we also found time to travel and to take a look at this beautiful country. When you talk to people in Mozambique, experience the beautiful landscape and take the time to look behind the curtain, then you get the feeling that this country is moving fast forward. The question is in which direction. The currently discovered massive resources (minerals, oil, gas) can have a positive or a negative impact to the society. There is also a new party growing really fast and it is gaining more and more influence. In the last few months the country was almost slipping into a new civil war. But one week before we arrived, they managed to find a compromise and elections are going to happen in the future. But I think that despite the fact of great poverty, corruption and the lack of education, Mozambique has the ability to find the way to a great and rich future.

3 women

Last but not least I would like to say thank you to Emilio Mosse and Andrei Shindyapin. We are lucky to have this partner and friends in Maputo, who are willing to share their valuable time and love with us. Also a big thank you to the students for their great effort and time!

Philipp and I are excited to continue the work and we are looking forward to meeting our friends in Maputo again.

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Modern software development workshops at the UEM Maptuo
was published on 03.03.2014 by Paul Spiesberger. It files under sub saharan africa
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Coop 2.0 interview: Stéphane Boyera

This post is part of a series of interviews collected at this years conference Coop 2.0 in Gijon.

Stéphane Boyera has been working with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) – the internet standardization consortium – since it was founded in 1995 and has been leading the Mobile Web for Social Development initiative there since 2006.

Hear him talk about his work at W3C and the role of ICTs, especially the mobile phone, for development.

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Coop 2.0 interview: Stéphane Boyera
was published on 20.06.2009 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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This Friday – Premiere of our movie 'Hello Africa'

This Friday (8.5. 19:30 @ Schikaneder, Margaretenstraße 24, 1040, Vienna) we will have the premiere of our documentary project “Hello Africa” which we recorded last fall in Zanzibar.

The promo text of the movie:

Hello Africa is an experimental documentary about the emerging use of mobile phones in Africa. Just in the past recent years, mobile phone subscriptions, fixed lines and internet access have increased in Africa, quicker than in any other region on earth. These rapid changes, the implications it has on African society and impact on social life in general is the reason for making this documentary.

The film is shot on the island Zanzibar outside Tanzania, considered to be one of the most enigmatic and cosmopolitan places in Africa, rich with contrasts and cultural heritage from many civilizations. It shows encounters with people from all backgrounds and proffessions; street rappers, primary school teachers, Massai watchmen, seaweed farmers, fishermen, multimedia students, nightclubbers and many more. What they all share in common is their opinions, habits and usage of cellphones, in private as well as proffessional life.

With a great music soundtrack and beats, this film wants to send a strong and positive message about the many possibilities that the new communication technologies brings, and in a larger perspective to  get attention to issues on how to “bridge the digital divide” between developed and underdeveloped countries.

A joint film project between Swedish DVD Magazine UZI and Austrian NGO ICT4D.at. More info: http://wiki.ict4d.at/Hello_Africa and http://www.uzi.se

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Here is once again the trailer:

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The screening will take place at the movie theatre Schikaneder in Vienna at 19:30 on Friday 08. May, entry is free.

Afterwards we’ll have a release party – so make sure you come by if you have time.

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This Friday – Premiere of our movie 'Hello Africa'
was published on 04.05.2009 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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Africa Gathering – Talks 2

Notes from the talks of Africa Gathering taking place in London, England on 25 April.

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Ken BanksKiwanja.net / FrontlineSMS o/
Mobiles in Africa – How technoloy is driving social and economic change
Mobile technology empowering grassroots NGOs – FrontlineSMS and field-based case studies

25 years in IT, projects in 8 different African countries

Pattern emerging: Mobile adoptionby users & NGOs is driven by formal & informal conomic activity

  • shops & people just putting up businesses
  • exciting activities
  • people selling airtime, fixing phones, charging phones

impact of mobile phones is as revolutionary as roads, railways…

the majority of reports fail to specifiy which applications are used or how other NGOs can start running similar projects

FrontlineSMS

  • easy solution for NGOs to use mobiles, not necessary to have internet
  • it provides a communication platform, not a tool for something particular
  • it empowers innovators and organizers to do what they desire to
  • basically just allows you to send and receive messages
  • examples: Nigerian election monitors, security alerts to fieldworkers in Afghanistan, spreading news in Iraq, rural healthcare network in Malawi, …

Online comunity for FrontlineSMS is about 470 people now – talking to each other, giving adivce

Why it works

  • Local ownership
  • Local Awareness
  • Free & works on available hardware
  • Replicably & scalable
  • No need for internet
  • Easy to ues
  • Responds to their needs

Logo – o/ – signifies empowerment

Lowering the bar

  • creating versions which work from USB
  • Mobile applications
  • MMS version

Tag line – how can we help the disadvantaged

Q & A:

Technology – is it quite basic? Just sending messages between phones? How to get the numbers? Free SMS?

  • I don’t deal with that – the users do, they work out how to deal with it best

How can you monitor that? How does this SMS response work?

  • software is keyword-driven – can be posted to a website, sent be email, automatic response, call some totally different tool

What do you think about scaling? Is it possible?

  • It’s a big issue – how to scale stuff? Scaling can work horizontally – not one central big implementation but many small ones

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Nigel WallerMovirtu.com
How we’re creating access to basic phone services for more than a billion people earning less than two dollars a day
Connect the Unconnected

Working in telecommunication for 20 years – with the mobile operators (Zain, Vadacom, Safaricom, …)

Current mission: connecting the unconnected

What does Movirtu do

  • Research & dissemination of information how people use phones at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP)
  • Innovative infrastructure for mobile operators
  • consumer services

Who are the unconnected? People below $2 income a day

  • 3.5 bn people not connected
  • without phone
  • but still using phone services
  • spend 5-20% income on mobile services

Barriers to entry

  • handset prices
  • airtime prices
  • sim card costs for operators

Ways to get to a phone – shared phones

  • public phones, person to person sharing
  • nearly as many shared phone users as regular users

The problem

  • Identities – shared phone users don’t have an “identity”, they’re hard to get hold of
  • creating an identity for these people
  • e.g. email exists behind the hardware – mobile numbers depend on the hardware
  • why not take the phone number away? – put the phone number back in the network & use phone as network clients
  • you can do everything as if had a phone – but you don’t need to buy one
  • buy airtime for your account – get a free number, access your account with any phone

Applications:

  • community phone – people using their own number
  • brand: sending free phone numbers to people

Q & A:

We can’t do projects without the operator; to get this working is quite complicated

There is a system around called Pigeon – SW based solution which does basically something similar. Why is it necessary to get so deep into the protocols?

  • It’s necessary to be able to make outbound calls as well; we’re faking a whole SIM-card, because of all the security our there it has to be quite complex

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Sian Townsend – Google
Conducting mobile user experience research in sub-Saharan Africa

At ICTD in Quatar: a lot of questions what is Google doing there – so this information should be shared in this presentations

Displaying asked questions by people via sms about diseases, agriculture, …

What is User Experienced Research?

  • deals with all aspects of user interaction
  • user experience, feasibility engineering, product management
  • what do people actually need?
  • about the whole experience of a user – how it looks, how it makes you feel, make it easy to use

2 tyes of research: tactical (optimising) and strategic (innovative)

Tactical: trying to find out what people exactly do when using a devices, where they get confused, …

Strategic: do people have unmet needs, understanding existing patterns, …

What is Google doing in Africa?

  • Offices in Kenya, Egypt, Unganda, Senegal
  • Launching search in African languages – 38 African languges
  • Google SMS in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria – keyword based
  • Google Maps in several countries – user generated content
  • Research awards for students, literacy project, gadget competition

Google.org: social stuff Google does with 1% of the profit

A rising tide lifts all boats – any success is good – snowball effect

Mobile is the technology to work with currently – but ecosystem is complex (operators, …)

What new products to build? How do you know you want something if you don’t know it?

  • Field studies – using FrontlineSMS
  • collecting data, mapping them – user journeys
  • what happens when you first give people the opportunity to use a technology?
  • creating a lot of pilotes – many iterations

google-africa.blogspot.com

groups.google.com/group/google-africa-community

Q & A:

The sms-questions/answers were translated to English

What about the 100 best ideas?

  • Delayed, coming back to that

Why do people trust the answers of Google?

  • The operators brand helps the applications behind that (trust in the operator)

How are maps verified?

  • The satellite images can be used to trace the streets

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Africa Gathering – Talks 2
was published on 25.04.2009 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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The downside of mobile technologies

We like to praise the availability of mobile technologies in African countries and to talk about the opportunities that emerged from the introduction of mobile phones. However, it is important to acknowledge that where there is much light, the shadow is deep. When we were in Africa last year to work on the UZI Africa project, we already encountered stories, where the mobile phone was responsible for family conflicts. For example somebody told us how a guy thought that his wife was cheating on him, because she was regularly calling a phone number he didn’t know.

Crystal Watley who lives in Kenya and works for Voices of Africa recently wrote about the negative consequences for family and social relationships at the MobileActive discussion group:

  1. Cell phones make it easier to cheat on your spouse.
  2. Cell phones GIVE away the secrets of the spouses that were already cheating thus causing household tension and domestic violence.
  3. African men tend to be very jealous and often use mobile phones as a way to control their women monitoring every message and call.
  4. Violence and jealousy is also caused between those who own phones and those who do not. Or between those with different model phones. Theft is rampant.

Surely this cannot be generalized, but it is important to keep the possibility of negative side effects in mind when designing technologies for the African market. Maybe technology can even be turned into a tool that helps to avoid and eventually eliminate such conflicts?

(Thanks to Crystal for sharing this.)

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The downside of mobile technologies
was published on 14.04.2009 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under sub saharan africa
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Interview with Blaine Cook (former chief developer at Twitter)

After last week’s interview with Evan Henshaw-Plath, we want to introduce Blaine Cook today, who worked on Fire Eagle together with Evan. We were excited to meet Blaine at the MobileActive08 conference in Johannesburg, since he used to be the chief architect at Twitter, before he joined Yahoo. Currently he works as open source developer for BT group.

Blaine has received quite some attention in media due to his role at Twitter. He also has a big name in the open source developer community, not only for writing an open protocol for secure API authorization for desktop, mobile and web applications (OAuth).

Find out in the interview below what his views on mobile technologies for development are and why he thinks that current trends of the mobile market in Africa will change how this technology is viewed.

Check out also this interview that he gave about his experiences with ruby on rails last year in June.

This is the 15th interview from our MobileActive08 video podcast series, shot at the conference in Johannesburg (organized by MobileActive and sangonet).

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Interview with Blaine Cook (former chief developer at Twitter)
was published on 03.03.2009 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under sub saharan africa
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Interview with Evan 'Rabble' Henshaw-Plath

Evan ‘Rabble’ Henshaw-Plath is currently working at Yahoo! Brickhouse. In the past he worked on odeo.com and Fire Eagle. His business card says he is a hacker & builder of things. We met this really interesting technologist and activist at the MobileActive08 conference in Johannesburg, where he shared his thoughts on emerging technologies with us.

One of the things he points out in the interview below is that mobile innovation in developing countries is currently restricted by costs. Text messages are a very powerful medium, but projects that rely on text messages are too expensive for actual deployment. In the interview he explains why many amazing projects around the world thus remain pilot projects.

Evan ‘Rabble’ Henshaw-Plath is also the co-author of the upcoming O’Reilly book Testing and Debugging Ruby on Rails. He blogs about technology and politics at anarchogeek.com.

This is the 14th interview from our MobileActive08 video podcast series, shot at the conference in Johannesburg (organized by MobileActive and sangonet).

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Interview with Evan 'Rabble' Henshaw-Plath
was published on 23.02.2009 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under sub saharan africa
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The next step in the mobile revolution?

After Samsung launched their glamorous solar-powered mobile phone Blue Earth last week, which is targeted at the environmentally-aware costumer, Chinese manufacturer ZTE is the first company to introduce a low-cost solar phone for the emerging markets. The Coral-200-Solar phone uses an integrated solar charger and promises to give people living in areas without electricity access to mobile phones. Digicel will be rolling out the Coral-200-Solar in selected markets from June. It will be interesting to see the impact of this new amazing piece of technology on those markets and also on the product developments of other manufacturers.

(Image from engadget mobile)

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The next step in the mobile revolution?
was published on 20.02.2009 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under global
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Cooperation 2.0 Gijon, day 3 – Round table: mobile ICTs for development

Participants:

Merryl Ford – Manager of the Emerging Innovations Group of the Meraka Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Kentaro Toyama – Assistant Managing Director of Microsoft Research India (MSR India)

Oleg Petrov – Coordinator of e-Development Thematic Group of World Bank

Jan Blom – Director for Nokia Research Center – India.

Stephane Boyera – W3C

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Aspects that have emerged:

  • For many people the web browser on their mobile device is the door to the internet
  • 3 core points: Issues of communications infrastructure, deployment, cost of mobile devices
  • There have to be well-designed technologies to serve the user
  • e-Health, e-Education, e-Governance

Merryl

Focus on use in mobile phones in schools

2006: ways to integrate mp in teaching

  • what can you do with your cell phone? voice call, sms, run application, access the web, mms
  • concept of an audio wikipedia – information on how to join the school
  • platform audio-wikipedia
  • sms with a keyword to a number, system called back and read the article to that keyword
  • worked extremely well
  • kids discovered how to use the device immediately
  • educational use – student podcast
  • not only access – contribution
  • students contributed to audio wiki

even poor children have access to powerful phones

applications are important, because connectivity is not necessary for them
project: creating surveys on the PC and frame it for mps
successful project: based on mixit – South African instant messaging service
now 10 mio. users
set up on top: service for mathematical questions, helping learners
a lot of stuff developed in the educational sector can be transferred to other levels
also: development of open source tools

Kentaro

Will take the position of skeptic for this panel

There is an immense hype around mobile phones

It’s important to put development first and not technology

  • This is restricting yourself
  • Many problems can be solved in other ways
  • There might be no technology solution
  • Unless you are constrained to the technology you better leave it undetermined
  • No matter how much technology is provided, this will not foster development if no capacity building is offered

There are more ICTs than mps or PS

  • Community radio
  • TV
  • Low level devices, combinations with paper

Oleg

Mobile phone is the newest vision of the ICT toolbox so it’s naturally that there’s excitement

There’s a lot of reasons to be enthusiastic

Mobile is the most powerful ICT we have – especially for the poor

  • We don’t have a better tool so far
  • All other technologies don’t reach the bottom of the pyramid

Of course we should keep perspective

Development sector is often slow – so enthusiasm is something to embrace

Knowledge sharing is important – workshops on mps

  • Good to avoid mistakes
  • Best practices

Mobiles can the poorest people access to finance

Mobile for better governance

  • complaining about corruption on mobile phones

Also agriculture & health field

The World Bank is joining the bandwagon on this – so there should be sharing of knowledge & experience

We cannot ignore the potential

We need to find a new expression – e-development, effective development – to show we focus on development, not on ICTs

Work with vendors, operators & governments to frame the surrounding

Let’s have a partnership on mobile for development – moving to the next level

Jan

Bangalore – taxi driver

  • never used a PC before, didn’t know email
  • but he had a mobile phone

Nokia does a lot of work on development

  • recently launched a project to help health NGOs to collect data on the field and get response with GPS data
  • services for agricultural sector – sms as backbone, launch in India soon

Research at Nokia

  • Bangalore
  • multidisciplinary team
  • role of technology in terms of empowering
  • what can be done in the field of mobile?
  • sister lab in Kenya

Example of research:

  • combination of mobility and location specific information – LBS
  • in the west: info about restaurants …
  • in an LDC: more fundamental needs & motivations
  • governments are not very tranparent
  • disease based info takes very long – 1-2 month lags until info reaches local hospital
  • how to decrease this lag?

Example

  • map of Soho, London
  • Cholera transmitted through contaminated water – visualizing on a map
  • correlation of death cases & contaminated pump
  • 150 years ago

Now every citizen can collect this kind of information

Visualizing local information

Project: comfort zone

  • Upload comfortable/unconfortable information about a place
  • trial in Bangalore

Another project

  • health radar
  • collecting disease information and centralize it
  • feeding back to health-NGOs and hospitals

Stephane

Approach: looking at what we see in the field

Technology is just one more tool

If you bring them new opportunities perhaps they use them or not – could change their impact

It’s important to provide local existing organizations with as many tools as possible

Mps are available & cheap & therefore have a lot of potential

Oleg

Mps offer drastic opportunities to do things differently

Technology has to be integrated in design , otherwise the impact is lost

We can’t take technology for granted

It’s important to be informed about technology

Merryl

What’s already in the hand in the people, what are they already using?

Not everything needs to be solved with mps, but many things are already and people use it

Jan

Methodological challenge: how to get immersed in the community?

Many have difficulties to understand local people – which methods should be used?

Kentaro

Hype in mps similar to telecenter hype

Many examples of projects constrained to mobile phones because it’s so hyped now

“We want to do something with mobile phones” – but there is no way to do it sometimes

Reach of mobile phone

  • Agree with that, nothing else is even close
  • but reach is not development
  • it’s not enough
  • it’s a weak reason
  • radios have even greater reach, TVs

Q & A:

Najat Rochdi

The reason why it’s ICT4D was to make a difference ICT as a sector and the efforts to develop the sector. Driver: we need to do more and to do better.

One big mistake that is always present: we start talking a lot about technology, we forget talking about development – what is it about? what do we want to achive? there is no single answer;

Our duty as ICT4D “agents” is to be aware what’s going on in the development zone – awareness – so we can turn it in information we can share to help them to come up with the most approptiate tool.

The right message here is: we have to be aware about what is available – but we have to keep in mind that our duty is to provice our partners with a choice.

6 years ago we didn’t have Microsoft and Nokia addressing development issues. Let’s work together in a transparent and proper way.

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There is a demand at the end user level – how can we get those to ask us to hep them? What about the governments? How can we provide our help?

Oleg

People are at least asking for ICTs – even if they ask for the wrong tools.

Jan

What is the right model? Ethnographoc methods? Let the people themselves come up with the solutions – grass root level.

Manuel

Users point of view: it seems like the picture gets more complicated

MPs get function rich and more expensive, PCs get better and cheaper – how come? Our tasks as ICT4D specialists is to inform responsible persons (governments) what the best choice is.

Make up of best teams is multidiscipinary – does it make sense to create an inter-institutional approach?

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Dark side of mobile hype

Mobile operators are one of the most exploiting comapnies in the world – they are evil

Poor people pay much more for their calls than rich people

The industry is smart & opportunist – we have to deal with it

It’s no liberalized sector, poor quality of services, monoploists

In terms of “development first”

Where does the money go to? Where does the information go, can you handle it?

Upscaling is useless unless the backend to manage the inormation is not in place

Implementing mobiles can be implementes without the government – that’s what’s exciting

But development always wants to go large scale – although small scale would be more successful

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Confusion of the idea of “needs” of communication

That development is in the hand of mulitnationals – who try to boost their profits

Mobile telephony is also smoke and mirrors

  • In grassroots communities in Latin America above 3000 meters don’t work any more

Increased competition decreased prices

I don’t see why in schools there have to be so many mobile phones

  • There are still problems with mobile phones – messages don’t arrive
  • Mobile technology myth

Stephane

If we upscale, a lot is missed

Oleg

How can we collaborate?

We don’t know enough to be really helpful – at least the World Bank

Knowledge management at this stage is very important

  • Forming a network around the knowledge issues
  • That’s the most urgent thing right now

?

Do you think stadardizing batteries and chargers might help?

Stephane

It works – people can charge everything with everything

Electricity problem is solved in innovative ways

It’s not a bottleneck

Cecilia Torres

Development is complex and now ICTs arrive – basic needs are still unmet

ICTs influence young people and change their way of life

They could be used to preserve tradition, but they are not

First we have to think about development and then about technology

Merryl

A mobile is opening up the world to children

How can it be controlled?

It’s necessary to develop value systems in using ICTs

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Cooperation 2.0 Gijon, day 3 – Round table: mobile ICTs for development
was published on 12.02.2009 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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Cooperation 2.0 Gijon, day 3 – mobile phones for human development

Mobile phones for human development – Stephane Boyera, W3C

Presentation of Stephane Boyera

Stephane Boyera:

  • W3C mobile web for Social Development
  • Web for Society Program of the Web Foundation
  • EU-FP7 project Digital World Forum

Mobile phones:

  • In December 2008: 4 bio. subscribers
  • change the way people work, communicate, live
  • People offer their work with their m.p. number – makes them flexible
  • but no evidence that the development challenge is addressed

ICTs have changed the Developed World

  • work, meeting, movement

ICT4D promises to bridge historical divides

Issues:

  • Connectivity (devices, bandwidth)
  • Information Availability (relevant & useful services)
  • Information Accessibility (too expensive, language, illiteracy)
  • Without addressing these issues, ICT4D is useless

Last 15 years:

  • focus on connectivity – telecenters
  • no sustainability
  • hard to replicate (legal issues, hight cost)
  • hard to scale up
  • relying on unstable governments – limits the potential of ICTs

What can mobile phones bring?

Minimal connectivity & computing power worldwide

  • it’s possible to focus on new, mobile, innovative services (e-agriculture, e-health)
  • people start to think big – scalability

Bottom-up approach

  • empowering people – now they can contribute and act instead of only consume

Why is that important?

  • it’s the only way to make services scalable – few people in development agencies vs. thousands of NGOs
  • people can start businesses themselves – entrepreneurship & innovation
  • governments are not that important any more – there is put pressure on the government for transparency

Challenges:

  • Capacity building – creating expertise on mobile phone technology locally
  • Make tools available – free & open source, easy to use software
  • Raise awareness about the potential of mobile technology and the easiness to create new content/tools

Current focus: on information availability

For sms, there have to be a lot of prerequisites fulfilles

To make all people benefit:

  • Address the needs of illiterate people or low reading skills
  • Local languages
  • Digital literacy – teach people how to search & use content and services

Technologies:

Mobile phone: “Swiss army knive” – a lot of services

Today: sms

  • easy setup, available, free reception
  • issues: high cost of running services, only text, interoperability between operators

Next generation:

Mobile web:

  • free & easy development, powerful interface, access to knowledge in the internet
  • issues: availability on mobiles, cost

Voice:

  • Natural way of communication, easy to use, everywhere available, flexible
  • Issues: high expertise required, usability, technology

No “one-for-all” device

Next steps

Community building

  • development agencies, local people, academics, NGOs, private sector

Explore local needs

  • field studies, pilot projects

Lower access barriers

  • illiteracy, usability, internationalization

Empowerment

  • easier development & deployment

Mobile phones is a way to reach the people & they are available in the field

But:

  • Expensive
  • Constrained
  • Also other devices necessary – low cost laptops, broadband infrastructure

Conclusion

  • Mobile technology has the potential to meet the ICT4D hopes & make significant impact
  • But next steps: concerted effort of all communities, focus on local needs, bridging the gaps between people, empowerment

Q & A:

Telecenters can also be a complementary service – let’s combine services. What about mobile services for internet access?

  • I agree, inclusing approach is substantial
  • Internet access: we have to understand what it means that people access the web via mobile phone – different interface, constrained
  • Linking your PC to the internet via a mobile phone is possible, if there are PCs available

Comment – internet access & mobile technology are equally important because you need access at the institutional level, not just private level.

How big is the challenge of interoperability? Are there enough standards? Where should they be established?

  • Each technology has a different level – moving from one platform to another is hard
  • On the mobile: making the mobile browser an open standardized tool is a challenge
  • It’s also an issue of power – monopolies
  • Voice is already standardized, but is lacking the open source community
  • Developing applications on the mobile – there is nothing standardized
  • Middle layer: Java stack

One thing that is missing: a lot has to be invested in science and technology – high level innovations, not just applications. There is some kind of technology fetishism.

  • It’s correct, work is primarily on application level.

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Cooperation 2.0 Gijon, day 3 – mobile phones for human development
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