Monday, August 16, 2010

"Mobile"-izing Tech Aid

In the US and Europe, the progression of internet use went from the desktop to the mobile phone to the smart phone. And of course, maps followed this trend as sites like Google downsized their code base. In the rest of the world, however, the wired web infrastructure and computer availability lag far behind.

People Online 2008
While the internet continues to spread, there is an unexpected revolution happening from the bottom up. The relatively lower cost of mobile adoption has created a world where more human beings today have access to a cell phone than have access to a clean toilet.

Even low end cell phones can access the internet with simple browsers. This requires the developer of web applications to consider different design presentation strategies, but the payoff for people in need is definitely a game changer.

Mobile Information Platform
Now farmers can get the latest crop market news on their handheld and even text information to distribution services that then rebroadcast it to subscribers. On more advanced phones, there are inexpensive applications that utilize the web and GPS to collect data in the field and store it online.

Then the door really opens, when these repositories allow access by other applications for specific purposes, like allowing crisis responders to list requests for aid by date and location.

Access to information is power and mobile devices are leveling the playing field. The developing world is leap frogging ahead of how this progression happened elsewhere, and making the most of opportunities on smaller devices.

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