Weekly Review October 10-14

A cornerstone of Invested Development’s strategy is that mobile phones facilitate information, participation, and transactions in emerging markets.  This week’s articles demonstrate examples of how mobile phones can do so.

Mobiles: The Hub of a Global Information Society” by Melissa Ulbricht on Mobile Active
Like us, Mobile Active is a proponent of the basic feature phone’s potential for impact by distributing information. A new report, “News on the Go: How Mobile Device Are Changing the World’s Information Ecosystem” by the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) discusses and examines how the implications that mobile penetration has for politics, education, economies, society, and most importantly, the global disbursement of news and information. The report focuses on smartphones, but Mobile Active smartly lists a collection of case studies focused on more basic phones. Both smartphones and more basic phones create opportunities as Mobile Active and CMIA demonstrate in their publications. Check out the Mobile Media Toolkit for case studies focused on basic phones and download the CIMA report to get a sense of the impact, no matter what kind of phone.
Reach the Next Billion Through Mobile” by Grant Tudor on Next Billion
Nathan Eagle, a local MIT professor and co-founder and CEO of Jana, was profiled in The Economist in January and more recently in Next Billion as a “radical innovator capitalizing on the rapid and broad-based distribution of mobile technology.” Jana, formerly Txteagle, is a mobile-phone-based platform that allows global organizations to reach and engage consumers in emerging markets. Jana has Research and Marketing arms across 80 developing countries, allowing consumers to actively participate and leverage their own influence over the market. Jana allows businesses to collect data on the wants and needs of their target markets at the BoP by distributing surveys on mobile phones and offering a promotional incentive for doing so. In the case of Jana, mobile phones change the way we look at and do business with BoP markets.
The African Laptop Killer: Android and the Developing World” Claire Hunsaker’s presentation at Android Open 2011
Claire Hunsaker, Director of Marketing and Client Services at Samasource!, presented at the Android Open 2011 on mobile ubiquity’s impact in Kenya. Claire discusses how the ubiquitous presence of mobile phones contributes to the lifestyle of everyday Kenyans.  Notably, cheap Android phones called “Kenya phones” are slowly rising in popularity in the market. Most importantly, she points out that 99% of new-paying Internet users access the web on their mobile phones.  Hunsaker and Samasource!’s work focuses on the use of mobile phones for information, payments, and networking. This is a philosophy we share at ID. For example, the Mobile Media Toolkit and the Open Data Kit, accessible on a mobile phone, promote citizen journalism. For more examples on how information distribution is made possible through mobile phones in addition to payment and networking opportunities, watch her whole presentation and follow Samasource! on Twitter.
A powerful combination: Radio and SMS promote open dialogue in Chad and Niger” by Prairie Summer and Lucy Lyon posted by Ken Banks of National Geographic Emerging Explorer on National Geographic News Watch
Prairie Summer and Lucy Lyon of Equal Access International (EA) leverage the technology developed by FrontlineSMS to educate and empower the BoP through media and community mobilization. That is to say, with mobile technology, they facilitate participation and information transactions. FrontlineSMS is a valuable tool for NGOs that allows group texting and two-way communication on a large scale. EA hosts six radio programs in Chad and Niger and communicates with its listeners using the FrontlineSMS technology.  This allows the listeners to participate, share their views, and get their questions answered using a tool that is readily available. Check out the article to read first-hand accounts of user participation.

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