Bridging the Digital Divide through Mobile Solutions

Posted by sharakarasic on Oct 15, 2008

Reposted from

According to Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential division, there are several barriers standing in the way of effectively reaching the large masses of underserved communities. Among these are infrastructural obstacles, localization issues, the need for personalized solutions, and the prohibitive cost of technology.

As a solution to these problems they are looking at ways of tapping into the most basic a ubiquitous form of technology on the continent: mobile phones. This would enable users of mobile phones to access services from Microsoft’s services in the ether to mobile phones through pcs. To this end, there has been a lot of research into bringing the Microsoft platform to basic mobile phones by providing the technology to do this as well as by partnering with service providers as well as governmental and non-governmental actors.

Speaking at Mobileactive 08 Microsoft’s Fredrik Winsens stated that they are actively working to bring down the costs of pcs, while at the same time reducing costs to providers and increasing mobility by adapting to basic mobile telephony, given that the current solutions they offer do not cater to low-end phones.

Among the projects currently in progress is a prototype sms toolkit that would allow for data collection using mobile phones. This data would than be sent to and analysed on central servers. Subsequently, tailored information would then be available to those who need it. An pilot was recently run in Uganda where health data from local hospitals was collected and made available to health. administrators

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