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Re: Framework Notes

From: Stephane Boyera <boyera@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 02 Jul 2008 20:57:56 +0200
Message-ID: <486BCFB4.8020002@w3.org>
To: Renjish Kumar <renjish.kumar@gmail.com>
Cc: public-mw4d@w3.org

Hello Renjish,

>   Sorry to interrupt the ongoing discussion on illiteracy and internet. 
> It is indeed interesting but I just seem to get the idea that we are 
> again beginning yet another X4D forum with presumptions and 
> over-simplifications. As you know, many industry players and industry 
> bodies have ongoing projects and initiatives focusing on 
> developing/emerging countries handling different aspects of an issue so 
> complex that discussion without a common framework might lead us nowhere.

I would be happy to learn about existing initiatives if you know any ?
I know that lots of organizations are funding reports or projects (just 
to cite some: the world bank, UN foundation, GSMA development 
funds,...), but i'm not aware at this point of an existing initiative 
looking at the barriers and potential solutions of leveraging the number 
of content and services available on mobile phones targeted at social 
and economic development. So, i would be happy to learn about related 
initiatives with who we could cooperate, or at least as you say avoid 
reinventing the wheel.

> Some of the presumptions that I can gather based on the discussions here:
> 1. By default, everyone in the emerging/market is eager to use the 
> mobile web.

that a strong statement. To the best of my knowledge, the technological 
aspect is not key. what i mean here is that people are eager to use 
services that are helping them in their life. Being mobile web, sms, 
voice,... they don't really care, as far as the service is relevant, 
usable and useful imho.

> 2. Only issues stopping them from using mobile web or for that matter 
> Web are technological or economics in nature
i'm not sure i agree again here.
My own vision is that for now, there is not on the Web informations and 
services that are either usable, accessible, or even existing that are 
really useful for targeted people. while i guess you could find any bus 
or train schedule for any destination in europe, you can hardly find 
this information about eg rural areas of Uganda, and this is something 
that could surely be useful to people. So, clearly accessing information 
is a problem, but availatities of relevant information is also a 
problem, and most probably a bigger one. So clearly leveraging the 
development of relevant informations, and empowering people to develop 
the service their community need is very important.

> 3. Developing/Emerging markets are homogenous in nature with the same 
> economic status, literacy rate, aspirations and culture 

again i doubt it. just a small example: in latin america, where most of 
the population speak spanish, the language is not a real problem, and 
for isntance it is quite easy to develop voice service, because 
generating spanish prompt is easy, and doing voice recognition on 
spanish is also quite easy. Now if from your observation you state that 
voice applications are very powerful, then you move to india or 
indonesia you are completely out: no TTS in most local dialects, no 
speech recognition and so on. If you move to Africa, where people are 
reluctant to talk to a machine, you have another kind of problem. So i 
really doubt that emerging markets are homoegenous for the factor you 

> I do not know if the MW4D IG is working on a framework or if some other 
> forum might have already done this. If not, then we should, in my 
> opinion, strive to do the following:
> 1. Framework: Create a framework document as the first deliverable with 
> the following definitions:
>                    - defining the scope of mobile web
>                    - a classification of the heterogenous nature of an  
> emerging/developing market.

For sure, we need to work first, and that's my idea, on a vision 
document: what this group is willing to achieve, on short term like 1 
year, and on a longer term. It is clear for us at W3C that this group is 
the beginning of a bigger activity in the future, but we need to start 
small, and really idenitfy the key apsects to work on, before engging 
greater forces.

> Unless we do this, we cannot have a constructive discussion that leads 
> to tangible results. In other words, we might again end up being "just 
> another project on development" with lots of nice and informative 200 
> page deliverables, but creating little practical change in reality.

i completely agree with you, and my own vision is exactly on practical 
results, not doing a kind of state of the art, or yet another report. 
The aim of this group is clearly for W3C and/or other internation 
organizations to understand what are the key actions to launch in the 
future to really exploit the full potential of mobile phones as an 

> 2. Leverage and Liaison: There is already an enormous wealth of 
> information generated by other forums such as ICT4D, GSMA, W3C and 
> industry players. Leverage the existing literature and liaison with 
> ongoing efforts to avoid reinventing the wheel. 

i totally agree here. If you can provide links to those forums, i would 
be happy to list them. That said, my specific view, which has been 
largely confirmed during the workshop in Brazil, is that for now 
different players have different views, and are acting in their corner: 
international organizations like the World Bank, UN* (foundation, DP, 
...) and other at that level, have a specific view (providing very heigh 
level platform). industry layers at GSMA for instance have another view
(focused on technological aspect), NGOs who are trying to have an impact 
at a smaller scale have other kind of views.
I've the hope that in this forum we could gather people from all these 
different communities in order to build a shared vision of the future, 
and a shared understanding on what need to be done. Each actor has its 
role to play.

> So, we should not be disappointed if a similar rate of adoption is not 
> seen for the mobile Web/ Fixed Internet unless there is one such killer 
> app. Also, we should resist the temptation to prescribe killer 
> services/applications to the population. This will only add to the failure.
i again totally agree here. I don't believe there will be a killer 
service or application. But i believe that it is possible to create an 
enabling context for relevant services and content to appear.
I don't believe honnestly that the problem is connecting people only, 
but again is for them to have relvant information that would justify 
investment in time, in learning and in cost. I don't think there is 
content today on the web that justify these investments from targeted 


Stephane Boyera		stephane@w3.org
W3C				+33 (0) 4 92 38 78 34
BP 93				fax: +33 (0) 4 92 38 78 22
F-06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex,		
Received on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 18:57:58 UTC

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