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Re: Framework Notes

From: Renjish Kumar <renjish.kumar@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Jul 2008 23:07:37 +0530
Message-ID: <ad721fa60807031037m12b42e86l45b91e9b2d9913ee@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Stephane Boyera" <boyera@w3.org>
Cc: public-mw4d@w3.org
Hello Stephane (and all),

Thanks for your detailed reply. I believe that we agree on all points, but
my concern was mainly on the direction of the discussions in the forum. My
answers and explanations inline. The inititatives list is also attached with
this mail for reference.

> 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.

Let me first emphasize on the sentence you mentioned on barriers (in bold
the emphasis is mine). My question to you is: Can we see the barriers and
solutions for mobile phones in isolation? Wouldn't an ICT related initiative
covering similar issues for Fixed Internet cover most of the barriers and
challenges that when added to the perspectives from mobile phones will give
us a holistic picture and thereby find the right solution? Wouldn't that
give us a head-start on really understanding the ground realities and
challenges, not only from a technology view-point, but also from a
socio-economic-regulatory perspective?

I have attached some of the initiatives with this mail, that I can think of
(including some that you already mentioned) for reference. In addition to
this, industry players have their internal initiatives as they plan to tap
the opportunities. I can also think of few more people from India who can
probably add value on the social aspect of ICT. Will ask them if they are
interested to participate.

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

> 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.

Stephane, that's precisely my point and what I am driving at by listing
those 3 points that we *"should not presume"* that people in developing
market are all eager, that technology and cost are the primary barriers
and that a developing market or all developing markets are homogenous.
Because then we are starting from a wrong set of assumptions which will not
give us the right answers. So, my point again: *"Illiteracy and Internet"
will definitely be one of the many use cases that we can consider, BUT not
the only one and certainly not the first point to be discussed in a forum
where we are going to find a solution.* Because then we are missing the
complete picture.

I wanted to make my point that the moment we talk about developing market,
somehow all our assumptions follow a stereotype that "Developing
market=rural=illiterate=poor". This is not always true. This is
over-simplification. Even in a rural region, you will find a perfectly
literate and rich segment willing to pay for the services they
"need". Besides, the term rural is usually defined by the population density
(by OECD and likes) which is again not giving us the complete view. Couple
of years ago, I was surprised to hear of a study (dont recall the link) in
India where the conclusion was that rural population is showing signs of the
same aspirations that urban population has due to the influx of satellite
channels. This may not have been true a decade ago.

So, what I mean is that within a developing market, there are multiple
worlds which differ in economic status, culture, aspirations, technological
capabilities etc. You will see a segment of customers whose characteristics
are very much like those seen in developed markets.

So, in my opinion we need to have the *first phase* for understanding these
and create a set of terminologies which we all can agree to. Then it's easy
for us to know in what context are we talking about a challenge or a

When we do this exercise (or get access to such work done elsewhere), and
spread the multiple clusters of people based on different charecteristics on
a chart, we might see similar clusters in different countries. We can
then narrow down the scope on which clusters do we need to focus on and find
use cases relevant to those.

In the *second phase*, we answer the questions on what do these clusters
really want, what do they expect from services etc. These answers can be
then mapped to specific technological challenges which we can try to
address in the *third and final phase*.

So, my concern, based on some of the discussions in the forum, was that we
are directly getting to the third phase which is usually our temptation,
without doing the ground work in phase 1 and 2 which may look trivial but is
perhaps the key to all our answers. It is precisely in phase 1 and 2, where
we could perhaps leverage on some of the other work done. This will
also take care of our time constraints.
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

Exactly. So, if we do our work that I mentioned in phase 1 and 2, we will
see that there are different modules/use-cases that various entities are
already handling. So, we can easily map each of those modules to
relevant entities and then focus on our scope. This will give a holistic
perspective and the clear sense of the context in which we will work.

> 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 people.
> Hopefully, my explanations here clarify my stand and hopefully they make
> any sense.
> Regards

Received on Thursday, 3 July 2008 17:38:16 UTC

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