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Mobile and Web Technologies in Social & Economic Development

Aman Grewal · April 30, 2012

The Web Foundation recently conducted a Workshop on Mobile and Web Technologies in Social and Economic Development to understand the challenges associated with using mobile phones and Web technologies to deliver sustainable services for underprivileged populations in developing countries.

Individuals and organizations interested in the role of mobile phones and the Web in social and economic development gathered to attend this parallel workshop under the aegis of 3rd International Conference on M4D – Mobile Communication for Development.

In 2011 we organized a workshop on Mobile and Web Technologies in Social and Economic Development in Dar es Salaam, the fourth workshop in a series that began in 2006 in Bangalore, India and then continued in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2008, and in Maputo, Mozambique in 2009. The workshop in Tanzania attracted a large and diverse group of participants. Attendees from more than 30 different countries engaged in discussions on topics such as voice-based services for underprivileged communities, mobile-technology entrepreneurship and data collection tools (Report)

The primary aim of this workshop in New Delhi was to expand further on the work done in Tanzania and investigate in more detail specific themes related to voice-based services for underprivileged communities. The workshop took place on 27th February, 2012 before the main M4D workshop, and included 3 sessions:

  • W3C India Panel: Focused on the W3C Mobile Web Initiative and its standardization in India. It further discussed the role of speech technology in providing automated information systems. This was followed by a very interesting discussion by Janastu: Internet South an Oral Dialog
  • Voice applications: Two separate sessions highlighted mobile applications using voice based services, lessons learned and challenges to scale.
  • Startup, Design and Adoption: This session focused on design, user and use factors for voice services in developing world contexts, adoption methodologies and start-up plans for deploying IVR technology in rural sectors.

The workshop attracted an audience from a variety of backgrounds including representatives from the mobile industry, international organizations, private companies developing voice applications for Bottom of the Pyramid populations, academics and students. The main M4D event itself was attended by over 200 delegates. Today we are publishing the report and proceedings of the M4D event.

The Web Foundation plans to follow up with another workshop in 2012, future announcements for which will be published on this site.




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