Mobile technology is increasingly being applied for social tasks involving commoners like students, farmers, and others. Partnership between Telefonica and Nokia to provide educational content to remote schools in Latin America through mobile technology is a recent example.
Recently, telecom company Ericsson and pan-African operator Zain have built a wind- and solar-powered site in remote northeast Kenya. Now, with access to mobile communication, villagers in Dertu can make calls, access health services and education.
Global mobile operators’ association GSMA and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have partnered to offer financial services through mobile phones. Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) program is intended to provide mobile money services for people living on less than US$2 a day.
Targeting socio-economic applications, in October last year, Thomson Reuters expanded its service for India’s agricultural community in the Punjab state. Reuters Market Light, which provides commodity prices, crop and weather data via mobile phone, is adopted by over 3,000 subscribers in Punjab. It has already got 60,000 subscriptions for this service in Maharashtra state, it says.
Also, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a leading global tech outsourcing organization in India, has introduced its mobile based crop-advisory service, mKrishi. It aims to help rural farmers throughout India have better access to information through a cell phone application.
Telefonica Foundation that works for social development through education and Nokia have signed an agreement to bring educational content to remote schools in Latin America through the use of mobile technology. The partners aim to deliver “education in isolated areas as a way to close the digital inclusion gap in the region and promote social development.”
The agreement, explains Nokia, will help expand the current scope of Telefonica Foundation’s “Pronino” and “Educared” social programs that focus on technology use for education.
The first implementation of this agreement is planned for Chile, where Telefonica’s mobile broadband and Nokia’s advanced mobile software Nokia Education Delivery will enable isolated schools in Chile to have access to educational content. This will include tools and services for students, fathers, and teachers via Educared.
The agreement will be later expanded to other countries in Latin America and will prioritize schools where Pronino works. Pronino and EducaRed will thus aim to improve educational quality in rural schools without fixed broadband connectivity.
Pronino program, says Nokia, contributes to the elimination of child labor through quality education, reaching in 2008 more than 107,000 children across 13 countries in Latin America.
Similarly, EducaRed program works in the promotion of the use of technology in education, through its portal and different teachers, parents, and children training programs. In 2008, EducaRed received more than 60 million visits from the educational community in its Spanish and Latin American websites (www.educared.net).
The agreement will also extend to the adoption of Nokia Data Gathering software by Telefonica Foundation within its Pronino program. Nokia’s software solution will enable Telefonica Foundation to monitor and evaluate the impact of the implementation using mobile devices instead of paper forms. This will avoid duplication of data entry, enable faster decisions, and reduce environmental impact, believes Nokia.
Nokia Data Gathering software was introduced last year as a solution to help public sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) collect data on critical issues such as disease outbreaks or disaster relief via mobile devices. The Amazonas State Health Department in Brazil was supposed to be the first to use the solution as part of its fight against dengue fever in the city of Manaus in Northern Brazil.
According to Wireless Intelligence, the GSMA’s market intelligence unit, the global market for mobiles will reach 6 billion connections by 2013. In February this year the mobile world celebrated its four billionth connection. It believes that people living on less than $2 per day are also potential consumers.