Big discovery for me this year is that the key enabling digital technology in the developing world is probably NOT the computer, but the cell-phone.
- TEDster Tom Standage wrote a brilliant cover story in The Economist to this effect.
- Iqbal Quadir‘s talk at TEDGLOBAL offered further powerful evidence via the astonishing story of Grameen Phone
- and two eye-opening trips for me this year — to Ethiopia and India — further convinced me. In India everyone was using cell-phones, in Ethiopia, everyone wanted one.
Today, the fantastic website worldchanging (which TED Prize winner Ed Burtynsky is supporting with one of his wishes) pointed me to research from Philips that could allow the introduction of yet cheaper communication devices — modified MP3 players — by using ‘time-shifted’ communication. Turns out you may be able to get much of the benefit of a cell-phone without having to communicate in real time. I LIKE this idea…. and the potential ‘leapfrogging’ it could enable.