Don’t tell the inhabitants of a small town of Kilifi in Kenya thats its just a phone when they can buy milk, pay for a taxi ride and check the price of local vegetables all via their mobile phones. Cant imagine that happening in my local town here in Surrey, you would be lucky to find a taxi company available let alone pay for it via your phone!
A project called Eprom – Entrepreneurial Programming and Research on Mobiles which has been developed by MIT in the US, The University of Nairobi and sponsored by Nokia was setup to look at the needs of mobile phones subscribers in developing countries. Mobile phones are designed for western audiences they state but as the developing world has the majority of subscribers world wide – 1.4 billion!!- they are intending to focus on this new emerging market and put in place schemes, educational courses and the tools to encourage development in this area.
One amazing fact he points out is that in Kenya where only 200,000 homes have electricity there are 6 million mobile phone subscribers. Fascinating project I think. More from Nathan Eagle, a Research Scientist at MIT here and further information about the project can be found on the EPROM website.