Saturday, July 14, 2012

It's for you... Africa calling!

I've always been impressed by the way folks in other lands employ mobile phone technology. From the 2, 3 or 4 sim phones found in Southeast Asia, to the combo sim/cdma models offered in India and Pakistan... cellphones (smartphones) are used in many of places in ways North Americans haven't even dreamed.

Some five billion people worldwide were using mobile phones in 2010, according to the International Telecommunication Union, with the strongest growth taking place in developing countries.

Africa is the fastest-growing mobile market in the world, the biggest immediately after Asia, according to The GSM Association of worldwide mobile phone operators. The number of subscribers on the continent has grown almost 20% each year for the past five years. It expects there will be more than 735 million subscribers in Africa by the end of 2012. Innovation is abundant.

With three sim cards (can be from three different cellular service providers) , a person can have one number just for family, another for the general public, and a third as a "business line" - all on one handphone. Phones aren't "locked" like the ones forced on the American public, in an AOL-modeled effort to "control" us and our phone usage.

The value of the cellular telephone is obvious: people have not only embraced the technology, they continue to come up with new ways to utilize it:

BANKING ::: North America is just beginning to scratch the surface here - In Zambia and several other countries, smartphones are used to pay electric bills via SMS. In Kenya, micro-business owners without access to commercial banking can obtain credit via cellphone. In South Africa, Wizzit allows anyone with a handphone to make person-to-person payments, transfers and pre-paid purchases --- there is no fee, and no bank account needed! The company was founded in 2004 and is based in Johannesburg.

ELECTRONIC SHEPHERD ::: A South African farmer is fielding phone calls from his sheep, after equipping them with cell phones to keep tabs on the flock amid recent livestock thefts.

MEDICAL CARE ::: TxtAlert (just one example) is a mobile tool that sends unique, automated SMS reminders to patients on chronic medication. This reminds them to take their medication or perform other necessary tasks. A special tool, called “Please Call Me” allows patients to call their doctors even if they don’t have any airtime available by pinging their doctor who then calls back. Another is Health eVillages, which provides doctors in underserved regions with inexpensive phones and high-powered diagnosis tools. The program will deliver those doctors and healthcare workers with new and refurbished mobile devices preloaded with clinical decision support reference tools like drug guides, medical alerts, journal summaries and references pulled from Skyscape, a medical reference app company.

Last week, facebook friend Bin posted "Are there any African writers writing for the mobile phone? On what platforms? wattpad? Anybody?" Bin received a response from Lauri Kubuitsile - "I write fiction for teens with FuDza Literacy Trust, the stories are read and discussed on cellphones. It's in RSA, not Bots." (Ii think those references are "Republic of South Africa" and "Botswana.")

Have you heard of "Pivot East?" DETAILS here! (Or take a preview by watching the video below!)

Mobile Phone usage in Africa is also cutting into internet activity via conventional computer. Some say "cellphones ARE the internet." On a short series of posts, professor Carlos Serra writes about some of the reasons why Mozambique's blogsphere is fading away. One reader comments that blogging requires a load of work in order to ensure updates and quality. Whereas Serra says that social media may need to be blamed, despite the pros of its usage.


Mobile Learning in Developing Nations,
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick View
by S Motlik - 2008 - Cited by 33 - Related articles
This paper looks at the diffusion and applications of mobile phone technology in Asiaand Africa, compared with North America.

Islam Analysis: The mobile route to a high-tech future › ... › Science in the Islamic worldOpinions
Jun 13, 2012 – For the poorest of the poor in the Islamic world —
many of whom live in Africa and South Asia — the mobile phone
could be the only technology ...

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