Cutting Edge Tech for All

24th Feb 2008
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Why should the BoP not gain access to the newest technologies? A recent shift by major private sector players has shown that the old guard’s view that the poor do not need the latest and greatest technological innovation is no longer valid — as they too require what is on the cutting edge.

Neerja Raman from Digital Provide: From Good to Gold explains:

One month after announcing the world’s cheapest car — the $2,500 Tata Nano — India has unveiled the telecommunications equivalent: the $20 “people’s phone.” Developed by Spice, the Indian telecoms group that is listed in Bombay and worth $2 billion, is angled at the very lowest end of the market …
I think the world ought to sit up and take notice. These are early indicators of a change in the making. An important change; a great change: where lower cost comes from reducing non-essential features in product design not from using older, cheaper technology developed for a market with completely different economic drivers.
For years technology has been associted with “expensive”, “complicated” and most importantly “irrelevant” for the poor or people living on less than $2/day. This is a red herring. Give them food, give them medicines and ah yes give them education; but technology?
Yes technology – the best and latest technology; the kind developed for the market that represents the next billion.
Affordability and access (communiction, transportation) are backbones of productivity – imagine what the world would look like if not just two billion but the gobal population, 6.6 billion people, were engaged in the innovation process!

Hopefully such innovations for the masses will not be limited to driving and talking, and this effort by larger companies will expand to other sectors.

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