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Rohan Samarajiva

Senior Research Fellow Illavarasan on mobiles and empowerment of women entrepreneurs

Vignesh Illavarasan is featured as ICT Champion by the IDRC Asia Office: P. Vigneswara Ilavarasan of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), New Delhi has identified situations in which mobile phones lead to positive development outcomes. Since 2008, he has been involved in research on the economic and social impact of ICTs, especially mobile phones. […]

Why Asian mobile operators must pay attention to international backhaul (and UNESCAP)

The GSMA Asia team had come to Colombo for their annual staff retreat. Amid all the team building activities, they also thought they should replenish the knowledge conduits and asked LIRNEasia to put together a few sessions. Many ideas were presented, but I thought it surprising that a collective organization of users of international backhaul […]

IDRC Asia Office newsletter features Myanmar book launch

The launch of the Myanmar version of Information lives of the poor, a book featuring LIRNEasia research among others, is featured in the latest issue of the IDRC Asia Office newsletter. The Burmese edition of Information Lives of the Poor: Fighting Poverty With Technology was launched in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, Burma, in July […]

African opinion leader bases a column on LIRNEasia’s systematic review on mobile impacts

Dr Bitange Ndomo is perhaps one of the most prominent voices on African ICT policy. Suffice to say he has 102,000 Twitter followers. In his latest column, read by many more than who get the hardcopy version in Nairobi, he says thus: For example, a systematic review conducted by Rohan Samarajiva, Christoph Stork, and Nilusha […]

Public cloud is growing fast

But the ability of small businesses in the developing world to use this resource rests on what can be done to ensure reliable, affordable connectivity, something they still do not have. Just a few years ago, public clouds like Amazon’s were considered experimental turf for tech start-ups. Today, companies like Johnson & Johnson, Intuit and […]

LIRNEasia’s systematic review on impact of mobiles carried in Pakistan press

There were some implicit references in a recent article in the Bangladesh Daily Star, but this is the first coverage based entirely on the systematic review. Mobile coverage in rural areas makes markets more efficient by matching demand and supply across a larger geographical space, resulting in benefits to consumers as well as producers, says […]

Talking e gov with the government of Sri Lanka

I’ve never had a conversation with a government before. But today they had assembled (almost) all the secretaries, all heads of government organizations including the heads of the armed forces and the police into one location. The government was launching its On(egov)ernment strategy, that has a whole of government approach that requires collaboration among government […]

Citizen-centric smart cities

I am not sure surveying current smartphone users, especially in countries where smartphone penetration is still low, is the best way to gauge the demand for smart-city services, but it is a useful input. Here are some key findings from an Ericsson study that is available on the web. The report – which surveyed over […]

Is it an e commerce company, or is it a conglomerate using transaction data from e commerce?

At one time, transaction-generated data (TGD) was the by product. E commerce or retailing services provided over the web was the main product. But if analysis of the TGD is used to give the company leverage in other sectors, resulting in acquisitions or entry .. . What is dog and what is tail? According to […]

In the end, it’s all about mindset

LIRNEasia’s image is tied up with ICTs, thought from the beginning we wanted to be an infrastructure shop. Ports are infrastructure, and for the city I live in, perhaps the most vital infrastructure. So this piece fits. But the fit is even more from the mindset side. Everything we do as a think tank is […]

Google: From a mobile-first world to a mobile-only world

There is no guarantee that companies always bet right, but I’d place weight on their wagers more than on those of armchair theorists who are still arguing for FTTH as the only solution. Ask Google why they want a big, Nexus 6 size phone, and the answer is ready: “We are moving from mobile first […]

On the puzzle of figuring how many Internet users

The Economist is a plum. In all honesty, I was thrilled we were mentioned. I wish they had gone to people with real data on Africa like RIA, rather than those who simply speculate, but still, a thoughtful piece. While the claim re radio may hold true for Africa, it definitely is incorrect for the […]

Insurance as a key element of future disaster risk reduction strategies

Ravaya landslides

Despite the massive goof-up with the situation reports which over-reported the number of casualties from the Koslanda landslide by a factor of eight (300 as against the actual 38), the country has been shaken by the disaster. The Sinhala language weekly, Ravaya, was dominated by it. The article that I contributed, building on the thinking […]

Myanmar: Can coverage keep up with demand?

The telecom operators in Myanmar are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. The demand for SIMs is so high that call and data quality is compromised. If they restrict supply, a black market develops. If they don’t, their image gets sullied. I was pleased to read that Telenor had postponed its rollout […]

Landslides, and what can be done about them

We’ve had too many disasters. The tsunami, the LTTE, Nandikadal. And now Koslanda. After the tsunami we asked what could be done to avoid a repeat. We found answers. Ten years later we can be confident that it will not be that bad, the next time. But landslides are very different from tsunamis and cyclones. […]

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