Ayesha Zainudeen, Senior Research Manager at LIRNEasia, spoke at the recent expert meeting of the UNESCAP in Colombo. Below is a long quote. There is more at FT. Other than voice, it’s mostly SMS use, along with missed calling. Voice connectivity is almost ubiquitous.
I was at dinner with some people who advise governments earlier today. One said they had identified the top four apps for government. I asked who would develop them? And who decided? Without being rude, I said that innovation is like throwing 100 things at a wall and seeing what four things stick.
The US has hundreds of airports. My country has one. I know where things are at that airport, I don’t need apps to guide me. What I’d like to know is where things are in the Asian airports that I frequent, like the maze that goes by the name of Suvannabhoomi or the upstairs section of Terminal 3 in New Delhi. Most likely some kind soul will soon come up with a nice mobile app that I can use to find a decent place to eat or buy a book or whatever.
LIRNEasia in partnership with Lanka Software Foundation and several other partners has spent a lot of time figuring out how we could catalyze the growth of useful apps on mobiles, in connection with a project proposal we just submitted. Unlocking the wealth of data sitting inside government, as described in this op-ed by Richard Thaler is a great way to go. The US is doing it. Can we get our governments also to follow? Not surprisingly, San Francisco, with its proximity to Silicon Valley, has been a pioneer in these efforts.