I am at the University of Washington in Seattle discussing grand challenges in tech policy. When asked to identify a grand challenge in the tech policy space that was uniquely relevant in my own country, I proposed action to minimize impact on livelihoods as described in the piece I wrote after the April Kelani river flood: As I read general alerts of the type quoted above, I wonder how a person could react. So for example, what do I do, as a resident of Kegalla District, when I am told there is a risk of landslides in the District? For specific action, I would need a specific warning, such as “there is a 75 percent probability of this particular hill looming over my house sliding down if there is more than one hour of continuous rain.” I would need to know where to go.
In all businesses, it is important to keep an eye on game-changing technologies. As South Asia places even greater weight on outsourcing of various kinds in their drive to increase service exports, it is worth keeping an eye on unsourcing, according to the Economist: FOR the past decade, technical support has been in the vanguard of globalisation. With the costs of intercontinental communication shrivelling to virtually nothing, phone and online customer services have migrated to wherever they can be managed most efficiently and cheaply. India blazed the trail, building a $5 billion outsourcing business on helping Westerners solve high-tech niggles. Recently, the Philippines has taken over as the world’s call-centre hotspot, offering comparable wage costs to India, with the added benefit—at least to North American ears—of a Yankee drawl.
We continue to receive media coverage for the Islamabad Mobile 2.0 Applications and Conditions Expert Forum Meeting. M. Somasekhar’s piece on Hindu Business Line on mobile payments says: Experts from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Kenya, Thailand, the Philippines, Bhutan and Bangladesh among other nations met in Islamabad recently to discuss their experiences in providing mobile phone services for the BoP segment in their respective countries. They agreed that a beginning has been made and the road ahead appeared daunting, but technological progress promised quick results.
Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka loves SMS. In the pre-election period it requested operators to accommodate a ‘New Year Greeting’ from the President, who apparently was a candidate. Now it warns the users about a false spam SMS. If you have received it don’t worry. Calls from those numbers do not harm your brain or kill you, assures Director General of the Telecom Regulatory Commission (TRC) Anusha Pelpita.
How best to name the key theme for the next research cycle? We discussed this at length three years back. Rohan’s original idea was ‘Mobile Multiple Play’. We would have agreed, if not for the reason it already meant something else. Then came ‘Mobile++’.
The colloquium was conducted by Harsha de Silva, PhD. Harsha began by explaining that the paper focus both on trains and buses, but in this colloquium will focus on the Bus transport. 75% of passenger transport is via public transport and of that 93% by bus and 7% by train. Roughly 5500 SLCTB and 18000 private buses. The fare is regulated by National Transport Commission (NTC).
The title is bold, we agree, but it is true. The FCC is asking broadband and smartphone users in USA to use their broadband testing tools to help the feds and consumers know what speeds are actually available, not just promised by the nations’ telecoms, reports wired.com. Starting yesterday (March 11), netizens can go to the FCC’s Broadband.gov site, enter their address and test their broadband speed using one of two testing tools.
Google has announced that it will be rolling out superfast broadband as demonstration projects. “Google, indeed, appears to be playing a chess game,” said David B. Yoffie, a professor at the Harvard Business School. “If they can create an even mildly credible commitment to offer superfast broadband to the home, it could strike fear in the hearts of cable and telcos, stimulating an arms race of investment — just as they did in the auction for spectrum a few years ago.” In a post on its corporate blog, Google said it planned to build and test a high-speed fiber optic broadband network capable of allowing people to surf the Web at a gigabit a second, or about 100 times the speed of many broadband connections.
It is high time that Asian spectrum managers started thinking about more efficient use this valuable resource. In Search of Wireless Wiggle Room – New York Times Having missed the opportunity to include these provisions in the coming auction, the F.C.C. will have another chance this year to create cheaper wireless broadband services.
Miguel Helft October 11, 2007, New York Times For more than two years, a large group of engineers at Google have been working in secret on a mobile-phone project. As word of their efforts has trickled out, expectations in the tech world for what has been called the Google phone, or GPhone, have risen, the way they do for Apple loyalists before a speech by Steve Jobs. But the GPhone is not likely to be the second coming of the iPhone and Google’s goals are very different from Apple’s. Google wants to extend its dominance of online advertising to the mobile internet, a small market today but one that is expected to grow rapidly. It hopes to persuade wireless carriers and mobile-phone makers to offer phones based on its software, according to people briefed on the project.
Asia Times Online Most Internet accounts in Myanmar are designed to provide access only to the limited Myanmar intranet, and the authorities block access to popular e-mail services such as Gmail and Hotmail. According to the OpenNet Initiative (ONI), a joint research project on Internet censorship issues headed by Harvard University, Myanmar’s Internet-censorship regime as of 2005 was among the “most extensive” in the world. The research noted that the Myanmar government “maintains the capability to conduct surveillance of communication methods such as e-mail, and to block users from viewing websites of political opposition groups and organizations working for democratic change in Burma”. An ONI-conducted survey of websites containing material known to be sensitive to the regime found in 2005 that 84% of the pages they tested were blocked. The regime also maintained an 85% filtration rate of well-known e-mail service providers, in line with, as ONI put it, the government’s “well-documented efforts to monitor communication by its citizens and to control political dissent and opposition movements”.
A consortium of technology companies, including I.B.M. and Cisco Systems, announced plans Tuesday for a vast wireless network that would provide free Internet access to big portions of Silicon Valley and the surrounding region as early as next year. The project is the largest of a new breed of wireless networks being built across the country.
National Early Warning System: Sri Lanka (NEWS:SL): A Participatory Concept Paper for the Design of an Effective All-Hazard Public Warning System (Version 2.1) Annexes: A Participatory Concept Paper for the Design of an Effective All-Hazard Public Warning System (Version 2.1) *Executive Summary*# *The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that claimed the lives of one in 500 of Sri Lanka�s people and displaced one in twenty has highlighted the critical importance of an effective National Early Warning System for Sri Lanka (NEWS:SL)*. Meeting this need, which has been discussed (and forgotten) after each of our too frequent disasters such as the cyclones of 1978 and the floods of 2003, can no longer be postponed. # *Public warning is a system, not a technology*.