This is not immediately relevant to our market segment, but it will become so over time. This has the potential to displace laptops and small smartphones. The economies of scale will kick in, and prices will come down. And a key element in the Internet eco system will be put in place. According to a new forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, worldwide phablet shipments (smartphones with screen sizes from 5.
Net neutrality sticks in one’s mind. Alliteration helps. The guy who cooked up the term ran for Lieutenant Governor nomination in New York and lost, but not too badly. Guess that helps explain its inherent openness to multiple meaning imposition. Net neutrality has an extraordinary range of meanings, not all consistent with each other.
Imposing 1% surcharge on the mobile tariff for a fictitious “Rural Education Fund” has received the government’s approval yesterday. Earlier we highlighted the dark side of this illicit kitty. And we didn’t, of course, expect the government would retreat. Now we helplessly wait and hopelessly watch the further criminalization of governance in Bangladesh. After all, the prime minister has angrily declared that all the ruling party leaders, except her, can be bought!
This year’s CPRsouth focused on systematic reviews. Completed and in-process studies were presented and a whole day of the Young Scholars’ Program was devoted to the topic. On the last day, I was tasked with moderating a panel of those who had worked on SRs. One reason we did this was to ensure that the weaknesses of the tool, as well as its strengths, were fully explored. Here is the first question I posed to the panel: 1.
Iran’s 70% of the youth regularly use software to dodge government filters designed to block access to sites such as Facebook and YouTube, according to Iranian Centre for Research and Strategic Studies. Its director, Mohammad Taqi Hassanzadeh, said: Of the 67.4 percent of Iranian young people who use the internet, 19.1% use the net for chatting, 15.3% for the social media, 15.
In a fascinating piece of writing that seamlessly moves between the “real” world of the news and the “real” world of television drama, Maureen Dowd picks up and expands upon, a stray comment from President Obama: The murderous melee that ensues is redolent of President Obama’s provocative remark at a Democratic Party fund-raiser in New York, talking about the alarming aggressions flaring up around the world and alluding to the sulfurous videos of the social-media savvy ISIS fiends beheading American journalists. “If you watch the nightly news,” the president said, “it feels like the world is falling apart.” Trying to reassure Americans who feel frightened and helpless, he posited that “the truth of the matter is that the world has always been messy. In part, we’re just noticing now because of social media and our capacity to see in intimate detail the hardships that people are going through.” Now this is a fascinating research subject.
Cummins is a big name, but not in ICTs. So this story caught my eye. Cummins Power Generation has secured a contract to supply hybrid power solutions to Irrawaddy Green Towers (IGT) in Myanmar. Under this contract, Cummins will supply solar hybrid, battery hybrid and diesel generator solutions to over 750 cell-tower sites that IGT will roll out in Myanmar during the next twelve months. .
Xinhua reports mobile SIM numbers for Myanmar as of April 2014. Helped by the lower than estimated population numbers given by the latest census that came out a week back, this means that Myanmar is well on its way to achieving its telecom penetration targets. The current SIM penetration is not known, but if we add 1 million to the Xinhua numbers (reported to be what Ooredoo achieved in first three weeks of rollout), the SIM/100 reaches 18. The number of Myanmar’s mobile phone users has been on sharp rise, reaching 8.278 million as of April 2014, up 7.
This op-ed article contributed by a LIRNEasia associate, places more emphasis than we would on fixed wireless as a means for achieving broadband in Indonesia. This could possibly be because the author is immersed in European policy thinking, having been educated in Sweden and now working for the EU in Spain. But nevertheless it is a valuable contribution to policy discourse. And it comes at the right time, just as President Jokowi gets to work. The background document, funded under a Ford Foundation project, is here.
Iran has released 3G and 4G frequencies. It is now possible to share pictures taken by one’s phone. The Islamic Republic has eased up on its efforts to strangle the Internet, while not actually killing it. I’ve been talking about this off and on. But, Iran has added a new twist.
CPRsouth 2014, the first time the event is being run as a merged conference including both African and Asian participants, is about to start in Maropeng, South Africa. The theme of this year’s conference is “What works, why, and how do we know?” The theme reflects the focus being placed this year on systematic reviews. The pre-conference tutorials commence on September 7th and include a full day on systematic review training.
Of all the sessions that LIRNEasia people spoke at (eight officially; nine if the one where I was asked to speak on our big data work is included), the zero-rating session had been the most controversial. Understandably, it has drawn the attention of journalists. Helani Galpaya, CEO of LIRNEasia noted that mobile phones have a high penetration across countries in South-East and South Asia, and that there even exist a fair number of low priced data plans. However there are many at the so-called bottom of the pyramid for whom even a low priced data plan is still challenging. Zero rating has helped them come on aboard.
Two weeks back I was invited to give a guest lecture by the Department of Management Studies at IIT Delhi. The topic of my lecture was based on our ongoing work in using mobile network big data for development in Sri Lanka. Attended by 60+ graduate students and faculty from various departments (Management, Economics and Computer Science), the lecture garnered a large amount of interest from people trying to understand how big data can be used in various domains (both public and private). Whilst the focus of my talk was very much on development, there are still many implications and cross-over learnings for businesses and this came out more in the discussion following the lecture. The issue for many though (and which will remain for sometime) is getting access to big data rather than the tools.
Somehow, electricity lacks the sexiness of ICTs. People debate how many households have mobiles, but few know how many households have electricity. This on a subject Lenin thought was so important that he proclaimed “Socialism + Electricity = Communism.” Not that I advocate Communism, Lenin forbid. So I was very pleased when a book on energy policy was launched by a Sri Lankan Minister.
My previous post on Internet v Facebook users elicited a lot of responses. We also went back and relooked at the numbers carefully. The Myanmar census numbers came in (after 30 years?). Some changes were made.
Is this a regional trend? I came across this report from Thailand, soon after reviewing a book of energy policy and politics by Minister Ranawaka from the JHU, the Sri Lankan political party which has monks in leadership positions and which got into Parliament by fielding an all-monk slate of candidates in 2004. The monk’s role in energy reform has surprised several people. Phra Buddha, who made a name for himself while leading a protest against the Yingluck Shinawatra government early this year, said he was now planning to champion for reform in this important sector. The monk had joined the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, led by former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban, who has now also taken up saffron robes.