We deal with a subset of ASEAN countries, the most prosperous among them being Thailand. So I looked at the performance of the not-so-rich ASEAN in the ICT Development Index. Thailand has advanced from 91st place in 2012 to 81st in 2013. Very significant. Then comes Viet Nam (101; down two places from 2012), Philippines (103; down one place), Indonesia and Cambodia holding steady at 106 and 127, respectively; Laos, down four to 134; and sadly Myanmar at 150, two places down from the last place in the region it held in 2012 — 148.
The 2014 Measuring the Information Society report is out. No surprises at the top: Denmark is now at 1 and Korea is now 2; just changed places from 2012 ranking. Significant movement from the Gulf countries: UAE goes from 46 to 23 and Qatar from 42 to 34. UAE is almost too difficult to believe. No good news from South Asia, sadly.
We’ve been thinking some big changes were coming to energy, mostly because of application of ICTs and concern about excessive centralization. But could this accelerate everything? According to a study by the investment banking firm Lazard, the cost of utility-scale solar energy is as low as 5.6 cents a kilowatt-hour, and wind is as low as 1.4 cents.
I’ve seen larger numbers being thrown around but this seems to be the component that the Indian Department of Telecom will control through its BBNL special purpose vehicle. The Rs 20,100 crore national broadband network will serve as a countrywide optic-fibre pipe to provide high-speed internet connectivity across rural India while the Rs 30,000-crore-plus wifi-based e-services project aims to create a commercial ecosystem to recover the costs of building such rural broadband infrastructure. Since the national broadband project is likely to see a 40% cost-escalation to nearly Rs 28,000 crore, the combined capex and opex cost of executing both projects is internally envisaged at roughly Rs 60,000 crore by DoT. “Currently, BBNL’s role is purely B2B (business to business), in that, it will be a bandwidth supplier to telcos who will eventually ride on the national broadband network to deliver services. But if BBNL is also required to deliver broadband services, its business model will have to migrate to the business-to-consumer (B2C) format,” said another DoT official aware of the matter.
For many, the only thing new about what journalists write about mobiles in Myanmar would be Myanmar. But I was thinking about the hate speech angle, which is, without question, going to be extremely significant in that country. Mobiles and social media are not the causes of hate speech; they are the enablers and accelerators of hate speech. Like in the old Yugoslavia, there would have been a lot of enmity toward “the other” in Myanmar. But the whole thing was bottled up and suppressed, not because the military government was against hate speech, but against all speech.
China Unicom and Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) have completed the deployment of a 1,500km terrestrial optical fiber link. It spans from the southwest Chinese province of Yunnan to Myanmar’s Ngwe Saung Beach in the Irrawaddy Delta. It is called China-Myanmar International (CMI) cable. This US$50 million cross-border telecommunication transmission link runs from Ruili and Muse on the Sino-Myanmar border to the coast via Mandalay and Yangon. Eventually it will be plugged with SEA-ME-WE 5 and AAE-1 submarine cable systems.
A short piece by Jan Chipchase on how mobile use is playing out in Myanmar. He highlights some interesting observations about mobile use in Myanmar, as well as the realities of conducting research in the outer parts of the country. Here he highlights the cost of power as a mediating factor in mobile use. In Bogale 2,500 Kyats ($2.5) will buy you a rechargeable battery that can power a home for two short nights.
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. His research interests are focused on how micro-entrepreneurs, especially women, leverage ICTs for economic growth. According to Ilavarasan, the role of ICTs in social and economic development is complex.
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 capacity had paid so little attention to the sad state of international wholesale markets in the region: IP transit prices way above what were being offered in Europe and North America, excessive reliance on submarine cables that were vulnerable because of the chokepoints of the Suez, the Malacca Strait and the Taiwan Strait. Improving the international connectivity of the region by promoting the building of open-access terrestrial cables to supplement the existing submarine cables is now a priority of UN ESCAP. We’ve been working with them on this since 2010.
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 2014. Part of IDRC’s in_focus collection, the book explores the poverty reduction impacts of the exploding use of mobile phones in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Many stakeholders of the rapidly growing ICT sector in Burma attended the two launches. The Canadian Ambassador to Burma, H.
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 Kapugama in Asia sought to isolate the economic impact of mobile phones in rural areas by looking at the most robust quantitative studies available. The systematic review assessed the impacts of the following: increased coverage or availability of mobile signals, use of mobile phones or Subscriber Interface Modules (SIMs), and use of mobile-based services and/or applications. PULL OVER PUSH From the study, they came up with three key findings including: 1.
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 General Electric are among the unit’s customers. In the past year, A.W.
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 the document, based on a systematic review to isolate the economic impact of mobile phones in rural areas by looking at the most robust quantitative studies available. “It’s a good story that we are sharing globally and not only with Pakistan,” Chair of LIRNEasia Rohan Samarajivo told The Express Tribune via phone from Sri Lanka. Explaining, he said they had reviewed over 8,000 studies on the impact of mobile phone on rural economies. “We have concluded there is a clear evidence that setting up mobile network in areas that didn’t have it previously benefits the economy of these areas.
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 units. I had no part in the best part of the program: putting all these senior people in groups and getting them to come up with ideas of new services that required cross-agency collaboration. My role was that of moderating the closing panel that was to pull together all the themes that had been discussed.
Dr. Gordon Gow is Associate Professor in Communication and Technology, University of Alberta delivered a speech “Stewarding Technology for Inclusive Innovation,” at the SSHRC Success Stories 2014 event

Citizen-centric smart cities

Posted on November 14, 2014  /  1 Comments

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 9,000 smartphone users in nine cities (including Beijing, Delhi and Tokyo) – found that 76% of respondents would use traffic volume maps, while 70% would use energy usage monitors and 66% would use apps to check water quality. “These are services that consumers will expect cities to make available via the internet,” says Michael Bjorn, Ericsson ConsumerLab’s head of research. Bjorn adds that demand for smart-city services could also drive future concepts such as interactive road navigation, social bike/car sharing, indoor maps, as well as healthcare concepts like heart-rate monitoring rings, posture sensors and a digital health network of medical data accessible by physicians.