Closing Plenary: The Mobile as a Post Industrial Platform for Socio-Economic Development

Activity: Talk or presentation typesAcademic keynote or plenary lecture


The internet is the foundation of the world wide web of humanity online. Today, there is no such facility on the cell phone platform comparable as yet to the great degree of usability and freedom of movement that browsing currently offers those of us in "broadband nations". At the same time there is a great digital divide between the haves and the have nots. Many have tried with different degrees of success to bridge this chasm, because they all see the potential for growth that unleashing the flow of wealth to and from the bottom-most segments of socioeconomic and geopolitical strata, can effect real change in the standard of living for a great majority on our planet rather than just the fortunate few.

The numbers of cell phones sold in the past two years alone in the unexpected markets of the bottom of the pyramid, that includes a surprising numbers of luxury or high end mobiles, far more than any market survey could have predicted even two years ago, is a clear signal of the shift in economic activity. Look at what is already happening now in Bangladesh - microfinance and cell phones; South Africa - banking the unbanked through their cell phones; Uganda - microentreprise using the cell phone and more.

The challenge before us today is to ask "What if...?" in the best traditions of creativity and imagination and visualize a near future, within the constraints of existing or installed technology, that could bridge this digital divide and develop the applications and the foundation to provide connectivity, commerce, and community on the mobile platform. What kind of difference could this make?
Period3 May 2007
Held atACM SIGCHI, United States
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • mobile phone
  • post industrial platform
  • emerging markets
  • development
  • transformation
  • disruption
  • bottom of the pyramid
  • foresight