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THE CHANGING FACE OF MOBILE SERVICES

With the world teledensity touching the 100% mark in the next decade as per International telecommunication union, mobile service providers have gone beyond voice. One will be amazed to see the kind of services that are deployed by the operators to rope in more revenue from alternative sources. Google mobile, Grameen Foundation Bangladesh and MTN have collaborated with each other to provide highly innovative services (Farmer’s Friend,Clinic Finder,Google Trader) for the rural sector in Uganda.

GrameenFoundationEach service is unique in its own way. Farmer’s Friend is the SMS helpline wherein farmers can text any queries such as weather for the next 4 weeks, or how to ┬áplant new seeds or how to use fertilizers. Within seconds they will get back the answers in a SMS. On the other hand clinic finder will provide directions for the nearest clinics in the neighborhood or health tips such as symptoms of common disease. Google trader is another text based system that will try to match buyers and sellers of agricultural product and goods. Sellers can send messages to publish there exact location and what goods they have to offer. The message will be stored in a central repository so that information can be seek by potential buyers. As per the economist within 5 weeks of launch, the services received a total of more than 1m queries. Surely a gem of an idea taking mobile service to the next level. In the Indian context we also have similar such services. Reuters market life is one such service. It is a text based service providing information on local weather and commodity price. Even Global IT giant TCS has also come up with a service called mkrishi which allows farmers to send queries and receive personalized advice. Recently Nokia, the leader in handset maker, launched its own info service, Nokia Life Tools, in India. It caters to education, entertainment and agricultural info.

These text based services no doubt are providing lot of benefits to the rural population and raising the economy of the country. Hats off to the new era of information services.

October 27, 2009 at 12:19 am 1 comment


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