ICT for inclusive growth

Wednesday 22 February, 2012

I caught a presentation by the Chief Innovation Officer of The Ink Group, Ivaturi Vijaya Kumar, on ICT for Inclusive Growth @ the International Conference on Information Systems Design & Intelligent Applications.  He defined his topic as a focus on the social impact of information & communications technologies.  1 problem with ICT is it’s fixed access asymmetry with rural areas, which is typically not as scalable & sustainable.  E-governance, health care, & education are public services which are foci (plural of focus,I think) of government.  A rural kiosk is a good example.  Netbooks & tablet computers are making information access better, but government still needs to provide real-time data-it takes too much time to do things manually, as they’re typically done now.

1 challenge is the limited number of services presently available, although there is a change in the flow of information services for government.  The benefits are there are fewer last mile problems & more, more accurate, & more timely information.  These result in more clusters & more integrated services.

Another issue is that the numbers of inhabitants & doctors varies greatly by region.  but if Coca-Cola reaches every corner of the globe, why can’t health care?  Hemodialysis in India is cheap, while in UK & the US it’s expensive.   A portable dialysis machine was invented by a 15-year old.   A firm out of Bangalore claims to be able to bring dialysis to your doorstep.  The Indian government’s Mother-Child Tracking System is a big help to the National Rural Health Mission.

To bridge the digital divide, the future of education hinges upon being able to move from a focus on the teacher to a more learner-centric model.  But what the Indian government wants is simply compliance.  The Netketabi (“my netbook” in Arabic) project in Palestine enables students to showcase their talents in multimedia in an interactive way.

So, the final few take-aways are:

  • e-government cannot handle high bandwidth applications because of network problems
  • healthcare presents both challenges as well as opportunities
  • education in India differs from other countries in that there is little discovery & it suffers from local language problems.

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