Just Call Me on My Cell …

At the risk of overstating the role that mobile phones will play in reaching the BoP, a great post on NextBillion.net talks about how cell phones have reached the level that Malcolm Gladwell would label a “social epidemic.”

It is notable that Eric Schmidt, chairman of the board and enlightened CEO of Google has said that the trend “will end with 5 billion out of the 6 billion with cell phones,” a figure that reaches well into the Base of the Pyramid.

While the article may seem to place cell phones on a pedestal and almost describe them as the missing link for development, one point the article does make well is the notion that unlike in developed economies where some blame mobile technologies for the fragmentation and depersonalization of society, in the developing world they actually enable people to become more secure and interdependent.

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HealthCareMagic plans to be new portal for Indians

Startup Dunia writes that the website HealthcareMagic has been launched with the aim of becoming the primary portal for Indians’ healthcare needs. Utilizing the internet to make access more widely available, the website plans to offer the following features.

  • Chat live with a doctor for free using the portal (between 9 AM – 9 PM IST)
  • Rate, review doctors, hospitals. Share your experiences
  • Search and compare doctors and health care service providers in Bangalore
  • They also have health / hospitalization calculators to aid you in making healthcare related decisions

Currently in beta and only servicing Bangalore, the company hopes to expand to other areas of the country soon.

Adoption not the same as democratization with regard to technology

The Economist had an article today on the challenges that emerging economies face with making initial adoptions of new technologies widespread. While it is easy to overly simplify the phenomenon that is technology transfer to the developing world by glossing over mobile phone stats or internet users, the harsh reality is that much of these technologies have still failed to become ubiquitous.

The article depicted the typical situation of a rapidly adopting emerging society in India:

In frenetic Mumbai, everyone seems to be jabbering non-stop on their mobile phones: according to India’s telecoms regulator, half of all urban dwellers have mobile- or fixed-telephone subscriptions and the number is growing by 8m a month. The India of internet cafés and internet tycoons produces more engineering graduates than America, makes software for racing cars and jet engines and is one of the top four pharmaceutical producers in the world.

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