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Technology for Emerging Markets Kentaro Toyama, PhD Assistant Managing Director Microsoft Research India Outline Introduction Three Projects from MSR India Microfinance and Technology Warana Unwired Simultaneous Shared Access Outline Introduction Three Projects from MSR India

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Technology for emerging markets l.jpg

Technology for Emerging Markets

Kentaro Toyama, PhD

Assistant Managing Director

Microsoft Research India


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Outline

Introduction

Three Projects from MSR India

  • Microfinance and Technology

  • Warana Unwired

  • Simultaneous Shared Access


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Outline

Introduction

Three Projects from MSR India

  • Microfinance and Technology

  • Warana Unwired

  • Simultaneous Shared Access


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MSR India

  • Established January, 2005

  • Goals

    • World-class academic research

    • Contributions to Microsoft products and businesses

    • Support growth of research programs in India and elsewhere

  • Six research areas

    • Cryptography

    • Digital Geographics

    • Hardware, Communications, and Systems

    • Multilingual Systems

    • Rigorous Software Engineering

    • Technology for Emerging Markets

  • Currently ~50 full-time staff, growing

  • Collaborations with government, academia, industry, and NGOs

Microsoft Research India

Sadashivnagar, Bangalore

http://research.microsoft.com/india


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Technology for Emerging Markets

Understand potential technology users in economically poor communities

Adapt, invent, or design applications that contribute to socio-economic development of poor communities worldwide

Research Goals

Computer-skills camp in Nakalabande, Bangalore

(MSR India, Stree Jagruti Samiti, St. Joseph’s College)


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Interdisciplinary Research

Aishwarya Lakshmi Ratan

International Development

Public Administration and

Jonathan Donner

Society

Society

Communications

Nimmi Rangaswamy

Social Anthropology

Rajesh Veeraraghavan

Group

Group

Computer Science and

Economics

Impact

Impact

Understanding

Understanding

Archana Prasad

Animation and Design

Individual

Individual

Indrani Medhi

Design

Kentaro Toyama

Computer Science

Randy Wang

Technology

Technology

Computer Science

Innovation

Innovation

Udai Singh Pawar

Physics

Rikin Gandhi

Astrophysics


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Rural Microfinance and IT

Rural Kiosk Entrepreneurs

Sample Projects

Can computers help existing structures for rural microfinance?

Study on the challenges and uniqueness of rural kiosk entrepreneurs

MSR India: TEM

Aishwarya Lakshmi Ratan

Associate Researcher

Nimmi Rangaswamy

Associate Researcher

Text-Free UI

Warana Unwired

Digital Study Hall

UIs without text for users who are illliterate and may never have seen a computer before

Experiments with computing and communication systems in agriculture

DVD exchange over postal service and TVs as display for rural education

Indrani Medhi

Assistant Researcher

Rajesh Veeraraghavan

Associate Researcher

Randy Wang

Researcher

Government and Kiosks

IT and Microentrepreneurs

Simultaneous Shared Access

The state’s role in rural kiosk projects, with a focus on Kerala and Andhra

Information ecology of small businesses in developing markets

Multiplying the value of PCs by allowing many users to access.

Jonathan Donner

Researcher

Renee Kuriyan

Research Intern

Udai Singh Pawar

Associate Researcher


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Outline

Introduction

Three Projects from MSR India

  • Microfinance and Technology

  • Warana Unwired

  • Simultaneous Shared Access



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Exploratory Studies

Site visits:

  • Interviews with…

    • Institution heads

    • MFI agents

    • Clients

  • Participant observation

  • Accounts and records

    Microfinance Institutions

  • Pradan

  • Ujjivan

  • Sanghamitra

  • CCD Mahakalasam

  • BASIX


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Uses of Microfinance

Sustenance (40%)

Fulfil basic consumption

Protect against shocks

Access lumpsums for lifecycle needs

Growth (60%)

Enterprise (30%)

Buildup assets: education, home (30%)


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Models of Microfinance

Commercial

Cooperative

JOINT LIABILITY GROUPS

SELF - HELP GROUPS

RS.

NGO facilitator

RS.

@ 9-12% APR

@ 9-12% APR

MFI

12-20

members

RS.

@ 24-36% APR

24-36% APR

5

members

External provider is the MFI

Interest accrues to 3rd party intermediary

~8 mn outreach in India

More profitable

More commercially focused – EMI payments

Most common model worldwide

The group is the MFI

Interest accrues to member-borrowers

~33 mn outreach in India

Less profitable

More welfare focused – flexible payments

Most common model in India


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Case: PRADAN’s Computer Munshi experiment

Original workflow

(90,000 rural clients, EAST/CENTRAL India)

  • Problem area

  • Poor quality of financial data

  • No aggregate record

  • Issues

  • Costs associated with:

    • Time spent on accounting each week

    • Mistakes discovered at annual audit

  • Experiment

  • Goals

    • Improve SHG data quality & aggregate data

    • Outsource weekly accounting function – create sustainable business model

  • Methods

    • Have an Accountant with a PC serve a Federation of SHGs

    • Charge nominal fee for data processing service

    • Use manual transport to ferry data back and forth

  • Results

    • Weekly meeting time cut by half

    • Instant evaluation of financial performance of large group of SHGs possible

Annual auditing by NGO

Book-keeping done locally

Weekly collections

Improved workflow

Copy of transaction record put in drop-box

CM updates records & prints balances & dues

Weekly collections

Annual auditing by NGO


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Can technology assist microfinance?

YES!

TOUGH!

  • E-payments

  • Enabling e-cash transactions

    • Disbursal of amount (loan)

    • Collection of dues/ payments (loan, savings & insurance)

MAYBE!

Front-end IS

  • Account creation (loan, savings & insurance)

    • Collecting client data

    • Screening/ verification

  • Transaction data

  • Processing claims (savings, transfers & insurance)

Back-end IS

  • Aggregation of client data

    • Actuarial analysis

    • Target offerings


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Outline

Introduction

Three Projects from MSR India

  • Microfinance and Technology

  • Warana Unwired

  • Simultaneous Shared Access


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Warana Unwired

Rajesh Veeraraghavan


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Agriculture in India

  • Over 60% of population in agriculture

  • Mostly small and marginal farmers with 1-3 acres of land

  • Average income of $1-2 per day


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“Warana Wired Village Project”

Sugarcane  Sugar

70 villages,

70000 farmers

Asia’s first “Bridging Digital Divide” pilot ! (1998)

Started with ethnographic studies…


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“Warana Wired Village Project”

Factory

FTP

PC

Landline phone

FTP

PC enabled

Kiosks

Standard PC network

FTP

Warana Farmer DB

Weigh stations

54 kiosks in 54 villages

Cost: Rs.2.5 crores (US$500,000)


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Original Goals

  • Internet access to farmers

  • Check market price information

  • Agricultural expert system

  • Automate land records

  • Other crazy dreams!


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Actual Use

Internal account MIS:

  • Register land

  • Issues harvesting permit

  • Buy fertilizer through credit

  • Get paystub

  • Query quantity of sugarcane

    harvested


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Mounting Challenges

High maintenance cost

Intermittent power

Network flaky

PC not optimally used!


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The Problem

Can we preserve the functionality of the existing PC based system while making the entire system cheaper and more effective?


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The Solution: Warana Unwired!

PC-based

kiosks

SMS-enabled

mobile phones


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Original PC-Based Set-Up

Factory

FTP

PC

Landline phone

FTP

PC-enabled

kiosks

Standard PC network

FTP

Warana Farmer DB

Weigh stations


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GSM/CDMA

SMS network

New Mobile-Based Set-Up

Factory

SMS

PC

Windows

Mobile

Remote APIs

SMS

SMS-enabled

phones

Standard PC network

SMS

Warana Farmer DB

Weigh stations


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Warana Unwired – Results

24-hour access to services

  • 6000 SMS processed

    80% of requests for getting sugarcane

    output

    1238 unique farmer requests

    Response time on harvesting data.

  • Original: 15 days PC: 2 days  Mobile: immediate

    Telcos’ interest has perked up.

    Neighboring cooperatives have expressed interest.


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Warana Unwired– Estimated Cost Savings

Costs

Units: Rs

Savings over PCs 1 million Rupees /54 villages/1 year

($22,000)



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Farmer Response

Disbelief to Joy:

Farmer from Satve village: Initial Disbelief!

Once he sees it on the phone! he gets excited and says:

“Barabar hai, eh tho bahuth accha hai.”

“The information is exact and it is very good.”

Demands from other nearby villages:

Farmer from Angali village: Demands access!

We were trying to tell them we need to really test to see whether this works successfully, the farmer replied:

“I saw messages are coming on the mobile phone. There is no problem. So where is the question of success?”


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Status

So far:

  • Successful replacement of kiosks in seven villages. System in operation since October 2006.

  • Expansion to other villages in cooperative

    To do:

  • Analysis of feedback and surveys for concrete impact

  • Pilots with other cooperatives


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Outline

Introduction

Three Projects from MSR India

  • Microfinance and Technology

  • Warana Unwired

  • Simultaneous Shared Access


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Simultaneous Shared Access PCs

Udai Singh Pawar

Kentaro Toyama


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At school after school…

One PC,

many children.


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Solution: MultiPoint

Provide a mouse for every student

  • One cursor for each mouse, with different colours or shapes

  • USB mice

    • Have tried up to 20

  • Content modified

    • Game-like environment

      Early research work by Bier (1991), Inkpen (1995), and others.



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MultiPoint: Status

Experimental results:

  • Children understand and enjoy multiple mice

  • On rote memorization tasks, games can be designed to allow as much learning as with one-PC-per-child

  • Strong gender differences w.r.t. sharing

    Publications in ICTD2006, CHI2007

    Microsoft SDK shipped June 2007!

    “Mouse on Each Desk” project in Education Technologies group

    Ongoing work with Azim Premji Foundation

Before

After




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Continuum of Sharing

Nothing

shared

Shared

processor

Shared

processor &

monitor

Shared

processor,

monitor &

keyboard

True

personal

computer

Shared PC

Personal

mouse,

keyboard

& monitor

(Thin client/

Multi-Monitor)

Personal

mouse & keyboard

(Split Screen)

Personal

mouse

(MultiPoint)

Nothing

personal


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Summary

Introduction

Three Projects from MSR India

  • Microfinance and Technology

  • Warana Unwired

  • Simultaneous Shared Access

Technology’s

relevance

not always clear

Increasing use of

technology


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ICTD Conference

IEEE/ACM International Conference on

Information and Communication Technologies and Development

Co-organized by MSR India, UC Berkeley, IIIT-Bangalore, MIT, CMU

First: May 25-26, 2006, Berkeley, CA

Focus on rigorous academic work, with all papers double-blind peer-reviewed

Establishing a community of academic researchers in technology for development

Next one in December 15-16, 2007 Bangalore, India

UC Berkeley, site of

ICTD 2006


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Thank you!

http://research.microsoft.com/research/tem


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