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A Multifunction Information Appliance for Emerging Economies Mythology and Reality of the Digital Divide Problem. Raj Reddy Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh Aug 1, 2005 Talk presented at MIT Quanta Conference. Platforms to Serve the Bottom of the Pyramid.

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A Multifunction Information Appliance for Emerging EconomiesMythology and Reality of the Digital Divide Problem

Raj Reddy

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh

Aug 1, 2005

Talk presented at MIT Quanta Conference


Platforms to serve the bottom of the pyramid
Platforms to Serve the Bottom of the Pyramid

  • 4 Billion People at the Bottom of the Pyramid with incomes less than $2000 per year have not had access to the benefits of IT revolution

    • Don’t need Word, Excel and Power Point

    • Need Access to affordable Entertainment, Education, Telemedicine and Communication

      • eLearning is one to many video communication

      • Telemedicine is many to many video conferencing

  • Platforms for People at the Bottom of the Pyramid must have

    • TV and Radio tuner chips built-in

    • Video and Audio input built-in for communication apps

      • Voice mail, Video mail, IP phone and Video Phone


Barriers to entry digital divide issues
Barriers to Entry: Digital Divide Issues

  • Connectivity Divide

    • Access to free Internet for basic services?

  • Computer Access Divide

    • Accessibility: Less than 5 minute walk?

    • Affordability: Costing less than a cup of coffee per day?

  • Digital Literacy Divide

    • Language Divide

    • Literacy Divide

  • Content Divide

    • Access to information and knowledge

    • Access to health care

    • Access to education and learning

    • Access to jobs

    • Access to entertainment

    • Access to improved quality of life


How can it help the masses
How can IT Help the Masses?

  • Personal Development

    • Life-long learning, independent of the limitations of language, distance, age and physical disabilities

    • Access to entertainment – watch any movie anytime

    • Telemedicine, access to doctors and treatment at a distance

    • Access to information about hygiene and safe water, helping to reduce infant mortality

  • Economic Development

    • Price discovery

    • Marketing assistance: eChaupal

    • Find jobs e.g. monster.com

  • Social Development

    • Free flow of information and knowledge

    • Increased transparency of Governmental Operations

    • Disaster management and support for cyclones and floods


Accessibility and affordability of it
Accessibility and Affordability of IT

  • Almost Free Access to Internet

    • Basic services free

      • up to 10 email and web exchanges per day

    • Value added services at affordable rates

      • access to movies

  • Clear Value Proposition

    • To an illiterate person in a village, the need for a PC is not obvious

    • A TV and/or a telephone represent a better value proposition

    • 5 in 1 multi-function information appliance: PC, TV, PVR, IP Phone and Video Phone?

  • Accessible

    • No more than a 5 minute walk from home?

  • Affordable

    • No more than the price of a cup of coffee

  • Trustable and Tamper Proof

    • Preserve privacy and anonymity

    • Secure and reliable repository of house deeds and land records


4cs necessary conditions for edevelopment
4Cs - Necessary Conditions for eDevelopment

  • Connectivity: Fiber to the Village

  • Computer Access: Information Appliance

    • for use by illiterate people in rural communities

  • Capacity Building: Digital Literacy for the Masses

  • Content

    • Million Book Digital Library

    • eLearning

    • Tele-Medicine

    • Village Google


Connectivity fiber to the village
ConnectivityFiber to the Village

  • "A Planet Half Impoverished May Not Be Able To Get E-connected"

    • in "The World is Flat“, Tom Friedman

    • Current cost of connectivity of $10 to $40 too high

    • Even 10% of that cost would be unaffordable for those earning a $1 per day

  • Roads are free – we pay for gas; motels and mechanics

    • Information highways should be free and deemed to be an essential infrastructure

    • Expected cost – 1% of building roads to the village

    • Pay per use – bundled into the service

  • Fiber to the Village - AP Aksh Broadband experiment

    • Covering 80 million people - estimated cost $1 per capita!

    • No right-of-way cost

    • Fiber to home cheaper than Wifi wireless in some cases


Computer access information appliance for people without formal education
Computer AccessInformation Appliance for people without formal education

PCtvt - PC, TV, TiVo, Video Phone, IP Phone

  • “Entertainment, communication and education must be made affordable and accessible to the 4 billion people living below the poverty line”

  • PCs for consumption, not creation

    • For most people in a village, entertainment and communication are of greater importance than PC functionality

  • Low cost PC: Target by 2007 of less than $250

  • Total cost of ownership has to be less than 10% of income

    • Per Capita Income in South Asia and Africa is currently less than $500 per annum

  • Shared community access to the PCtvt for the economically deprived


Pc tvt ui design for use by illiterate persons
PCtvt UI Design for Use by Illiterate Persons

  • An Illiterate person needs a more powerful PC than a PhD!

    • If not e-mail, use voice-mail

    • Replace Text Help by Video Help

  • Radically simple design

    • One minute learning time

    • Two click model

    • Three modes of communication: Video, Audio and Text

      • Both Synchronous and Asynchronous

  • All-Iconic interfaces

  • Multiple input modalities

    • TV-remote, Speech I/O, Keyboard, Mouse or Cell phone


Capacity building elearning for the masses
Capacity BuildingeLearning for the Masses

  • Give man a fish and you will feed him for a day. Teach man to fish and you will feed him for life. (Old Chinese Proverb -- Lao Tzu)

  • How to teach an illiterate villager who has never seen a computer to effectively use PCtvt?

    • Self-evident, intuitive interfaces

      • Two clicks to most applications

      • Learning time – less than five minutes to happiness

    • Just in Time learning

      • Immersive Interactive Simulated Environments

      • Short video clips: Instant access to information through vast video digital libraries in local languages

    • Interactive Problem Solving

      • Intensive programs for educating the local expert, the Village Information Officer

      • Teach the Teacher Programs


Content village google access to knowledge for use in a village
Content Village Google:Access to Knowledge for Use in a Village

  • Access to Essential Information and Advice

    • Medical, Agriculture, FAQ indexed and searchable

    • Interactive access to Doctors, Rescue Personnel

  • Agricultural Information

    • Price discovery, crop disease information, weather prediction

  • Access to Markets and Jobs

  • Disaster Relief and Management

  • Access to Newspapers, Radio and TV

  • Lifelong Learning and Education

  • Entertainment and Amusement

  • Communications

    • Video Phone, IP Telephone, Instant Messaging

    • Video Email, Voice Email, Text Email


It can play an important role in edevelopment
IT can play an important role in eDevelopment

  • Poverty and illiteracy are no longer a barrier to using and benefiting from Technology.

  • IT can empower illiterate people by giving more importance to voice and video communication rather than reading & writing

  • Economic development through :

    • Price discovery – Access to current prices

    • Telemedicine – Video access to a Doctor

    • Job exchange

    • Access to Information – Instant access

    • Education and e-learning– Be a part of a virtual classroom

    • e-governance – Pay taxes and bills

  • Simple and easy to use communication within the village and rest of the world


Only if we satisfy the necessary conditions
Only if we satisfy the Necessary Conditions

  • Connectivity

    • Free Gigabit Connectivity

    • Affordable charges for value added services

  • Computer Access

    • At a cost of less than 5% of Per Capita Income

    • At $1 per day, that is 5 cents a day for everything!

    • But given 4 Billion potential users, that is $100 Billion per year

  • Capacity Building

    • Digital Literacy for the Masses

  • Content

    • Village Google: Access to Knowledge and Knowhow

    • Education

    • Entertainment



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