Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Volunteers for SMS Aid Project in Cambodia

In "Mobile phones and agricultural development in Cambodia", Dr Robert Fitzgerald reports from Cambodia that ICT volunteers are needed to help with a project to provide SMS to provide information for farmers in Cambodia. Initially the Electronic Marketing Communication System (EMCS) used propriety software, but now uses the open source FrontlineSMS. Servers provide market price information to small scale farmers so they can can decide when to send their crops to which market. Of villages surveyed 40% had a mobile phone. But most do not use SMS. The issue then is one of training, rather than providing more technology.

One suggestion I made to Dr Fitzgerald was to use smart phones, so that more sophisticated applications can be used. These would be much easier to use that SMS, thus reducing the need for training. It may seem bizarre to suggest that farmers in developing countries would be using the same Blackberry type devices beloved of the US President and corporate executives, but the price of such units is dropping rapidly. The easiest way to use these devices is with a web interface, to a web based application. However, even if SMS is still used as the communications medium, a web based interface can be added to make it easier to use.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link or bookmark with Digg, del.icio.us, Newsvine or News Feed

<< Home