Mobile technology’s low cost and ease of use make it ideal for improving the delivery of healthcare, education, and other social services in emerging markets, opening up opportunities for mobile operators and vendors, according to the latest report from Pyramid Research, the telecom research arm of the Light Reading Communications Network.
“Mobile technology is ideal for raising awareness for a variety of social programs in emerging markets, most notably health and education, whereas PCs and other alternatives in comparison appear limited, costly, and complicated,” said Jan ten Sythoff, research manager and author of the report.
The research looks at the role of mobile network operators and vendors in social programs, in particular healthcare, referencing many examples throughout, mostly from Africa and India. Going into more detail, case studies examine four of the most prominent and successful programs – in Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, and India, all focusing on the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Africa and India are particularly prominent in the use of mobile technology for such causes, and there are encouraging results that suggest that these programs are having a substantial impact. “One example is Project Masiluleke in South Africa, which is raising awareness of HIV/AIDS and reminds sufferers of treatment sessions via SMS alerts. This program is to be introduced in other countries, and will also be replicated for other diseases, such as tuberculosis,” Sythoff added.
The supporting roles of mobile operators and vendors enabling various applications are also creating new opportunities. “We’ve identified a variety of social programs that leverage mobile technologies, including a number in Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, and India,” Sythoff commented.
“Mobile operators and vendors can participate in these programs and promote new applications to enter the healthcare and education markets. Also, with the population perceiving the impact of mobile technologies across more aspects of their daily lives, there is greater incentive for governments to promote the development of the overall telecom industry.”