What Are the Industry’s Top ICT Hardware Challenges?
August 20, 2014 Editor 0
You are in a minority. Yes, you.
I single you out because, as you read this article online (perhaps on a phone or a tablet or even a MacBook Pro), you are part of the 40% of the world’s total population that has access to the Internet.
Unfortunately most Internet communication technologies are made for people who are already plugged in with their Android, Mac, and Tablet. This hardware is designed for communities with advanced electrical and connectivity infrastructures and aimed at end-users who are well versed on Internet communication technology. But when the same hardware is implemented in developing world locations where such infrastructure is limited, it often fails.
So what accounts for this recurring failure?
In the following white paper, “Emerging Markets: Top ICT Hardware Challenges”, Dr. Laura Hosman presents the top five ICT hardware challenges in emerging markets. These rankings are based on a series of technology salons, in-depth interviews, and macro-level online surveys of experts, practitioners, academics, and end-users of ICT4D. The paper exposes the challenges and needs of developing communities for their ICT hardware. By addressing these needs with new designs, ICT designers and manufacturers will be better able to reach the 60% of the world’s population who remain unconnected.
A short overview of the top five challenges from the paper:
- Electricity/Power/Energy: Extremely low power and long battery life; robust handling of electrical spikes, swings, dips, blackouts, and brownouts; and—ideally—at 12-volts DC to be solar-power ready
- Cost: Balance must be found between the lowest cost and solid, reliable, functional technology
- Environment-Related Issues: Reliability/ruggedness/durability are all of paramount importance (resistance to water, humidity, dust, dirt, and extreme heat); no moving parts recommended; screens are hard to repair and difficult to read in direct sunlight
- Connectivity: Essential to the usefulness of just about any device in any location; is what creates value for entire ICT4D ecosystem: the more connected, the more valuable the network. Main method advocated was WiFi
- Maintenance & Support: The best technology needs no support. Transportation for repair, maintenance, and support is expensive. Sourcing spare parts is a challenge. Technology that cannot be locally maintained, supported, and repaired is not sustainable.
The focus on those who are already connected ignores scores of people who are just beginning to go online. By optimizing hardware for developing world locations, ICT designers can expand their reach to new markets while at the same time increase quality of life for millions of people around the world.
The paper was published by Inveneo, written by Dr. Laura Hosman, and directed by Inveneo director Bruce Baikie. The following infographic was created by Eric Zan. Check out his website at http://www.ericzan.info
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- Nairobi Technology Salon: What are the Technology Challenges in International Development?
- 12 Considerations in Designing ICTs to Better Support Children
- No Electricity Means No Internet: It’s Time to Bridge the Gap!
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