Who?s afraid of the digital divide? – IV, by Val Souza
Saturday, April 30, 2005
Some multinational technology firms are keen to extend their reach to the bottom-tier four billion. Companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Intel and others, faced with increasing levels of saturation in their existing markets, are eyeing the developing world and working at perfecting low-cost devices and unconventional business models to get a foothold in these potential goldmines. Of course, their main markets still remain the developed west and they need to maintain price points in these markets by enhancing value and adding features to their existing products to sustain growth. For instance, there have been only feeble attempts by mainstream companies to bring down the price of the personal computer to radically low levels by providing just the essential functionality. And the considerable cost of proprietary software constitutes a large chunk of the price of the final product, putting it beyond the reach of all but a tiny percentage of people in developing countries.
All other obstacles, notwithstanding, on-the-ground implementation of technology in rural settings of developing countries is a huge challenge in itself. Organisations working in these areas had to face seemingly insurmountable hurdles such as erratic and intermittent power supply, poor connectivity and stifling government regulation. To add to all this, are the cultural disparities and natural resistance to change by rural communities.
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Source: Express Computer