WSJ has a very informative article about how rural india is changing with mobile phones. It is difficult for us living in California to imagine the following:
In the village of Karanehalli, a cluster of simple homes around an intersection of two dirt roads about 40 miles from India’s high-tech capital of Bangalore, Farmer K.T. Srinivasa doesn’t have a toilet for his home or a tractor for his field. But when a red and white cellular tower sprouted in his village, he splurged on a cellphone.
While the way his family threshes rice — crushing it with a massive stone roller — hasn’t changed for generations, his phone has changed the way he farms. He uses it to decide when to plant and harvest by calling other farmers, to get the best prices for his rice, coconuts and jasmine by calling wholesalers, and to save hours of time waiting on the road for deliveries and pickups that rarely come on time.
“Life is much better with the cellphone,” he said from his rice paddy in the shadow of the new tower. “I bring it with me to the fields and anyone can reach me here.”
I see this as a great opportunity for somebody to do something really good for the ‘bottom of the pyramid” by developing technology for these people. Most of the next generation, if not the current generation, phones will have cameras and with both eyes and ears associated with phones, I am sure many wonderful things could be done. All it will require is imagination and some creative effort. And this will help society, while also building good business.