21 April 2010

M-agriculture session at IAALD Congress

Next week in Montpellier, CTA's Kevin Painting will organise a session entitled: 'm-agriculture: how mobile devices transform information and communication.'
  • How do you use mobile phones in your work with agricultural communities?
  • What are the most significant new developments in services and technologies in this, the fastest changing sector of ICTs?
  • How are we engaging with the continually increasing numbers of people in agricultural economies who, for the first time, are connected and reachable?
  • How can we exploit the opportunities and meet the challenges presented by the convergence of technology, media and information services?
Billions of people use mobile phones to communicate and the number of unconnected people is plummeting. This connectivity, the mobile phone economy and the convergence of different media and technologies onto mobile digital devices have transformed the ICT landscape and are transforming the entertainment and information service economies.

m-agriculture refers to refers to agricultural services, technology dissemination, and communication using mobile devices such as mobile phones, laptops, netbooks, PDAs and other wireless enabled devices. Many, including the International Development sector, were surprised by the rapid emergence of connected populations across the globe using mobile devices. Although there are many innovative applications and services being tested and implemented, it is clear that we are only beginning to recognise the tremendous opportunities being presented and the need to reap the benefits of the technology for all.

This is an area which has excited much interest and featured in sessions at previous IAALD events, such as the IAALD/AFITA/WCCA Congress in Tokyo, Japan (2008) and the Second IAALD Africa Chapter Conference in Accra, Ghana (2009). More recently, CTA held its 2009 Observatory on ICTs on mobile services where participants explored issues relating to the development of sustainable mobile-services, how best to engage the commercial sector and how to embed good practice in slow moving government and other agencies. The research paper and report are contained in the Observatory wiki http://observatory2009.cta.int/.

This participatory workshop aims to connect people working in this area with those who wish to learn more and those who wish to increase their use of mobile services. We shall be looking at three areas:

1. What are the features of mobile phones, and their attendant economy, that might have the most transformative impact on agricultural information services?

2. What do we need to change in how we segment, format and deliver information to best exploit the potential of mobile devices?

3. How is the relationship between paid-for and public good changed by this most commercially driven of innovations?

More postings on mobile devices in agriculture

IAALD 2010 Congress

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