Many researchers in networking technology spend their time trying to dream up future uses of the Internet and yet, many the ideas already out there are just so amazing that the make anything we think of seem tame. So for another semi-regular project, I'd like to institute a series titled "Developing Technologies" in which I will look at the rich ways that technology is being harnessed in developing countries.*
Take for example, this story from the BBC (or this one from Australia's the Age). In rural areas of developing countries such as India, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Rwanda, and Cambodia, Internet access is hard to come by. In response, United Villages Corporation has created a store-and-forward system based on kiosks, Wi-Fi units, and buses. Kiosks in villages allow workers to regularly check their e-mail, request information, or place on-line orders for a small fee. Busses that regularly come through the villages are outfitted with Wi-Fi units . When the bus stops, the kiosk and Wi-Fi unit connect. Outbound information is uploaded and inbound information is downloaded to the kiosks. Over 100,000 people now access the Internet in this time delayed fashion. It may not be the experience we are used to, but it allows villagers to have access to a world they otherwise would not be linked to.
*Yes, I know, I need to get back to some of the other semi-regular features I've initiated this year. I will, I will. Soon.