Mobile phone as the lever that lifts the world, revisted

How a smart startup is employing mobile phones to advance research, education and commerce in untapped markets.

In preparing a report for Bluetooth Magazine a couple of years back, I had the opportunity to speak with Fred Musisi, consultant and former regional coordinator for the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), about a revolutionary new approach to quickly dealing with the spread of livestock diseases which decimate food supplies across Africa. Previously, it may have taken days and weeks for word of outbreaks to reach public health officials. But with mobile phone technology -- to which many people now have access -- those alert times were cut to hours.

Cell phones are opening up the world's largest markets to information sharing and commerce, In previous posts, we cited the business model of Txteagle, which employees mobile technology to reach out to a vast global market within developed and underdeveloped markets -- via ubiquitous cell phone technology. Jennifer Van Grove at Mashable provides an additional glimpse into how this project is working out for the startup with an innovative idea:

"Txteagle seeks to change that and boasts a database of more than 2.1 billion prepaid mobile subscribers across 220 operators in 80 countries. It can use the mobile phone to serve as conduit between advertiser and consumer. The startup uses airtime compensation to sugarcoat its survey and campaign solicitation attempts. Txteagle founder Nathan Eagle says this is because airtime is equivalent to — if not greater than — cash in these countries. Ten percent of an individual’s annual income in emerging markets is spent on purchasing prepaid airtime, Eagle says."

Mobile phones are everywhere -- there are almost as many cell phones as there are people on the planet -- and offer enormous opportunities for organizations seeking new avenues for on-the-ground research, education, or engaging new markets.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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