NEW DELHI, India – Many of us have been lucky enough to witness the Internet dramatically and sophisticatedly evolve in recent years in terms of mobility and its subtle integration into devices and services. Nonetheless, there remains a very real chasm between people in emerging markets, especially those in remote rural areas, and the unlimited tap of information available via an Internet connection.
This is something Nokia has been aware of for some time and this week it’s posed a solution to bridging that gap, brought to life via a service called Nokia Life Tools. Cutting through many of the technological obstacles littering the path of progress, and personal affordability issues faced by people such as farmers and people living in remote villages in emerging markets, Nokia Life Tools promises to use simple SMS tech and simple interface tools to present invaluable and timely information to people who need it.
Read on to find out more about what the plan is and when it’ll kick off…
Initially tailored towards the needs of farmers and students in remote areas, the Nokia Life Tools service will begin testing in India as a pilot scheme during the first half of 2009, debuting on the Nokia 2323 classic and the Nokia 2330 classic. It’ll later roll out across selected countries in Asia and Africa. The interface promises to be extremely graphical so anyone can quickly and easily navigate the content that’s being fed to their device via SMS. In terms of the sorts of practical information that will be available, Nokia’s announcement highlights a typical scenario that I think sounds hugely progressive and innovative from both a services perspective and life-enhancing view.
“Accurate and regular information on weather, prices and availability of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and prevailing market prices for the produce are sent to the farmer. The information is customized to the farmer’s location and selection of crops, and will be delivered directly to his Nokia mobile phone. By getting the latest information directly on their mobile phones, farmers can overcome uncertainty and get just the right information that they need to grow and sell their crops.”
This particular information is being fed by Reuters Market Light, and can be delivered in two languages simultaneously (native and English), but the possibilities for where this reliable info could come from are uncapped.
Shiv Shivakumar, Vice President of Nokia India spoke this week about why he sees Nokia Life Tools as being such a significant mould-breaking development.
“Agriculture employs more than 60 percent of all workforce in India. This sector of the economy needs fresh inputs via technology… Education and English language, on the other hand, are springboards for a number of small town and rural youth to move into the employment market. Nokia, through services in Agriculture and Education, will fulfil these opportunities for the Indian population.”
On the educational side, here’s what Nokia has announced it’s planning to offer:
The Education service of Nokia Life Tools aims to give students a decisive advantage by boosting their English language and local, national and international general knowledge. Language lessons, quizzes on English words and phrases, and the general knowledge information were designed – together with EnableM for the pilot – to give students an edge. In future, the Education service will also come with information on higher education and career guidance and tips, exam preparation, quizzes and access to exam results.
I personally think this is a hugely important and innovative direction for Nokia services to be taking – one that proves that cutting edge services needn’t use cutting edge technology to bring to life. What are your thoughts?