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London 2012: the Olympic Network (part one)

Anticipation of the upcoming summer Olympic Games has already lifted my spirits. This week I received an invitation from Andrew Millar, the British Consul General in Houston, Texas – it’s an opportunity to attend a viewing party for the opening ceremony later this month. I’m really looking forward to that event.

You may recall that in my last story, the ICT Infrastructure Investment, I shared some of the interesting high-level details about economic outcomes and seven of the the key principles that were used to develop the overall ICT solution.

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Mobile Internet Applications in Rural Africa

By Molly Mattessich, Guest Columnist

In some ways, rural countries, including those in Africa, are ahead of the United States on technology. Without the infrastructure — offices, network lines, etc. — to use the Internet in more traditional ways, they have relied on cell phones to exchange information.

According to Cisco’s recent VNI Service Adoption Forecast (VNI-SA) research, mobile commerce ranks as the second-fastest-growing consumer mobile service, increasing at a 42.7 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) globally from 2011 to 2016. The Middle East and Africa will have the second-highest number of users in 2016, reaching 424 million.

Rural farmers in Africa, for example, now often use their cell phones to check commodity prices before heading to market, helping them improve their bottom line at times when a few cents can make a huge difference. Read More »

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Attending High School, Virtually, Online

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

A while back, I asked what the future of higher education might look like with the advent of distance learning. Even in just the last couple years, online education in higher-ed has grown enormously. A recent study by the Sloan Consortium reported that more than 6 million U.S. students (nearly a third of all students in college) took at least one online course in 2006, an increase of more than half a million students over the previous year.

It’s not surprising that forward-looking institutions of higher learning have been quick to embrace the potential of online coursework. What I never anticipated (although certainly others did) was how quickly online education would take hold in primary and secondary (K through 12) schools as well.

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Beyond Broadband, Beyond Borders

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

If you look at a digest of broadband news — as I frequently do in search of story ideas — it’s clear that broadband adoption is taking off. Google search a country name and “broadband,” and you’re more than likely to get an article proclaiming that its government, grasping the economic value of high-speed connectivity, is funding, or considering funding deployment to serve both its urban and rural citizens.

With more countries making that commitment, the world is truly creating what Cisco calls the borderless network.

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Living the Connected Life – in Tasmania, Australia

By Lionel Walters, Guest Columnist

I grew up in suburban Sydney and enjoyed many of the benefits and conveniences of life in a large and established community. I was close to family and friends, had easy access to basic services such as education and health care, and had an almost unlimited selection of entertainment and retail options. In those blissful days of my youth, I had everything I needed within a distance of a few short kilometers.

My situation changed somewhat when I started my career. For the first time I found myself joining thousands of others in a daily commute to inner Sydney. I’m sure I was not alone in feeling that the two hours of travel each day could be better spent in other pursuits, but like so many before me, I took it in stride because I believed it was the price to pay if I wanted to realize the Australian Dream.

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