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Developing Commerce in Africa: Phone Company in a Box

I never thought of paint as being an important part of the engine of commerce.

That is, until I met Ueli Frei, who heads FUNDES International, an NGO that fosters economic growth among micro-businesses in Latin America. His team helped a group of independent “mom and pop” drug stores band together and operate, in many ways, as a single retailer.

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Online Streaming: Beyond The Radio Dial

By Kayvon Siadat, Guest Columnist

The addition of online streaming content has helped KSCU 103.3, Santa Clara University’s non-profit, volunteer run radio station, tremendously.  Before the radio station had this technology our listenership was limited to however far our radio signal would go, which is, give or take 30 miles in any direction.

Now with advances in technology we are able to deliver our content to anyone in the world at any time.  Currently, a big portion of our listeners use our online audio stream (computer, smart phone, etc.) and because of that we are able to bring local content to a much bigger scale now.

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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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