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Broadband Austerity: The Wrong Path at the Wrong Time

Howard Baldwin - Photograph

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Is broadband deployment progressing or regressing? Does it seem like broadband policy may be taking two steps forward and one step back? Most of the time we’re inundated in encouraging news, both forecasts about its economic potential and grounded-in-reality reports about new deployments, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.

Research firm Gartner has devised an unintentionally humorous curve that it applies to technology like broadband: its hype cycle. It has five data points, starting out like a waveform and then flattening out.

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Urban Renewal: A Tale of Two American Cities

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

For those who love irony, the story of Detroit is its epitome. Here’s a city that created an industry devoted to automobiles, which, because of their widespread acceptance, become the single greatest contributing factor to people leaving cities … like Detroit.

Granted, Detroit has had to deal with other contributing factors, but the fact remains that its population is a shadow of what it once was; over the past 60 years, its population has shrunk from 1.8 million to just over 700,000.

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Exploring the Start-up Tech Hubs in Africa

Chrissy Martin, MEDABy Chrissy Martin, Guest Columnist

Silicon Savannah. Maybe you’ve heard this term (maybe you’ve even read why it’s a misnomer.)  It has been coined to describe Nairobi, Kenya, the unofficial capital of the rapid rise of technology innovation in Africa.

Kenya is home to M-Pesa, the mobile money transfer service that is used by over 60% of the Kenyan population.  It is also home to the iHub, an innovation and start-up incubator which appears to be increasingly like Silicon Valley in its ability to spin off successful, profitable technology companies.

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Exploring the Mobile Banking Revolution in Tanzania

Jason KohnBy Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

In most developed economies, people can be forgiven for taking banks for granted. After all, an ATM machine is rarely more than a couple blocks away with easy access to funds. People can easily connect with their banks online to pay bills without ever handling cash, and loans and lines of credit are readily available.

In much of the developing world, however, this infrastructure simply doesn’t exist. Thabiso Mochiko recently laid out the latest statistics on the issue at Business Day:

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What is a City, and How Does it Get Smarter?

The journey to smarter cities and communities has gained momentum in recent years, as a recent BBC article highlights. I’d like to offer a few points from my experiences over the last five years exploring this territory:

  • First, the critical issue is how to move beyond visions and prototypes, to scaling and adoption.
  • Second, the whole notion of smart cities should also be reappraised.
  • And third, the Internet of Everything Economy will fuel a transformation across communities, industries, and social interactions.

We are looking at a dynamic concept to which bounded definitions — whether physical, digital, organizational, or technological — seem increasingly inadequate.

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