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Rural Businesses Join the Global Economy. One Basket at a Time

By Shirley Bloomfield, Guest Columnist

I wish I could say this is my story, but it’s not. It’s the story of some hard working women looking for a way to be connected in the global economy. And it’s the story of my daughter, Kelsey Patterson, who is dedicating her talent and skills to help these women. My heart glows with pride when I share the work that she is doing in Mozambique.

Kelsey, a global development and international affairs major, is in her third year at the University of Virginia. She received a grant this year to develop a marketing plan to assist women crafters in Mozambique who are selling their homemade crafts by the roadside.

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How Worldwide Growth of Telecom Services Creates Opportunities

It’s been over three months since we started our guest columnist series around the VNI Service Adoption research.  This research forecasts the end user adoption rate for 20+ telecommunication services such as SMS, mobile banking, online gaming, location-based services, and various types of video conferencing.

Our goal is to explore how the use of technology, and specifically telecom services, impact people’s lives and communities worldwide. Technology is an enabler, the cool gadgets and networks and shiny objects are not necessarily meaningful on their own. It takes intelligence and creativity of many people to bring it to fruition and provide a context which empowers individuals to dream of achieving bigger outcomes.

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Is Keyboarding in the Classroom Archaic?

I was on one of my tech teacher forums – where I keep up-to-date on changes in education and technology – and stumbled into a heated discussion about what grade level is best to begin the focus on typing (is fifth grade too old – or too young?).

Several teachers shared that keyboarding was the cornerstone of their elementary-age technology program. Others confessed their Admin wanted it eliminated as unnecessary. Still others dismissed the discussion as moot: Tools like Dragon Speak (the standard in speech recognition software) and iPhone’s wildly-popular Siri mean keyboarding will soon be as useful as cursive and floppy discs.

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5 Predictions for the Future of Wi-Fi and Mobile

Wi-Fi has truly come of age as a viable means to connect mobile devices to the Internet. The past four blogs in this series have highlighted some of the key findings of a recent survey of U.S. mobile users by Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG). Our survey uncovered some startling revelations about what consumers are doing on their mobile devices, how and where they are using them, and how they are connecting them to the Internet.

The majority of devices are now Wi-Fi-enabled, and the fastest-growing category is “nomadic” devices such as tablets and eReaders. We now need to speak of the “mobile home,” as the home is by far the most popular location for consumers to use their mobile devices. Surprisingly, Wi-Fi is the network connection of choice for most consumers for all of their devices, but they would like to see Wi-Fi more seamlessly integrated with mobile networks. When they are not at home, mobile users are increasingly expecting public hotspots to provide Wi-Fi connectivity to these devices. While service providers are beginning to realize that they need to deploy Wi-Fi networks, our research clearly shows that there are viable monetization opportunities in mobile data off-load, customer retention, and new and innovative business models.

While it is never easy to foresee the future, here are five predictions for key changes in the mobile industry over the next two years as an outcome of the Cisco IBSG research: Read More »

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There’s Money in Wi-Fi

The insatiable demand for smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices is generating staggering amounts of mobile data. As my previous blogs discussed, the use of Wi-Fi for Internet access is exploding as more mobile devices are Wi-Fi-enabled, the number of public hotspots expands, and user acceptance grows. Service providers (SPs) now realize Wi-Fi must be an important part of their strategy to manage growing data loads on their networks and meet increased customer expectations. While operators are learning to accept the role of Wi-Fi, they still struggle with ways to turn a “cost of doing business” into profitable business models. The Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) has consulted with leading SPs from around the world about new, innovative Wi-Fi business models that can provide a reasonable return on investment (ROI), as outlined in our paper, “Profiting From the Rise of Wi-Fi.”

To learn more about what consumers are doing with their mobile devices, and to test their response to the new Wi-Fi business models, Cisco IBSG recently conducted a survey of U.S. mobile users. Following are our top three findings related to monetization of Wi-Fi: Read More »

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