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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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Make Your Own Luck: Using Social Media to Embrace Photography

By Russ Morris, Guest Columnist

In the past 8 years I’ve been lucky enough to have my work exposed to a greater audience by being socially active on the internet.

But, was it just luck?

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The Huge Impact of Technology on Education

Have you noticed what’s happening in your child’s school? Technology. There’s rarely a lesson taught, be it math or science or health, that doesn’t include some form of technology.

Education has changed to enhance its message, increase its reach, and improve its communication. If you haven’t been in the classroom lately, drop by this week when you pick up your wonderful student.

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The Zettabyte Era is Upon Us

As many of the regular readers know, this time of year is one of my favorite.  Sure, kids are out of school, the weather is nice, and that summer vacation is within reach… but the real kicker?  The release of the annual Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast – this time for the period between 2011 and 2016.

We’ve been doing this report for 6 years now, and it has provided a lens into many of the changes we’ve seen in the industry, and there are many:

  • Changes the units of measurement just to quantify the amount of traffic – moving from petabytes to exabytes to now – for the first time ever – zettabytes
  • Changes in the types of devices that are driving traffic – from primarily PCs to now smartphones, tablets, TVs and the Internet of Things
  • Changes in the services and applications we’re using those devices for – from primarily data-centric to ones that are far more experience-centric.

Throughout all of those changes, however, we have had a constant – and that is the seemingly endless appetite we have for bandwidth and the incredible opportunities the network provides for societies, businesses, service providers, and consumers like you and me.

This year, the Cisco VNI forecasts that traffic from 2011-2016 will grow four-fold to reach 1.3 Zettabytes by 2016.  A zettabyte is a trillion gigabytes (10 to the 21st power in bytes = a lot).  To put that in perspective, all the IP traffic that has hit the global networks in the Internet years to date (1984-2012) has generated 1.2 Read More »

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Can Broadband Reshape Rural Development?

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

If you are a student of history and commerce, you recognize a clear pattern to the development of cities. In the beginning, most of them were founded on rivers — think Paris and the Seine, London and the Thames, New York and the Hudson.

Then railroads took over from rivers as a catalyst for development. In the United States, Chicago and Denver owe their existence to the proximity of tracks, rather than proximity to water. Thus began the transition from natural to industrial.

Today we are in the middle of the transition from the industrial to the digital, based on the rapid deployment of broadband technology. What will be the first major city based on digital technology? Is it Silicon Valley, in California? Is it Bombay? Is it Shanghai?

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