Meraki is coming. Well almost. Founded by Ph.D. candidates from MIT (Sanjit Biswas and others), Meraki Networks is hoping to provide consumer wireless mesh Internet network designed to "unwire the world" and bring Internet access to the next billion. Meraki recently closed a $5 million funding with Sequoia Capital. Google is also financing them. Read their ExOR paper to get an idea of the underlying technologies behind Meraki products. This paper got the best paper award at SIGCOMM 2005.

Hari Balakrishnan and Robert Morris are on the technical advisory board of Meraki, and what I personally found amusing was this line in Robert Morris's bio in Meraki's team profile:

"In 1988 his discovery of buffer overflow first brought the Internet to the attention of the general public."
For those who don't know that line actually refers to the Morris Worm. Quite an interesting way to refer to the Morris Worm! Meraki wants to enable Internet access for the next billion by solving the "last mile" problem. Their products can make a lot of sense in the urban population of the developing countries where last mile is the main problem.
yunus.jpg         Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Microcredit concept and Grameen Bank, won the Nobel Peace Prize 2006. Yunus has been a supporter for technology research for developing countries and now with the Nobel Peace Prize in his hand he could help bring the attention of world leaders towards ICTD.

Read the CNN news article here.
The power of Open Software Development is coming to the Mobile Phones market. Trolltech announced the first Linux-based mobile development device that will open the doors to "unlimited" software innovation. Although the target market for this effort is not developing countries, but this can have an enormous impact on technologies for developing regions. While the fate of the MIT $100 laptop is yet to be decided, some critics (including myself) believe that "somehow" using mobile phones as the primary computing device in third world regions may be the way to go. The Greenphone effort by Trolltech is an encouraging step towards this direction.

Completel story here.

Development Gateway Award

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award_banner.jpg    The Development Gateway Foundation is calling for nominations from around the globe for the third annual Development Gateway Award. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve the lives of people in developing countries.

More details here.
The call for papers for the "AI in ICT for Development - Workshop" is up. The workshop would be held with Twentieth International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

Important Dates
Abstract: September 1, 2006
Submission: September 25, 2006
Notification: October 23, 2006
Camera-ready: November 15, 2006
Workshop: January 6-8 (exact date TBD), 2007

WiMAX Rollout in Pakistan

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Developing countries, like Pakistan, have slow-Internet speed (mostly dialup connections) and less number of users covered (as a percent of the overall population). Long-distance WiFi technologies, like Digital Gangetic Plains, are proposed as a solution to rural connectivity. Long-distance WiFi has been used in rural healthcare applications like the famous Aravind Eye Hospital. Read this HotNets 2003 paper for an overview of long-distance WiFi.

However, things may change with the arrival of WiMAX. It has the potential to simply override all previous efforts of 802.11 mesh-networking and long-distance WiFi. WiMAX can be an ideal last-mile solution specially in third world countries, where telephony connectivity is less in numbers and of low-quality. Deploying a WiMAX network in developing countries, like Pakistan, seems like a profitable venture. And now we have our first mover! Recently, Motorola has a press release saying "Pakistan to roll out the largest mobile WiMAX network yet".

Read the complete story from ZDNet here.
36sunSPOTkit550x506.jpg     2006 brings new technology jumps in hardware for sensor network nodes. Sun released their SUN SPOT system (image on the left). It uses a 32-bit processor and IEEE 802.15.4 compliant radio. See their June 2005 white paper for details.

Intel Mote 2 is also a 32-bit sensor platform using the PXA271 INTEL XScale Processor and 802.15.4 radio.
wireless_book_cover.jpg     "Wireless Networking in the Developing World", a free book released under a Creative Commons license. They also have a Wiki for case studies, useful-sites, and translations.

The Four Digital Divides

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Some interesting bed-time readings (mainly by Kenneth Keniston):


Dritte Mailing List

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