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A Closer Look at Rural Computing Kentaro Toyama Microsoft Research India 6 th Feburary, ICCC 2005 Keynote at IIT-Kanpur.

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Presentation on theme: "A Closer Look at Rural Computing Kentaro Toyama Microsoft Research India 6 th Feburary, ICCC 2005 Keynote at IIT-Kanpur."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Closer Look at Rural Computing Kentaro Toyama Microsoft Research India 6 th Feburary, ICCC 2005 Keynote at IIT-Kanpur

2

3 an n-Logue kiosk in Maharashtra

4 photos of Drishtee, n-Logue, ITC e-Choupal kiosks

5 Government-sponsored lunches at a school in Tamil Nadu A tractor and cart in Madhya Pradesh A well-water hand-pump in Madhya Pradesh A field trip in Karnataka

6 A saved okra crop saves a farmer US$3000 (Slide: Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala)

7 Villages Monthly Revenue (INR) Rs a month! data from Vivek Dhawan’s Masters thesis (IIT-B)

8 The fastest growing kiosk project (ITC’s e-choupal) would take… 600,000 villages 6 villages/day x 365 days/year  274 yrs

9 e-choupal kiosk in Kodia, Madhya Pradesh

10 VSAT for kiosk in Kodia, Madhya Pradeshn-Logue corDECT wireless tower

11 Kannada Prabha website

12 Total: ~$200 Disk: $40Power supply: $15 Memory: $10 for 100MB Processor: $30 Other silicon: $30 CRT display: $60 Keyboard/mouse: $15 courtesy of Chuck Thacker, Microsoft distinguished engineer Absolute minimum cost of a PC…

13 Total: Rs Disk: Rs. 2500Power supply: Rs. 800 Memory: Rs for 128MB Processor: Rs Other silicon: Rs CRT display: Rs Keyboard/mouse: Rs. 300 According to PC Quest, May 2004 Absolute minimum cost of a PC…

14 data from Vivek Dhawan’s Masters thesis (IIT-B) Needed to break even: $70-140/mo. Monthly Revenue (INR) Villages

15 Sustainability as a business is the wrong focus for rural PC kiosk projects!

16 This does not mean… A rural PC kiosk can’t be viable as a business. A rural PC kiosk can’t be viable as a business. ICTs have no value in rural areas. ICTs have no value in rural areas. Investing in rural ICTs is a bad idea. Investing in rural ICTs is a bad idea. Sustainability wasn’t a worthwhile goal until now. Sustainability wasn’t a worthwhile goal until now. Sustainability still isn’t a worthwhile goal for a kiosk operator or agency. Sustainability still isn’t a worthwhile goal for a kiosk operator or agency.

17 This does mean… There is no single “killer app” for rural kiosks. There is no single “killer app” for rural kiosks. There is no single silver bullet to scale sustainable rural kiosks. There is no single silver bullet to scale sustainable rural kiosks. Scalable, sustainable, rural PC kiosks is a tempting mirage. Scalable, sustainable, rural PC kiosks is a tempting mirage. Sustainability, even when achieved, often does not make a dent in socio-economic conditions. Sustainability, even when achieved, often does not make a dent in socio-economic conditions. If we do invest in rural PC kiosk projects, the investment should go into something that lasts and will drive development! If we do invest in rural PC kiosk projects, the investment should go into something that lasts and will drive development!

18 Villages that can sustain a connected PC Income Literacy & education Knowledge- based needs Infrastructure Economies of scale Villages that cannot sustain a connected PC

19 Villages that can sustain a connected PC Income Literacy & education Knowledge- based needs Infrastructure Economies of scale Villages that cannot sustain a connected PC Focus on Sustainability

20 Villages that can sustain a connected PC Villages that cannot sustain a connected PC Income Literacy & education Knowledge- based needs Infrastructure Economies of scale Focus on Development

21 an Akshaya kiosk in Kerala

22 a student taking typing lessons in a Maharashtra kiosk

23 a kiosk operator running a Drishtee kiosk in Haryana

24 a kiosk operator running an n-Logue kiosk near Tiruvallur

25 data from Vivek Dhawan’s Masters thesis (IIT-B) Monthly Revenue (INR) Villages

26 Other Possible Focuses for Rural IT Improve on computer use in schools Improve on computer use in schools Digitize panchayat administrations Digitize panchayat administrations Support NGOs in their work Support NGOs in their work Implement the back-end for e- government, once and for all Implement the back-end for e- government, once and for all Assist with disaster management Assist with disaster management

27 The connected PC is overkill for remote rural villages today.

28 This does not mean… There aren’t PCs in rural areas. There aren’t PCs in rural areas. PCs should never be put in rural areas. PCs should never be put in rural areas. Rural villagers don’t want PCs. Rural villagers don’t want PCs. PCs don’t solve actual problems in villages. PCs don’t solve actual problems in villages. Rural villages won’t be able to afford PCs one day. Rural villages won’t be able to afford PCs one day.

29 This does mean… Scaling rural PC kiosks to 600,000 villages is a dubious goal. Scaling rural PC kiosks to 600,000 villages is a dubious goal. The total cost of a connected PC in a rural village may be too high for the value it delivers… The total cost of a connected PC in a rural village may be too high for the value it delivers… –Especially beyond what phones can deliver We should continue to look for other solutions… We should continue to look for other solutions… –E.g., Featherweight Computing

30 LeapFrog LeapPad for healthcare education in Afghanistan

31 Summary “Sustainability of rural PC kiosks” is distracting us from main goal of development “Sustainability of rural PC kiosks” is distracting us from main goal of development –Put effort into enduring contributions to development, e.g., education  Technology’s place is to support these efforts Look for non-PC-based solutions in addition to PC-based solutions Look for non-PC-based solutions in addition to PC-based solutions

32 Education  Information One more caveat…

33 Education  Information+ Human Attention

34 Thank you!


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