Challenges to the Use and Development of Mobile Applications, Content and Services
Written by Administrator
Tuesday, 28 February 2012 14:33
Print E-mail

Enthusiasm for M4D apps is high but, while they are becoming more prevalent and in some instances effective, obstacles to greater success remain at all levels (users, developers, enabling environments, tech etc).

Gamos was recently part of a research team surveying the M4D landscape. The output from this project was so large that little gems such as these findings run the danger of being buried. The report these come from is based on evidence gathered during in-depth consultations with UNICEF operational staff, representatives of mobile operators in 14 countries and thought leaders in both mobiles for development and the mobile industry.

The challenges observed are:

  • Lack of Innovation and Low Capacity of Content Producers – This was the most cited challenge, developers remain focused on infotainment and non-essential needs. Lack of specific training and an element of brain drain also contribute.
  • Poor Levels of Rural Access
  • High Price of Mobile Handsets and Services – An obvious barrier for those at the bottom of the pyramid. Also, VAT taxes contribute to high prices, as much as 35% in some locations. Pricing to include the vulnerable and ensure return on investment is a difficult balancing act.
  • Poor Enabling Environments – For example in Sri Lanka, ICT and financial regulators had not finalised the regulatory regime for mobile financial services preventing operators there from providing mbanking. Copyright legislation was also highlighted as important for protecting intellectual property and investment.
  • ICT Literacy and Illiteracy – Many users are simply unable to access certain functions on their phones.
  • Lack of Local Content

The global trends in the M4D market suggest that many of these challenges will be overcome in the short to medium term. Two challenges stand out as needing more specific intervention. Firstly ICT illiteracy will require long term investment. This could be helped by simpler handsets and operator initiatives to educate their customers. Secondly, it is hard to see how the lack of innovation in particular markets can be overcome without a sizable shift in the thinking of donors and operators.

Read the full report here

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 March 2012 21:29