Stories by Ken Banks

Mobiles help put a stop to drug stock-outs

What I find particularly interesting about the mobile-for-development field is how a disproportionate amount of innovation occurs in the very places where resources and funding are often in shortest supply. Just as mobile payments started off as an i...

Weather stations will use mobile infrastructure

For most of us, not knowing what the weather is going to do might at worst result in a soggy barbecue or a washed-out cricket or football match. For a farmer in the developing world it could result in the loss of an entire harvest which, at best, mak...

Searching where Google can't

We read a lot about the delivery, and popularity, of SMS services such as market prices, health advice and job alerts in developing countries, information there is clearly a need for. Only last week Grameen's AppLab initiative, in conjunction with Go...

Considering the future of mobile phones

Few companies innovate with the intensity and frequency of those working in mobile, and today's present is a future that only a handful of people would have predicted just a few short years ago. While most of us happily soak up rampant innovation as ...

Mobiles, SMS play a role in Afghanistan security

The October 7, 2001, invasion of Afghanistan did more than mark the beginning of the "War on Terror." It also paved way for the introduction of the first mobile phone networks into the country, networks that today find themselves pawns in the fight b...

Delivering aid in a digital world

With mobile banking taking off around much of the developing world, how long will it be before international aid is delivered electronically? Sound crazy? If you think so, you might be surprised to hear that it's already started happening.

Mobile phones and the digital divide

Whether you're building an application for the 3G iPhone in the United States or trying to figure out how to deliver health information via SMS (Short Message Service) to a rural community in Botswana, the mobile space is diverse and exciting in equa...

Anthropology's technology-driven renaissance

Anthropology is an age-old, at times complex discipline, and like many others, it suffers from its fair share of in-fighting and disagreement. It's also a discipline shrouded in mystery. Few people seem to know what anthropology really is or what ant...

The mobile revolution's hidden cost

Late last year, the mobile phone industry passed a remarkable milestone, one that not so many years ago it didn't even expect to reach. Media sites and blogs around the world buzzed as the news was announced with equal measures of excitement, amazeme...

Appropriate technology and the humble mobile phone

It's not often you read a book and find that, 10 years on, it remains central to your thinking. Ideas come and go, paradigms shift and many books -- particularly in the rapidly evolving "ICT for Development" space -- become dated and surpassed by new...

Dell, OLPC affordable laptop bout only hurts users

Anyone with the remotest interest in ICT development will have noticed the battle raging at the "bottom of the pyramid," where competing initiatives have been vying for the hearts, minds and dollars of schoolchildren and education ministries the deve...

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