“Police officers are not delicate flowers.”

Wonderful post from silicon.com about the cultural difficulties of rolling out new technology, in this case the deployment of 40,000 plus smart phones, such as Blackberrys, to the British Police. Even dixon-of-dock-green though the benefits are easy for everyone to see, basically more time on the beat and less in station, rolling out the innovation has not been easy.

"This is not really a technology project," Hitch added. "The technology is there and in many ways that’s the easy bit – what this is is a people project. This is about cultural change. This is about getting people to work differently. This is about getting people who have never really used a mobile phone for anything other than answering calls and making calls to actually do their day to day job on a small, tiny in some cases, PDA.

 

"There’s a lot of culture to overcome."

Yet, as a recent survey from  synovate showed, mobile phones are becoming a necessity.

Three quarters of the survey respondents – including 82% of Americans – never leave home without their phones, and 36% of people across the world (42% of Americans) go as far as to say they ‘cannot live without’ their cell phone.

Perhaps more interesting was how the phones were being used. Other than voice and SMS, the most used features were in order

  1. Alarm clock – 67% globally use this regularly / 56% of Americans
  2. Camera – 62% globally / 68% of Americans
  3. Games – 33% globally / 31% of Americans

In terms of services that require 3G.

  • Overall, 17% of respondents use email on their mobile on a regular basis, led by 26% in the US and 25% in the UK.
  • Similarly, an overall 17% use internet browsing, topped by the UK at 31% and the US at 26%.
  • Eleven percent say they social network regularly via mobile, again led by the UK (17%) and the US (15%).

What would Dixon of Dock Green have made of it all?

Unlimited Potential, Base of the Pyramid and Emerging Markets

[a long post]

Economist 20090926issuecov The Economist magazine recently published (Sept. 26, 2009) a “Special Report on Telecoms in Emerging Markets”.

While the headline is a bit misleading, the 14 page report covers much more ground than just ‘mobile money’ The Economist makes a very strong case that the balance of power and innovation has shifted form the developed world to the developing world.  I would very much recommend reading the article from start to finish but in the mean time these are the key points I gleaned from the article.

First and foremost, Why are mobile phones so important and impactful in the developing world? As the Economist states

… being able to make and receive phone calls is so important to people that even the very poor are prepared to pay for it. In places with bad roads, unreliable postal services, few trains and parlous landlines, mobile phones can substitute for travel, allow quicker and easier access to information on prices, enable traders to reach wider markets, boost entrepreneurship and generally make it easier to do business. A study by the World Resources Institute found that as developing-world incomes rise, household spending on mobile phones grows faster than spending on energy, water or indeed anything else.

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