Monday, July 06, 2009

FAQ--What will Technology Be Like?

One of the questions that we are frequently asked is what our technology situation will be like. No, we are not living in a hut and be relying on a satellite phone for communications once a month or so (although some of our colleagues may be in similar situations).

We will be living in a large city (Jos) of about one million people. There is power, albeit intermittent, and Internet access, albeit often slow and unreliable. We are anticipating that much of this will be improving over the next year or two.

One of the most remarkable things about Nigeria--and Africa in general--is the widespread use of cell phones as a primary mode of communication. Many (most?) people don't even have a landline. SMS (AKA texting) is very popular. My colleague Erik Hersman (click here to see one of his blogs that I follow) is something of an expert on this topic and recently posted the picture above. Basically, residents of Lagos (a major city in Nigeria but not near where we will be) can text in traffic updates and it will then be combined to allow subscribers to get real-time traffic updates.

I don't really know how it all works, but I thought it was pretty cool and wanted to share it with you. Credit goes to for this photo and sharing the idea. If you click on the photo it will bring you directly to the post about this program.