Obsessed with our Facebook and celebrity Twitter feeds, we sometimes lose sight that smartphones have the power to change lives. As prices plummet and networks spread, 3 billion more people will connect to the internet by phone in the next 10 years, most from developing countries and living close to, or at, the poverty level.
What are the implications? According to Rangu:
THE BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY FOR CHANGE WE’VE EVER SEEN
Smartphone will empower those at the bottom of the pyramid, especially women.
MOBILE = FREEDOM
- Financial Independance: Women can start businesses, access microfinance loans and generate their own health
- Healthcare: From pregnancy to infant issues, a smartphone in hand brings tremendous power to women when it comes to making decisions
- Education: Think “microeducation”: Customized online education for every child, everywhere
HUGE OPPORTUNITIES FOR BUSINESSES
Previously unconnected regions are about to become huge breeding grounds for entrepreneurial business ideas. The business community at C2 was challenged by Rangu to sport opportunities and develop new products. Here are a few ideas that stood out:
- An app that allows a patient in a remote village in India to connect, for free, via video, with a NGO doctor. The doctor could make a diagnosis and provide tips for a quick cure.
- A bartering app for unused materials to be upcycled. For example, the inhabitant of one village has plastic buckets which he no longer needs, and would like to exchange them for scraps of metal, which someone has from a neighboring village.
- Solar-powered 3D stations could manufacture objects that were previously too expensive or difficult to access in remote villages. You could therefore get that missing tractor part, or even a prosthetic leg, at a price barely higher that of the printing material.
Click here for more insights, learnings and highlights from talks, workshops and conversations that took place at C2 Montréal 2015.