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Friday, March 14, 2008

W3C Workshop: Mobile Technologies and Fostering Social Development

W3C has announced a "Workshop on the Role of Mobile Technologies in
Fostering Social Development," to be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on
2-3 June 2008. The goal of the Workshop is to identify the challenges
of providing e-services on mobile phones to people in developing
economies. A specific topic in the scope of this workshop is about
eGovernment, or identifying the specific challenges of delivering
eGovermental services to underprivileged citizens, and the opportunities
and challenges of mobile phones in this context. The emergence of new
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), the Web and Internet
in particular, in late 80s, has changed the World, offering a new
paradigm in communication, exchange and commerce. However, while the
new Information Society is still developing today, a new gap has also
appeared with those without regular, effective access and ability to
use these digital technologies. This is known as the Digital Divide,
which is particularly affecting developing countries. On another hand,
ICTs are also a great opportunity for the developing world. Providing
minimal services (health, education, business, government, etc.) to
rural communities and under-privileged populations is of major
importance to improve people lives, and to sustain development. Using
ICTs would be the easiest and possibly only way to develop and deploy
those services. It is therefore critical to work towards bridging this
Digital Divide. In this context, the recent explosion of mobile
telephony in the developing world is a great opportunity. At the end
of 2007, according to the GSMA and ITU, the total number of people
having accessing to a mobile phone was around 2.7 billions, and 80%
of the world population was currently covered by a GSM network. These
numbers illustrate the potential of the mobile platform to be the right
solution to deploy services now, compared to other options. W3C intends
for this public Workshop to be a multidisciplinary forum where mobile
and Web technology experts, NGO specialists, and egovernment
representatives gather to learn more about the specific needs,
expectations, and challenges of deploying services for underprivileged
populations. Information about participating in the Workshop is
available on the Workshop home page. W3C thanks (Network
Information Center), Internet Steering Committee, and Institute
CONIP for hosting this Workshop. The Workshop is organized with the
financial support of the European Union's 7th Research Framework
Programme (FP7) under the Digital World Forum project.

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