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Technology Solutions in Mobile Space for Emerging Markets

, December 29, 2014, 0 Comments

Here, we would focus on Agriculture, Education and Finance sectors, and also see some of the mobile apps and devices developed for these sectors, that would help understand and visualize further possibilities for emerging markets.

Solutions in Agriculture Sector
The first goal towards Millennium Development plan is closely linked with the agriculture sector. Wikipedia says, “As of 2011, the International Labor Organization states that approximately one billion people, or over 1/3 of the available work force, are employed in the global agricultural sector.” Agriculture sector in India contributes 16% of GDP & 10% of export earnings.more

But, at the ground level, farmers face challenges in growing a healthy crop, taking it to the right market and selling it at a good prize point. Farmers are also limited in abilities to be updated with new and latest information that could be of use to them.

Addressing above stated issues, Agropedia Labs at IIT Kanpur has developed a few solutions for mobiles that can help farmers grow a better crop, get knowledge and ability to self-upgrade.

vKVK – voice Krishi Vigyan Kendra

vKVK is a platform that connects KVKs with farmers through internet and mobile technology. The objective here is to bridge the gap between the farmers and the KVK expert [Figure 3]. vKVK is developed by IIT-Kanpur in a consortium mode as part of ICAR-NAIP supported project entitled “Engaging Farmers, Enriching Knowledge – Agropedia Phase II”.

voice krishi vigyan kendra-MarketExpress-in
Initially, the service was started in August, 2011 in 24 KVKs and is now being up-scaled in 190 KVKs covering more than 30,000 farmers. The vKVK service is cutting across all the service providers and can be accessed flawlessly on even low end mobile handsets – free of cost to the farmers. More @


Digital-Mandi-MarketExpress-inPOP – Package of Practices

POP is a platform for farmers to upgrade themselves with detailed information about a new crop. It’s available in text (Indian languages) as well as in Voice format for them to use it on their mobile.
More @

Digital Mandi

One more project at IIT Kanpur, sponsored by BSNL, is aimed at networking all the Mandi’s located throughout the country, for effective information dissemination – for improving decision making capability of the farmers and strengthening of their bargaining power.

It facilitates in the effective dissemination, over web, of the daily arrivals and prices of commodities in the agricultural produce markets spread across the country  Visit DigitialMandi


Solutions in Education Sector

Education is the second goal targeted for Millennium Development. Education brings awareness and empowerment, with the ability of self-upgradation. Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai wins 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, further to the recognition of her work in this sector.

APTUS Classroom without Walls


Aptus Classroom without Walls is an exciting innovation that can transform the teaching-learning experience everywhere it is used – even under a tree in a remote resource-poor location . It’s small size, ability to be charged fast, and with solar energy makes it appealing for rural conditions. device-size-specifications-MarketExpress-inFigure above gives an understanding of devices specifications, capabilities and suitability. Classroom without walls


Below figure illustrates that the solutions like this gives the ability for an individual in a village to be able to self-upgrade, get educated, along with taking care of it’s day-to-day activities and earnings.


Other Mobile-based Solutions for Education Sector

MoMath ( for improving mathematical abilities of students. GyanKosh is another Bangalore-based startup trying to implement solution to help students prepare for exams like GRE. In similar manner there are a number of mobile based solutions for teacher’s training.

Hole in the Wall – NextGen Education Systems


Though indirectly linked, the concept discussed by Prof. Sugata Mitra, TED prize winner, throw a light on how education system would change in future, with an ability and desire of self-learning and then gives an ability to visualize cloud and mobile based solutions for the same . More details of the concept can be found at

Solutions in Finance Sector

robin-polaris-lab-MarketExpress-inFinance is next major challenge for emerging economies. As per a study published by Commonwealth of Learning (CoL), 60% of the adults in emerging economies do not understand the meaning of world interest. A study by Business Standards says that 50% of Indians don’t have a savings bank account.

Further, people living in rural areas, if have to deposit their earnings in a bank, they have to travel to a nearby city, which costs money and time (loss of wages for that day) both to them. These are the reasons which resulted in a few companies working on developing technology solutions for this sector for emerging markets as well.


One of them being a robot named “Robin” developed by Polaris Labs at Chennai. Robin was developed with an intent of replacing a full-fledge bank branch that could be taken to a village on a particular day and enable people there to complete their bank transactions.



M-Pesa by Vodafone that has revolutionized the Mobile Payment Market and doesn’t need much introduction being pioneer, was also started by understanding the needs for emerging markets, as with following details.


Further Possibilities

With above examples of products / solutions for agriculture, education and finance sectors for emerging markets, one can visualize further technological and business possibilities. The numbers show the growth potential for businesses and also project the picture for a better society.

Before, I end this article, I would like to mention, one of my favorite example of innovations in healthcare sector named as “Embrace Innovations”, the for-profit social enterprise, who developed the easy-to-use, portable infant warmers .Emerging Markets Mobile MarketExpress-in


As per the story on their website, “We started our journey in a class project at Stanford Design School where our founders were challenged to create a cheaper incubator. But they soon realized that cost was just one part of the problem. Shortage of highly skilled caregivers, inadequate power and maintenance issues added to the challenge. In 2008, they launched Embrace.”

And their journey continued. Their vision is to create innovative healthcare technologies to help combat maternal and infant mortality in developing countries – which is in-line with #4&5 in the Millennium Development Goals. More about embracing innovations

So all these stories show possibilities, and now it’s for us to go beyond. Written as an effort to summarize the topics covered in the talk @ UXINDIA’14 , and in continuation to article written on “Product Usability – Analysis”