MobEA V: Kirthi Ramamritham on “Information Access through Mobiles: Opportunities and Challenges”

Note: These are notes from the MobEA V: Mobile Web in Developing Worlds Workshop, which is located with WWW2007.

What is of interest? How do I get better prices to get better money? How do I deal with the current weather?

For you and I, we’d go directly to the Web. Most of the info is mono-lingual, of low relevance and precision, and assumes good connectivity.

How to do automated translation? How to do multi-lingual search? How do we design interfaces? How do we handle resource-constrained environments?

More and more this is happening through village kiosk services. You can get telephony, e-gov, pricing info, and much more.

The problem is content.

aAQUA (almost all questions answered) is a way that content can be created from the ground up. Its an online forum for asking questions to be answered by experts in the field with assistance. It is accessible by pc or mobile.


Kiosks are increasing in number but they’re not good enough yet.

They find what’s helpful is to provide users with previously answered questions. Users can use their camera phones if that helps to ask a question, like what is this mango tree disease.

Prices for crops are reported by users and made available for a certain locality.

Questions can be sent to aAQUA via SMS.

There are significant bandwidth restraints. You want to make the pages as light as possible. There needs to be cross-language retrieval. This is done through UNL. Often in the same sentance, there will be multiple languages.

From day one, collaboration with people in the developing world has to be assumed in order to be successful.

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