Imagine a world where anyone from anywhere with just a simple mobile phone can create, discover and consume any content. Imagine further that anyone can also get a variety of services ranging from entertainment to health education to social upliftment without internet connectivity. Moreover, these content and services do not exist in silos. They are interlinked, searcheable, open and build on each other to make all this better and richer each new day. To create such a world is our vision. txtWeb, which is an open global platform, is a modest beginning towards that vision. txtWeb makes it supereasy for anyone to create SMS-based sites and applications. Further, it enables end users to find what they are looking for at one single place and get what they want on their mobile phone in the form of an SMS.
Sounds fascinating? You may be wondering how important is that and how exactly are we making this modest beginning. Well, out of 6.7 billion people that live on this planet, roughly 4.5 billion have a mobile phone. Pause and reflect on the significance of that. That is ~65% of humanity. If you exclude the children and the very old, that is almost eveyone! For the first time in the history of this planet, 4.5 billion people have become connected. Yes, connected, not via internet, but by a simple mobile device that is available for as low US$ 20 in most Emerging Markets and can be activated with a pre-paid plan for as low as US$ 1. In rural areas, particularly of emerging countries such as India, it would not be rare to find families that may not have access to clean drinking water but have access to a properly working mobile phone. And no matter how basic the handset or service plan is, user can do at least the following two things: voice call and texting/SMS. What could happen if all these people not only get access to services that have so far been restricted to internet users, but are also able to create new content and services that did not exist before. Several new things are likely to emerge with such a democratization of content and services. Possibilities are likely to be order of magnitude larger than that of internet which has so far touched a significantly smaller section of world population. Note that the number of people who have a mobile phone but do not have internet has been increasing over the last several years and currently stands at roughly 3 billion. This number is likely to remain large in the foreseeable future. Therefore, txtWeb is not only useful today but is likely to remain at least as useful if not more useful in future.
Additionally, even among the richest and the most privileged groups in some of the most developed nations of the world, mobile is becoming the medium of choice and texting is becoming increasingly popular. A case in point is the Twitter phenomenon. Texting is highly popular in the new generation. Pew Research Center recently conducted a survey of American teens, which is available here. The survey notes that among the American teens, frequency of daily use of texting has overtaken the frequency of usage of any other form of interaction. 54% teens contact their friends daily by texting vs. 38% by call on cell phone, 33% by face-to-face talk, 30% by landline call, 25% by social networking site, 24% by instant messaging and only 11% by email!
|Hi Manish here is an infographic that I made which talks about coulple of the apps our team made. http://infogr.am/infoonthego-65108|
|Thanks for your comments Santiago. Yes, TxtWeb is envisioned to be a leveller-of the next order-like no one has seen before, where the entry price is only a basic low-end mobile phone. That is what makes all this so exciting and professionally and socially rewarding!|
|Manish, what a great inspiring blog post! I believe that in today's world, information is a key asset and access to it is a clear competitive advantage ... Unfortunately, information is not equally distributed amongst the world's population, mostly because access to it is expensive and requires some infrastructure (e.g., PC and internet connection) What's really exciting to me about TxtWeb is its potential to level the playing field like few technologies have done before, by allowing billions to access the information that is today available to just a fraction of humanity. Way to go TxtWeb!|
Innovations that bring a positive durable change in the lives of billions particularly those in the Emerging Markets and at the bottom of the pyramid, excite me. View my Profile
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