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Pervasive / ubiquitously connected

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1 Author(s)
Van Stam, G. ; Macha, Zambia

To the eyes of the urban beholder, pervasive / ubiquitous computing seems to be achieved. However, not so in the eyes of the rural person. Apart from mobile phones, not much computing seems to go on in rural areas of Africa. This key note, postulating from a definition of Internet, puts the case for the need of African drive and further exploration of both theoretical and practical concepts in and around the pervasive computing paradigm and pinpoints unique, rural angles which play a role in reshaping the landscape of African societies. Challenges are deducted from long term experience in sensitization, introduction and operations of information and communications technologies in rural Zambia[1][2][3]. Although quantitive aspects play a role, a multitude of qualitative and interlinked factors feature prominently[4]. Constrains in rural areas involve unique contextual, geographic, and cultural ingredients. In an drive to sustainability, appropriate interventions must include sensitivity to such a mix of context and culture. Contextual ingredients include aspects like orality, traditional leadership structures and regulatory practice, human resource and agency, and practicalities like housing, roads, distances, electricity, business, and cost levels. Culture encapsulates history, sense of solidarity, relatio economics[5], a focus on human relations, and a sense of security. Such issues are fundamental, substantial, and materially different then those in contemporary western context from which pervasive computing has emerged. The keynote calls for further transdiciplinary research and evaluation which is sensitive to these rural challenges, and is required if all of Africa is to receive proper inclusion and participation in pervasive computing in the wake of pervasive/ubiquitous connectedness.

Published in:

Pervasive Computing and Applications (ICPCA), 2011 6th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

26-28 Oct. 2011