Younghee Jung, manager and design researcher at the Nokia Research Centre in Bangalore, India, has been featured again on the Nokia Conversations blog through a long interview. Younghee is one of the more visible (luckily for us) researchers involved with mobile and I always enjoy the insight that she brings to conversations such as this. Here is a sample of her responses from the interview:
Mobile phones have now been around for two decades. In the early days, it was very much about what was technically possible but now it’s becoming much more about lifestyle.
Have you noticed a shift in the impact technology has on people’s lives in developing countries?
I think the interesting part is when it comes to comparing rural and urban areas. The difference is quite significant. Although those living in the slums are from rural areas they’re quickly exposed to what’s available. The majority are aware about what is possible with technology and if they have a certain amount of knowledge and money they would have access to technology. They can almost set goals. Opinion-wise it’s a rich environment in the way that they know what technology can do for them. On the other hand, whether they are able to overcome the threshold that exists between now and their aspiration level is another issue. Even the notion of the Internet is not uncommon. These communities have internet cafes and with this information, they can form a clearer idea about what they would do if they had a mobile connection. One inspiring story from the favela in Rio was that someone used the Internet to search for a scholarship. It’s an example of how information technology can change their path of life rather than just making a bit more money.