Furthering the Arab world's use of digital technology to advance civil rights, a number of regional groups and software developers are looking to mobile phones as a means of ensuring fair and free elections in the region. Experiments in using mobile phone technology in election monitoring and voter engagement are already under way in several Arab countries.
Published: April 16, 2013 Mobile Entrepreneurs Work at Innovation's Edge in the Middle East
As mobile hardware and software increasingly become the focus of technology firms, a number of Middle East entrepreneurs are developing smartphone applications, despite the challenges for startups in the region. The timing is right -- venture capital giant Draper Fisher Jurvetson has extolled the potential for high-tech investment in the Middle East. Those who have come to Silicon Valley from the region tell Arabic Knowledge@Wharton they feel the responsibility to demonstrate Arab innovation.
Published: February 05, 2013 Middle East, Africa and Asia Pushing Mobile Use Innovation
Rob Trice and Ursula Oesterle, two mobile industry veterans at telecommunications giant Swisscom, tell Arabic Knowledge@Wharton that as the mobile industry evolves at a lightning pace, it is mobile users in developing countries who are leading the way in demonstrating how mobile technology can become ubiquitous in people's lives. "You're seeing more innovation on the mobile device in the developing world because the demand is much greater," Trice says.
Published: February 05, 2013 Ushahidi: The African Software Platform Helping Victims in Global Emergencies
Juliana Rotich was in Kenya in 2008 while the country was shaken by post-election violence. Her confusion and difficulty in finding safe havens then led to the development of "Ushahidi," a software platform that takes crowd-sourced information and Google Maps to develop online resources for those times of need. Since then, activists have adapted the platform for a number of causes. "The Internet brought us together," she tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton. "How can we use technology to assist? How can people use our technology to deal with situations efficiently, to give voice to whatever project they have?"
Published: January 22, 2013 Silicon Wafers and Semiconductors: A New Black Gold for Abu Dhabi?
The leadership of the United Arab Emirates considers economic diversification a necessity in order to protect the country's economy from oil-price fluctuations and to maintain prosperity. Along those lines, a government-owned investment vehicle is trying to encourage growth and innovation in knowledge-based industries in such areas as aerospace, healthcare, information and communications technology, and renewable energy. One of the goals -- promoting a local semiconductor industry -- is proving to be especially challenging.
Published: January 08, 2013 LatentView's Venkat Viswanathan: Getting the Signal from the Noise
The negative aspect of the information age is data overload. If properly used, however, big data can give a competitive advantage, according to Venkat Viswanathan, CEO of LatentView, a data analysis firm which has offices in New Jersey and California, and a global delivery center in Chennai, India. Viswanathan talked to India Knowledge@Wharton about the myriad ways that analytics can be used in the business realm.
Published: January 08, 2013 With Digital Technology, Worldreader Brings Knowledge to Africa's Neediest Children
Because of their mobility and low cost, e-readers and digital content can make reading possible for people in even the most remote parts of the world. David Risher's Worldreader.org is focusing on making that happen for children in Africa, by giving them access to international and local digital books on e-readers and mobile phones. Worldreader's app traffic is at half a million readers per month reading 24 pages and is growing on average at 20% per month. "It's one of the great things about our program," he tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton. "Kids have access to the entire world's library of information."
Published: December 11, 2012 Sony's Reincarnation May Be Too Little, Too Late
There was a time not so long ago when the Sony brand was synonymous with "cool," its products coveted as much as the latest iPhone. Today, Sony is fighting for its survival against the likes of Korea's Samsung Electronics, and the battle with Apple was lost before it ever began. But Sony's new CEO, Kazuo Hirai, says he believes the company can turn itself around. One strategy: designing televisions in strong red and blue hues for the Indian market. Some say it's too late, however: Such moves should have come in the 1990s or early 2000s.
Published: December 11, 2012 The Super-motivated Entrepreneur Behind Egypt's SuperMama
The force behind SuperMama.me, the region's first online parenting advice website, has some superpowers of her own -- chiefly, an appetite for risk that helped her leave a rising career to start her own venture. Boldness and persistence have been critical, Yasmine El-Mehairy tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton. In her experience, remaining positive, being flexible, sticking to a routine and learning to accept rejection are all components an aspiring entrepreneur must possess in order to succeed: "I think you need to be aware of the dangers, but decide to go for it nevertheless."
Published: November 27, 2012 Lesson Plan: Khan Academy Builds Educational Content for a Global Audience
What started as a teaching aid for his cousin became a new career for Salman Khan. His YouTube math tutorials became so popular that he used them to launch the Khan Academy. The online education nonprofit is dedicated to spreading knowledge across the world. Its dean of admissions, Bilal Musharraf, speaks to Arabic Knowledge@Wharton about how the site is translating its content and creating learning platforms for users in different countries. Web traffic, he says, is six million unique visitors per month globally, "literally from every country in the world."
Published: October 31, 2012