info160: Bridging the information gap

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About half a century ago, the internet was invented and has been developed through time to be a complex network that can be accessed by devices from anywhere on the planet for instant sharing and retrieving of information. Computers have also evolved from the superlarge energy gazzling structures that were reserved for large institutions to devices that are becoming ever more common in people’s homes and even pockets. Thus leading to the branding of our time “the information age”.
According to the latest statistics, 77% (5.3 billion people) of the world’s population are mobile phone owners. What they own range from the most basic $10 dollar phones to high end smartphones that are reserved for the cream of the society. However only 1 billion people access mobile internet. The low number of mobile internet users is due to the fact that even low income earners in the developing world find a mobile phone a device they can sacrifice to get for day to day communication and business but most cannot to afford to buy a phone with internet access. And that group of people is just a fraction of those without computers at their homes.  The result is that we are have a large group left out of the revolution that is “the information age”. That’s where info160 comes in.
Imagine a farmer in rural Botswana with no radio and electricity let alone a television or the income to afford the local newspaper everyday but with a $10 dollar phone that is either solar powered or which she recharges at the nearby town. With info160 she is able to get breaking news as it happens, daily market prices for goods and any other information she might subscribe to all for free. She can also receive daily announcements or updates from her Women’s Group which are sent for free by their chairman using info160’s bulk messaging system. And every message she recieves is appended with a very short advert that is location relevant. Such an advert can be from the fertilizer shop 1 kilometre from her home about their end of month sale. She can as well use the advertising system herself to promote her farm produce to people within her region for as little as $1. Let’s say her little son has Malaria, and the dispensary he gets treated at uses a system that taps into info160’s API to automatically send reminders by SMS to their patients on when to take medication, when to go for checkups etc. So depending on when she first took her son for treatment, she will get text messages say thrice a day at each time he is supposed to take the drugs until the dosage is over.
Basically, info160 is a system with different categories of information like breaking news, quotes, market prices, jokes, MDG facts etc that users can sbscribe to for free. Once registered they can also use the free bulk messaging system which can be very useful for organizations, institutions and small businesses. Every message sent out is appended with a short location based advert. The advertising rates start at $1 for 50 ad views. It will also have an open API that people can build their own applications on top of.
Is this the next big thing? You be the judge.

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