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Article
JustDial: Reducing the Digital Divide through an ICT-Enabled Application of Appropriate Technology and Fortune-Seeking Behavior at the Bottom of the Pyramid
GlobDev 2011
  • Kuldeep Kumar, City University of Hong Kong
  • Helen Du, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Publication Date
12-3-2011
Abstract

This paper has two objectives. The first, and primary objective is to integrate and the concepts of “Appropriate technology” and “Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid”, and illustrate their applicability to the context of software and ICT enabled applications in reducing the digital divide[1]. A secondary objective is to examine the feasibility and desirability of transferring appropriate technology applications developed and deployed in an emerging economy (India) to rich developed countries (USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). The paper does so through examining a case study of JustDial, a social networking/media information service application successfully developed and deployed in India.

The paper achieves these objectives by first, in the next section (section 2.0), describing and integrating the two complementary concepts of appropriate technology and fortune-seeking at the bottom of the pyramid. In doing so it also shows that most of the commonly reported applications of these concepts have been primarily in the context of physical hardware and physical services. By illustrating their use in the context of information services and ICT-enabled applications, the paper opens up a new avenue for invoking these concepts for global development and alleviation of knowledge poverty and digital divide. Next, in section 3.0, the paper describes an ICT-enabled social networking and information services application: JustDial, which has been developed and deployed in India. It shows how JustDial conforms to the underlying principles of appropriate technology and fortune-seeking at the bottom of the pyramid. In section 3.4 the paper examines JustDial’s plans for internationalization to developed countries and through those plans, it comments on the feasibility and desirability of exporting concepts of Appropriate Technology and Fortune at the Bottom of Pyramid, from their genesis in developing economies to resource rich developed economies. Finally, section 4.0 concludes with a summary of the paper and its contributions to appropriate technology practice.

[1] The digital divide refers to the gap between individuals, households, businesses and geographic areas at different socio-economic levels with regard both to their opportunities to access information and communications technologies (ICT's) and to their use of the Internet for a wide variety of activities.It includes the imbalance both in physical access to technology and the resources and skills needed to effectively participate as a digital citizen. Knowledge divide reflects the access of various social groupings to information and knowledge, typically gender, income, race, and by location.

Citation Information
Kuldeep Kumar and Helen Du. "JustDial: Reducing the Digital Divide through an ICT-Enabled Application of Appropriate Technology and Fortune-Seeking Behavior at the Bottom of the Pyramid" (2011)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kuldeep_kumar/47/