W3C to Examine Role of Mobile Technologies in Fostering Social Development

Workshop Participants Will Discuss How To Unleash the Power of Mobile Phones for Delivering eServices

Contact Americas, Australia --
Ian Jacobs, <ij@w3.org>, +1.718.260.9447 or +1.617.253.2613
Contact Europe, Africa and the Middle East --
Marie-Claire Forgue, <mcf@w3.org>, +33.492.38.75.94 or +33 6 76 86 33 41
Contact Asia --
Yasuyuki Hirakawa <chibao@w3.org>, +81.466.49.1170

(also available in French, Japanese and Portuguese; see also translations in other languages)

http://www.w3.org/ -- 11 March 2008 -- As part of its mission to ensure that the Web is available to all, W3C invites people to attend a Workshop on the Role of Mobile Technologies in Fostering Social Development in São Paulo, Brazil, on 2-3 June 2008. The goal of the Workshop is to identify the challenges of providing e-services on mobile phones to people in developing economies.

"We are witnessing an extraordinary explosion of mobile phone use in developing countries," says Stéphane Boyera, of W3C's Mobile Web Initiative. "People in rural communities can get a mobile phone much more easily than a desktop device. This W3C Workshop will investigate the strengths of various mobile technologies for providing e-services to improve people's lives. In particular, we plan to discuss how Web technologies might play a decisive role in promoting social development."

W3C intends for this public Workshop to be a multidisciplinary forum where mobile and Web technology experts, NGO specialists, and egovernment representatives gather to learn more about the specific needs, expectations, and challenges of deploying services for underprivileged populations. Information about participating in the Workshop is available on the Workshop home page. W3C thanks NIC.br (Network Information Center), CGI.br Internet Steering Committee, and Institute CONIP for hosting this Workshop. The Workshop is organized with the financial support of the European Union's 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7) under the Digital World Forum project.

Mobile Technologies for Sustaining Development

The information technologies, such as the Web and Internet, that have so changed the world also offer tremendous opportunity for sustaining development in rural communities and underprivileged populations. Success stories of the past two years, such as the one about how some fishermen in India use mobile technology, suggest practical ways to improve people's lives through mobile technology. But there remains a gap between the development of few "proof of concept" services and the availability of critical services on a broad scale.

In this context, the recent explosion of mobile telephony in the developing world provides a great opportunity. According to the GSMA and ITU (GSMA Report 2006, 2007 ITU Report), at the end of 2007 approximately 2.7 billion people had access to a mobile phone and 80% of the global population was covered by a GSM network. These figures make a strong case for using mobile phones as the platform for health, education, business, and government services in rural environments.

Sponsorship Opportunity

W3C invites all stakeholders who wish to support the event to become Workshop Sponsors. A three-tier Sponsorship Program has been designed so that sponsorships will enable participation by individuals and organizations with particular expertise, but who might not otherwise be able to attend due to travel or other costs.

This public Workshop is part of W3C's Mobile Web Initiative, which aims to identify and resolve challenges and issues of accessing the Web when on the move.

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. W3C primarily pursues its mission through the creation of Web standards and guidelines designed to ensure long-term growth for the Web. Over 440 organizations are Members of the Consortium. W3C is jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France and Keio University in Japan, and has additional Offices worldwide. For more information see http://www.w3.org/