Mobile Web Initiative


Workshop on the Role of Mobile Technologies in Fostering Social Development June 2-3 2008, São Paulo, Brazil

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The W3C Workshop on the "Role of Mobile Technologies in Fostering Social Development" aims to understand specific challenges of using mobile phones and Web technologies to deliver services to underprivileged populations of Developing Countries.

People and organizations who have an interest in the role of mobile phones and the Web in social development and who wish to participate in the workshop are invited to submit position papers to the Workshop Committee (by email to See more about participation below.

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This is a Workshop of the W3C Mobile Web Initiative (MWI), which aims to identify and resolve challenges and issues of accessing the Web when on the move.

This Workshop is part of the the Digital World Forum project (European Union's 7th Research Framework Programme - FP7) which explore how to take advantage of the new paradigm of low-cost technologies in broadband infrastructure and devices to bridge the digital divide and connect the unconnected.

W3C thanks Workshop hosts (Network Information Center), Internet Steering Committee, and Institute CONIP and the World Bank for facilitating the organization of the Global Dialogue event. Logo Logo Instituto CONIP Logoworld bank edev logo


mobile phone use in uganda
Photo courtesy of

The emergence of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), the Web and Internet in particular, in late 80s, has changed the World, offering a new paradigm in communication, exchange and commerce. However, while the new Information Society is still developing today, a new gap has also appeared with those without regular, effective access and ability to use these digital technologies. This is known as the Digital Divide, which is particularly affecting developing countries.

On another hand, ICTs are also a great opportunity for the developing world. Providing minimal services (health, education, business, government, etc.) to rural communities and under-privileged populations is of major importance to improve people lives, and to sustain development. Using ICTs would be the easiest and possibly only way to develop and deploy those services. It is therefore critical to work towards bridging this Digital Divide.

In this context, the recent explosion of mobile telephony in the developing world is a great opportunity. At the end of last year, according to the GSMA and ITU, the total number of people having accessing to a mobile phone was around 2.7 billions, and 80% of the world population was currently covered by a GSM network. These numbers illustrate the potential of the mobile platform to be the right solution to deploy services now, compared to other options.

A first step in realizing this potential has been the apparition, for the last two years, of numerous success stories using mobile phones in Developing Countries. However, there is still a gap between the development of few services that demonstrate the proof of concept, and the availability of thousands of services in all over the World. In order to fill this gap, it is essential to understand the key challenges of integrating ICTs in underprivileged communities and improving people's lives.

The aim of this workshop is to identify the challenges of using ICTs in Development, and to evaluate how Web technologies on mobile phones could be a potential direction to explore.

A specific topic in the scope of this workshop is about eGovernment, or identifying the specific challenges of delivering eGovermental services to underprivileged citizens, and the opportunities and challenges of mobile phones in this context.

As an input to this workshop, the W3C team has written a public white paper that summarizes some of these issues.


The goal of the workshop is to provide input and feedback to the W3C Mobile Web Initiative, and its future Mobile Web for Social Development Interest Group and to the eGovernment at W3C work item. The following topics are of particular interest:

Workshop Dates

The workshop will take place on 2-3 June 2008.


phone bikes
Photo courtesy of Stéphane Boyera

You are cordially invited to sponsor this workshop. Following in the model of the successful sponsorship program developed for the 2006 Mobile Web in Developing Countries Workshop, we expect you will want to consider participating in the program for this important meeting.

This sponsorship program is a marketing opportunity that enable sponsors to showcase their organization and underscore its commitment to the shared goals of the W3C. Sponsors reach those who are making decisions about the future of the Web, as well as those in the public who have come to rely on the Web as critical infrastructure for development and to help bridging the Digital Divide. Sponsors will be associated directly with the event which will gather at the same place experts in mobile Web technologies, and experts in the Digital Divide in order to use the Web and mobile phones to leverage development in rural areas of developing countries.

There are three levels of sponsorship, Platinum-Gold-Silver, offering a panel of benefits. All the details of each level are available from the Sponsorship Program page.

This sponsorship program is designed to enable participation by individuals and organizations with particular expertise, but who might not otherwise be able to attend due to travel or other costs.

For further information and expression of interest, please contact Stéphane Boyera (, Jose Manuel Alonso (, or Marie-Claire Forgue ( The deadline for requesting to take part in this opportunity is 20 May 2008.


Centro de Convenções Fecomércio
Rua Plínio Barreto, 285 - Bela Vista
São Paulo, SP
See the map here.

Referring Points

Information and tips about Sao Paulo and surroundings


Position papers and presentation slides must be in English. The workshop will have a real-time simultaneous translation in Portuguese, English and Spanish. Therefore, speakers and presenters can use any of these three languages.


To ensure productive discussions, the workshop is limited to 100 attendees. Participation is open to non-W3C members. Each organization can provide at most two attendees.

Position papers are required in order to participate in this workshop (except for W3C team members). Each organization or individual wishing to participate must submit a position paper explaining their interest in the workshop no later than April 29 2008. The intent is to make sure that participants have an active interest in the area, and that the workshop will benefit from their presence.

Send papers (in valid XHTML/HTML (please use the W3C Markup Validation Service) or PDF - 1 to 5 pages) to:

All position papers will be available from the workshop Web site. The workshop Web site will be public, so position papers and slides must be suitable for public dissemination. Speaker slides will also be available at the Web site after the workshop. There will not be printed proceedings.

To attend, you must register by filling out a registration form. The URI for the registration form will be sent to you after your position paper is accepted.

There will be no participation fee.

Note: To help the organizers plan the workshop: if you wish to participate, please send an email as soon as possible to stating:

Note that this expression of interest does not mean that you registered for the workshop. It is still necessary to send a position paper, which has to be accepted by the Program Committee.

Press representatives must contact and/or Marie-Claire Forgue, W3C Communications (


W3C encourages W3C Members and public to participate in the Workshop. Workshop organizers expects that this workshop should be of particular interest to people with following backgrounds:


See the Agenda dedicated page.

Important Deadlines

Please note the following dates:

Mailing List

Enquiries or comments on the workshop can be sent to the public mailing list The archive of the mailing list is visible to the public.

Private enquiries can be directed to the Workshop Chairs.

Program Committee

The program committee can be contacted by email at:

The Program Committee comprises the following appointees:

Workshop Chairs