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GARY MARSDEN: So for those of you who were not [? at Kai ?],

my name is Gary Marsden.

I work at University of Capetown, South Africa in the

computer science department doing HCI type stuff.

I've been there for eight years, so if you're

interested, the accent is Irish, not South African.

He's genuinely South African.

Most of my work revolves around mobiles because there

are mobiles everywhere--

absolutely everywhere--

and they crop up in different forms and times.

Do you know what these containers that people have?

So what happens is any old containers off lorries and

stuff, they [UNINTELLIGIBLE] them out with cell phones that

are shared usage, so that's what it looks like inside.

These are different, because these are cell phones that are

used by any arbitrary person, as opposed to your own

personal-- so different people have different experiences of

the cellular network.

AUDIENCE: What's with that landline looking thing there?

GARY MARSDEN: That is actually the cellular handset.

They multiplex into the cellular network, so although

it looks like a landline, it is actually-- and if you go in

on these booths, their number is written up

and important stuff.

So it's a weird ecology.

And these have been so popular because you cannot steal

handsets out of a solid metal container, usually.

The cell phone companies, themselves--

so this is one of the networks, Cell-C--

are making these containers.

When I started out as kind of an ad hoc MacGyver kind of

solution, but now it's got real traction and these guys

rushing to tie in ships, bloop.

There you go-- there's your communication-- and they run

back out again.

But what's interesting to me, as a pretend ethnographer, so

I should say I'm in computer science originally but I've

kind of seen the light since then.

AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER]

[INAUDIBLE]

GARY MARSDEN: I know, that's fine.

My career is over anyway.

As one grows up in the time ships, these cell centers

become like a focal point, and you get all these funny little

businesses starting up.

So this is Lindikhaya's cell repairs.

With very interesting spelling of words and so

forth, you can see there.

And then the people selling fruit, and this becomes like a

central point for the neighborhood.

And this--

I took these shots--

[LONG BEEP]

Uh oh.

Is that bad?

AUDIENCE: Somebody must have accepted, though, because it's

just like, oh [UNINTELLIGIBLE].

[LONG BEEP]

AUDIENCE: [UNINTELLIGIBLE].

AUDIENCE: Press the green button.

GARY MARSDEN: So I took these shots at the start of my

sabbatical, which was in the second half of last year.

So these were taken around--

FEMALE SPEAKER: [INAUDIBLE] slides?

AUDIENCE: Yes, oh.

FEMALE SPEAKER: [UNINTELLIGIBLE].

AUDIENCE: OK, [INAUDIBLE]

sorry.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

AUDIENCE: Is that another [INTERPOSING VOICES].

[LAUGHTER]

AUDIENCE: We're [? dialing ?] the wrong room.

AUDIENCE: I didn't do anything.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

AUDIENCE: Can you see now, [UNINTELLIGIBLE]?

AUDIENCE: You can continue, and I'll--

GARY MARSDEN: OK, while you fiddle.

AUDIENCE: Give us a hi sign, [UNINTELLIGIBLE],

when you can see it.

GARY MARSDEN: OK, so these are rural--

sorry, urban usage--

and then I went and spent a couple of months going through

Zambia and Malawi.

AUDIENCE: [INTERPOSING VOICES]

GARY MARSDEN: So Zambia and Malawi are two of the 10 first

nations on earth, but I was hearing all sorts of stories

about cell phone usage.

I don't know if you can see--

these are actually zebra on here in the grass.

Everywhere you go, there are cellphones.

To recap quickly, 77% of South Africans have cell phones, yet

only 11% of South Africans earn enough income to be

liable for income tax.

That's kind of startling.

AUDIENCE: So they have cell phones, or they keep them

active at all times?

GARY MARSDEN: That's active usage.

AUDIENCE: I met a lot of people who do have cell

phones, but they don't always have enough credit to--

GARY MARSDEN: I'll talk about that in a minute.

AUDIENCE: So they're not on monthly plans?

GARY MARSDEN: No, no one's on monthly plans.

We're all paying as we're going.

AUDIENCE: And the other comment I had, Gary, is the

stories you're telling are very consistent in lots of the

third world that I've been in, too.

I've been in-- for example, parts of the Caribbean--

exactly similar.

You see an unemployed guy with two cell phones on his belt.

GARY MARSDEN: So then there is this shared usage, as well.

There are these telephone bureaus-- this is Malawi--

where they just take over an old shack and put in the cell

phones and get a battery.

This particular village has no electricity, so the guy puts

the car battery on the back of his bicycle, wheels off, gets

a charge, comes back, people bring him their cell phones.

AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]

GARY MARSDEN: Yeah, it's kind of a weird thing.

And this company, Celtel--

besides the containers being dropped in-- they can't afford

to do that in Zambia.

They build these little shacks where you can

go and buy air time.

It's kind of a less organized affair.

AUDIENCE: I can understand how you go here, and you can call

somewhere, but if the other person is in the same economic

status as you are, how do you know how to call them?

[INAUDIBLE] new to one of these things?

GARY MARSDEN: Oh, yes.

That's right.

OK, I take your point.

There is that, but--

so what most people, as Olga said, have their cell phone

for is receiving calls.

I'll talk a little bit more about that, which sounds like

an oxymoron, but it's not really.

AUDIENCE: We just have a different economic model.

GARY MARSDEN: Precisely.

So everyone has a phone.

In fact, in South Africa, there have been 80 million

phones sold, and there are 40 million people living there.

So there have been two phones sold for every member of

population, which is why the 77% statistic is important.

Those 77% are active-- they're making and receiving calls.

What's happening?

Well, Robin, a lot of people have them for work.

This is a farm building, way out in the middle of nowhere.

So the farmer can phone up his workers and check

that they're working.

And so a lot of people get given phones for work.

And then, if they can save up a little money, they'll use

them for their own private reasons.

Also, for a lot of people, the only thing--

the only piece of technology--

they can afford is a handset which means that they get used

for everything.

This is a nice lady filling up my bike.

There were two of us riding bikes, at this point, and she

used a calculator to add up--

to tally up-- what we owed.

You go to the bank, everyone has their

cell phone on a lanyard.

It is doing the sums. They can't afford a calculator and

the cell phone.

That's just unheard of wanton abandon.

AUDIENCE: Is a cell phone cheaper than a calculator?

GARY MARSDEN: No, it's not, but you can

only afford one thing.

AUDIENCE: OK.

The cell phone is cooler?

GARY MARSDEN: The cell phone is much more useful.

Because if you buy one of these, for example, it's got a

torch built in as well, so you don't to buy a torch, either.

Besides all the communication.

The communication is very important.

If-- those of you who were [? at Kai-- ?] in my talk, I

talked about itinerant working.

And families are torn apart, because the husband's on the

mine, and then his wife can SMS. So they're very important

social tools.

When I was in Zambia, I saw someone get a phone call on

their cell.

Blah blah blah blah blah.

Hang up, take their phone apart, put in a new SIM card,

reassemble it, make a call-- blah, blah, blah, blah, blah--

take it apart again, put the original SIM card back in.

And I got into this and I discovered there are three

networks with slightly different tariff structures.

Now, you and I-- for the sake of a couple of cents-- are not

going to stand there and wait five minutes

for a phone to reboot.

But for these guys, that was a crucial difference.

And to the point that--

some people who run businesses-- they've actually

got three phones, because they can't be bothered juggling.

But it's cheaper to have three phones and work out which

tariff is going to be--

And all this is denominated in US dollars.

None of these cell phone companies are

interested in learning--

earning-- local currency.

So they'll be earning dollars.

So it is quite a price sensitivity.

And as I said, if a cell phone is all you've got, then how

you use it is very different.

So how many of you have camera phones?

Most of you.

What if that was the only camera you had in your life?

There's no downloading.

There is no backing up.

Your whole life-- you put your wedding photos--

on your camera.

On your camera phone, that's the only place they are going

to be kept.

All right, so if you do that, it fundamentally changes the

way you feel about your camera phone.

And so guys that you talk to--

Andrew was talking about this earlier today--

when you go meet someone, they come and they have a

collection of photographs already in the phone.

It's like a PowerPoint presentation of their life.

And when you're chatting to them, they get it out and they

take you through.

It's quite a deliberate act.

And because of the limited storage, they think very

carefully about which images they keep

and which they discard.

And so I'll show you in a minute or two some of the

projects we've done around that.

So those are upbeat stories.

A couple of not so good stories.

This is the Kakombu Business Centre, and it's the border

between Angola and Zambia.

And it's run by this guy called Roy.

And Roy is having trouble because the cell phone

companies opened up two months ago and he

runs an internet cafe.

And his internet cafe has had no customers in two months.

It is not that the people are accessing the internet through

their phone--

which they are, to some extent-- it's the fact that

all the spare cash in this economy is now

going on air time.

So the grocer shop is shutting down, to clothes shop is

shutting down.

Obviously, this is a novel effect.

Right?

Obviously people can't go on without shoes-- well

actually, they can--

and clothes.

But it will be interesting to see at what point, if ever,

the businesses--

the other businesses-- pick up.

This is in a tropical area so you can grow pretty much

anything you want to eat, so you don't

need to shop for food.

And so these cell phone companies are hoovering up,

and so cellphones are killing the internet.

The other story that I hear a lot about cell phone usage in

Africa is how it is helping subsistence farmers.

Have any of you come across this story about how the

fishermen--

they're out, they catch the fish, and they phone up the

markets, and then they go to the market that will give--

and everyone feels nice and warm inside.

I'm glad to be part of technology.

Well, I spoke to some of these guys on Lake Malawi, and they

just laughed.

They go, what?

Call the market?

Says look, these fish aren't worth the

value of a phone call.

And besides, why would I go to that market?

All my friends are at this market.

I don't want to go to that market for a couple of cents.

It's pointless.

I'll go and see my friends, have a good

time, have a few beers.

Does he think, yeah, you're right actually, if you're a

subsistence farmer.

So I poked around a little, and it turns out there are

such systems for farmers but it's for commercial farmers.

If you have umpteen acres of coffee beans, you can

subscribe to the National Farmers Union and find out

which country you should export your beans to.

But those are not really the stories I was told about per

little subsistence one man farmers.

I think there's a lot of disentangling of what's

actually happening, and what the companies would like you

to believe is happening out there.

The other thing is buying phones in

the developing world.

Have any of you seen this handset before?

This is the new Motorola handset designed for the

developing world, and it's fantastic.

It's really good.

It uses e-ink for the screen.

It uses little [? parts. ?]

It's got two antenna in it, so you don't have to be close to

a base station.

But I tell you, no one is going to buy it.

Why would you buy a handset aimed at poor people?

So if the only thing you can buy in your life is this one

piece of technology, you're not going to aspire to the

crippled handset for poor people.

These guys are just the same as us.

There's no difference.

The same thing happened with Siemens in Europe a few years

ago, when they launched a phone for old people.

Right?

It has big buttons in the screen.

This is what old people want, right?

So they don't have to put their glasses on to read the

screen, but nobody bought it.

Because, would you--

yes, that's the phone for me.

Crusty old person phone.

Give me a phone.

Oh, free cardigan.

Fantastic.

So they re-marketed it, actually, as the big button

phone and they sold lots of handsets.

But it's the same mentality.

And so, if you go to a cell phone shop in Africa, what you

buy are not cell phones, but batteries.

Think about it.

All your old handsets are getting stolen or traded in or

whatever, but they end up in Africa.

And the first thing you're going to need is a new

battery, because the batteries are dead.

So you go to a cell phone shop and there are no actual

handsets for sale.

So this is a battery for a Siemens.

It comes with a 14 months guarantee--

which is misspelled--

guaranty.

Now if you imagine, when you go into these shops, there are

thousands of batteries, right?

So how do you choose?

Well, obviously, one with a 12 month guarantee is not as good

as one with a 14 month guarantee.

Even if there's no address, or if this thing blows up and

takes your hat off, there is no one to

sue, there's no address.

You're stuck.

Look at the packaging.

There's a little tin foil hexagon stuck on here to

emulate a hologram.

Right?

It's kind of cargo cult.

But my favorite bit is the free plastic cigarette.

Right?

The other major brand gives away free pens, but

pens are not cool.

Look at this guy.

You can see around his neck here, he's wearing his plastic

cigarette with pride.

So, for some reason, it took me a long while to figure out

what was going on, but it just so happens that in Zambia, at

the moment, it is really cool to have a plastic cigarette.

And so people were buying these batteries.

The other thing to notice is here is a hands free kit made

by the Bluetooth company.

Now, it is not Bluetooth.

There are big cables in here and it is for your--

for your Noki.

N-O-K-I. 3100, 7210, et cetera, which is a good mate

for a mobile phone.

AUDIENCE: So is it locally manufactured?

No, it's manufactured in China, and these local

importers have made this box for it.

AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] spelled mete mean?

GARY MARSDEN: If you said mate--

M-A-T-E--

with a Zambian accent, it would sound like mitt--

good mitt.

Finally, of course, if you can afford the battery, and you

have a little spare cash, you would want a new--

oh, oh, sorry.

Back up.

AUDIENCE: The end.

GARY MARSDEN: The end.

Well done.

Look at the packaging here, for the cases.

You want a new case because your phone is scuffed.

It's all white people, because again, it's an

aspirational thing.

I'm sorry, but this is just how is in Africa.

White people can afford good products, therefore if there's

a picture of a white person using that

product, it is good.

I mean, let's not get into the sociology and

the reasons for that.

It's terrible, but that's how stuff is marketed.

But if you look, these look like scenes from films, but

they're no films that I've ever seen.

And I carefully looked through all of them.

They're not actually taken from films, because someone

might get sued, then.

So it's constructed to look like people in movies.

Use these crappy covers for their cellphones.

Fascinating, look, I don't know what the

answer to this is.

I'm still kind of rolling it around in my head, but there

are all sorts of intricate understandings of the way

stuff works there, that just doesn't

happen here, for example.

And so that's where I was at, at the end of my sabbatical.

These are just some insights for you to mull over.

Another thing I thought I would show you is just some of

the projects that we work on, to give you a feel for the

kind of research that's being done there.

One of these is in conjunction with a charity called

Cell-Life, which sends out HIV workers to people who are HIV

positive to assess their needs of drugs and so on.

I know this student who is working with this charity.

He would go to a clinic and he would help the doctors build

these applications for the clinic's nurses to put on

their phone, so they could go out, ask

questions of the person--

ask about lesions, and weight, and stuff--

and then hit send, and then the doctor could post the

correct drugs to the patient.

It was a very efficient system.

But my student realized, actually, there isn't enough

time in the universe for him to go visit all these clinics,

so he built this system the allows nurses and doctors to

collect the data they want.

They basically draw little screens and they hit deploy,

and a compiles into a technology called [? WEG-- ?]

I don't know if you know this stuff--

that gets installed on your SIM card.

It's a SIM application, so it doesn't even need Java.

This is a standard--

the application cannot be bigger than something like 4k.

It was crazy.

But if you can fit what you need in 4k, it'll sit on the

SIM card and acts through the menu system of the phone.

I don't know, in the US, when you get a SIM card with your

service provider, often on your handset there appears a

menu from that service provider.

Have you seen it?

That's the same technology.

It's all the same.

And so, [? Minnear, ?]

he's built this thing and it's been given out to clinics.

The other thing we built is for photo sharing.

Remember I said about keeping all your photos in a handset?

Well, [? I have a nice ?]

project that's usually how you find the photographs.

But we saw guys-- do you want to see my family, and they

would pass around their handset.

So what you're seeing here on the screen are

three separate screens.

We did it on PDA so you can see it.

But the idea is if I want to show you my photos--

these are being broadcast over Bluetooth or WiFi

to the other handsets.

So as I'm describing what's happening, other people can

see, and as I pan around and touch things on the screen ,

or with the five way controller, that change is

being instantly reflected in other people's phones.

Now with the PDA version, the student who did this, Leo,

added a little drawing feature, and he thought it

would be fun to not impose any protocol.

In other words, there's no token passing.

Anyone can contribute at any time.

What we discovered is people started drawing mustaches on

each other, and playing.

And the evaluations--

we did it with friends, because we thought it would be

useful for storytelling amongst friends.

And sure enough, these guys loved it, to the point that--

when the evaluation was over, thank you very much-- no,

we're not going anywhere.

We want these.

Can we--

Give us back the--

So that was fascinating.

And the reason I'm telling you this is I would never have

thought of this if I lived here, in the developed world,

because I would share my photos over Flickr.

Put them on the internet, everybody can see them.

Or I put them on my laptop and spin my laptop around.

But if you have no laptop and you have no Flickr, how are

you going to share photos?

So that made us think of a design solution that's not

obvious, but yet, has relevance and traction here, I

think, as well if you could do this.

I've noticed this, myself, if I go out with my friends and

we take photos of something.

We will sit around afterwards and show each other the

photographs of the thing that we have just done together.

Do you do that?

So that's insane, right, on one level.

Yes, I know I was there.

But somehow there is a kind of bonding around that, and so

it's fun to do that.

The project that Andrew is working on at the moment is

building on this notion of people having--

as Dan was saying--

having cell phones, but no airtime.

Can't afford to use them.

We discovered that people have an interest in information in

their local area, in their village.

What Andrew did was built a system, whereby you have a big

plasma screen.

You got a phone?

Thanks.

and if I was interested in something, I would walk up to

the screen and take a photo of what I wanted.

Why would you do that?

Well all stuff that we've seen to date on this, where you

have a small phone interacting with a situated screen,

requires client software on the phone.

Right?

To either recognize visual tagging or to some link into

the internet.

But we set ourselves the design goal of, well can you

do it with no client software?

Because the people we're trying to get to are not going

to have-- it's not like they can

download it off the internet.

It's not going to work.

So what we eventually came up with is a system whereby you

walk up to the screen and take a photograph.

Now at that point, the phone usually says, do you want to

save this photograph or send it?

You hit send--

via Bluetooth--

and you send it to the screen.

Now the good news is if you have two devices that want to

communicate with Bluetooth--

normally have to pair them, right?

Type in the code.

Have you done this?

All right, but that's not going to work with six people.

OK, that's craziness.

The other standard solution is to spam content to people.

Does this happen in the USA yet?

In London, if you walk down Oxford Street, every so often

your phone goes, boo boo boo boop, and you go, accept

incoming Bluetooth message and it's some

crappy advert, right?

That irritates people.

But if you send a photograph to a

display, two things happen.

Firstly, the photograph is tagged with the unique ID of

your handset, so the system behind the screen now knows

who sent the thing-- what device sent the thing.

The second thing you do is you run image recognition on the

image that has just been sent.

And there you can see he wants information about what's

happening at the school and you can push back v-cards, or

videos, or documents, and the person now has it on the

handset for free.

No network connection involved, no

special client software.

As long as you know how to take a photo with your camera

phone, you're in good shape.

AUDIENCE: So it pushes it back--

GARY MARSDEN: It pushes back to one device.

The other thing is if you take a photo of something that is

not on the screen, you can contribute content.

So you send it up something, and the system goes, this

isn't something I know about.

OK.

So it just creates another little stack on the screen.

So let's say you're a plumber, you have no job, you up your

v-card onto the screen.

The next person comes-- ah, plumber.

Grab that, got the v-card in the phone, hello.

So there is this huge interest in local content and--

sorry.

In these projects, we involve an NGO called bridges.org.

If you help us understand the kind of social impact that

we're having with these interventions--

and they've got a list here, called

the real access criteria.

I could talk about those, but I won't because it

will take all day.

But one of them is for any successful project, it must

have local content.

And so, because I was coming here today--

to Google--

I was thinking, well, I think what we need in Africa is

Google Village.

Right?

Go with me here, people.

So this system I've just described to you it could be

financially viable.

So imagine you've got this big screen.

You section off a portion of the screen to a commercial, or

the government, or some organization who has a vested

interest-- who is willing to put money into getting

information to place, even one of the cell phone companies to

buy airtime off the screen, let's say--

so they pay for the screen and the PC.

You hook it into the network over a little GPRS card, and

then the village can upload and download and create its

own local store of information for that village.

Now I don't know how to do searching and retrieving--

OK, so--

I know some people who do in this room.

I just thought if you guys--

Matt, you said you are interested in getting into

these sort of develop--

Did you?

Maybe you didn't.

Maybe I misheard you.

AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE].

Yeah.

GARY MARSDEN: Yeah?

So these kind of developing world type things.

This is one thing I think that Google could do very well if,

ultimately, as a company you guys wanted to get into Africa

and do stuff.

AUDIENCE: I think the name's already been taken.

GARY MARSDEN: Google Village?

I thought this up two nights ago.

I thought it was a good thing.

[LAUGHTER]

AUDIENCE: It's been done.

GARY MARSDEN: It's been done, great.

My career is over.

[LAUGHTER]

Anyway, so that's just something to think about.

I don't know if I got.

AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]

Time, I'd say five to 10 minutes.

GARY MARSDEN: OK, well I'll use five more.

To just some other projects that we work on, which is,

we're trying to do internet banking.

I had this epiphany moment--

I was telling people about it at lunch time--

where I saw someone come up to a street trader and say, can I

buy this thing here?

And the trader said, yes, sure it's $5.

And the other guy said, can I pay you in airtime?

And the guy said, yeah, sure.

And so, in Africa, one of the networks--

MTN--

is this Me2U system where you can peer to peer transfer

money as airtime.

And so the guy went, beep beep beep beep beep beep, and the

trader went, beep, yes, there you go.

And so they move airtime around.

Now think about this.

People have been trying to do m-banking solutions forever,

and they start with banks.

These guys don't have banks.

They don't trust banks.

They don't want to know about banks,

because banks means tax.

That's not good.

But they trust the networks--

nice, friendly MTN, and Vodacom, and these people.

And there's no new interface.

They know how to load airtime.

They are just moving around airtime.

AUDIENCE: A question--

what's the smallest unit you can send?

GARY MARSDEN: $0.50.

$0.50.

That's how much an SMS costs.

AUDIENCE: It's an interesting micro [INAUDIBLE].

GARY MARSDEN: So you may think this is crazy, but people save

up to buy $0.50.

They skip the mail, save $0.50, and they can send an

SMS to their husband.

I just had this, ah, airtime is the new currency.

But unfortunately, I'm not an economist, and so it is an

idea I'm trying to understand.

I think if you want to launder money, it's a great idea.

AUDIENCE: $0.50 at a time?

GARY MARSDEN: $0.50 at a time.

Last two slides.

I want to educate on this crazy idea about getting rid

of computers in developing world universities.

Because all the students have cell phones already, and

computers are such big, complicated, expensive things.

I thought, well even if you lease high end cell phones to

the students where they can keep all their notes-- we

built a little system which is what this

thing is showing you.

Where, if you've got a laptop or WiFi, or Bluetooth, you

hoover up a slide deck.

It pushes it out to each of the clients in the room.

So you've got all the notes here.

If you need to work on the notes, or write an essay, you

take your cell phone along to the computer labs.

There are no computers, but there is a docking station, a

monitor, a keyboard--

do all your stuff.

Because the other big problem we have is the connectivity.

Our entire university of 17,000 students and 5,000

faculty has a 10MB link.

right?

That's 22,000 of us trying to use 10 meg.

So we want the students to stop looking at pornography,

or whatever else is clogging up.

So if you had to do all your searching through your cell

phone, you'd only really search for stuff that you

actually needed, I conjecture.

So that, I think, it would solve a couple of problems at

once, but my Vice Chancellor-- he just smiles.

Nice idea, Gary.

But some day I hope to find someone who will sponsor that.

And then, last project--

again, Olga--

interestingly enough, when she was in Cape Town worked with a

thing called the District Six Museum.

District Six is an area of Cape Town that was bulldozed

during apartheid because white, colored, and black

people lived there, happily together, and the government

said, that's not right.

Can't be dealing with that, and just moved in and

flattened the place.

So that area is still a field in center of Cape Town.

Everyone was so horrified by that act, no one built on it.

It's just so wrong.

So what we did is we worked with District Six Museum and

we've started to build a virtual environment of

District Six--

how it looked in the '60s from all the old stock photography.

In fact, based on work done at Stanford about volumetric

reconstruction from photographs.

But I thought how boring, to sit in a museum.

So what we did is we got cellphone--

well actually we got PDAs--

and we stuck GPS receivers on them, and tilt sensors.

And we built a time machine, right?

So you can go out to the field--

and this little window, the screen on the PDA--

acts as a peephole back in time.

Because of your GPS and tilt, you can see what was there at

five frames per second.

It's not really fully immersive yet, but you get the

idea and it's a nice technology for the future.

And so just to finish off--

I live in Africa.

It's a nice place to come and visit, and if any of you are

interested, I would be happy to chat to

you about the projects.

We've got a conference coming up which is designing

interactive systems in Cape Town in February.

So if any of you are into the design side, more, of

interfaces and so on, we'd love your submissions.

And if any of you know anyone, we'd love some sponsorship

because our chief sponsor resigned from his company

three days ago and so we're now without a sponsor.

And also, there's this really clever guy called Matt, who I

wrote a book with.

I talk about a lot of these projects in the last chapter--

we wrote stuff on developing world.

So if you're interested in these kind of developing world

aspects of mobile, that last chapter is a

good place to start.

It has lots of references and so on.

And that is my 30 minutes up, I see.

AUDIENCE: Thanks a lot.

GARY MARSDEN: Thank you.

[APPLAUSE]

MALE SPEAKER: We do have some time for discussion, so--

I'm keeping track of time, so you can just

start talking now.

[INAUDIBLE]

AUDIENCE: So you talk a lot about Bluetooth and taking

pictures with phones.

Do people really have advanced handsets?

I see a lot of very basic Nokia.

GARY MARSDEN: There's a lot of basic Nokia.

Most the ones, they have Bluetooth.

The camera phones are starting to come through now, and even

the Mp3 phones.

MALE SPEAKER: What's the [INAUDIBLE] process, so what

you're trying to do is you're trying think of creative

resource-efficient solutions for the next--

in two years time.

If you think of the cutting-edge stuff that

[UNINTELLIGIBLE] that's like, you're thinking like five,

six, seven years down the line.

[UNINTELLIGIBLE]

So you've got to work with the broad, easy base, and hope

that in a year or two's time that some Bluetooth camera

phones will kind of filter down to the market.

And then we'll be ready to create solutions for that

older technology.

GARY MARSDEN: I met this one poor guy who has six Mp3s on

his phone, and he is doomed to listen to those six Mp3s for

the rest of his life.

No PC or internet.

AUDIENCE: You said something in your [? Kai ?] talk that

was intriguing, I think intentionally provocative.

And it was basically, [UNINTELLIGIBLE]

really doesn't count.

Could you say a little bit more about why, for the people

who weren't there?

I think you made a very interesting argument for your

particular design problem space.

GARY MARSDEN: Yes, and I was intending to be provocative.

I said usability is irrelevant, and my rationale

for saying that is that's not the start of the process.

You need to start with understanding what people

actually need.

If you can give them something they need, or adds value to

their life, they will figure out how to use it.

And it's not like they have a lot of other distractions--

well that's not true-- they don't have a lot of other

technological distractions.

They have only this one thing.

They'll figure it out if it actually is useful.

I mean, sure, they've got to go and carry water, and all

those things, but it's not like, I don't have time to

figure out the internet and the TV and the jolly handset.

Right?

They just have a handset.

And as soon as someone figures it out, there is such a

community of use, everyone will know how to do it.

It's amazing.

Oh, look, you can do this, and tell all their friends.

And so the usability aspect is not that relevant, unless you

want to get published at Kai.

[LAUGHTER]

MALE SPEAKER: Just to follow up with that, watching people

do mobile applications in the developed world, and people of

commutes have no time to play around to find features.

It's a different thing.

It's not that they won't put up with

things that aren't usable.

But they will invest the time.

There's almost like, it's fun to spend some time finding

what this application will do.

I think we are trying to build things which promote that sort

of engagement because it locks them into the application a

bit later on.

So I think we can--

we can learn from--

it's a really nice interplay, learning from the emerging

world into our world, which is also emerging technologically.

AUDIENCE: [UNINTELLIGIBLE]

How do people choose their phones that they're buying?

What are the criteria they use, or do they market them?

GARY MARSDEN: Different people--

there's this notion when I was talking to people--

they want a strong handset.

Now there's no English equivalent to what they

actually mean, but by strong they mean it's got a good

battery life.

It's sufficiently thick, like Matt's razor,

here, is too thin.

Pick it up, hmmmm, no.

But if you have a brick phone, like a 5110, you know, these

old Nokias with the first xpress cell phones, people

laugh at you.

It's just a terrible social faux pas.

So there is--

the most popular handset is the Nokia

1100, with the torch.

Do you know this one?

It's black and white-- it's nice, got a torch on the top.

It's got a torch on the top.

That is a useful feature if your village has no

electricity.

MALE SPEAKER: I think one of the other things I picked up

in my field work was, it was really nice to be unique.

So the nurses I worked with when--

the handset I gave them had a nice color screen.

So that was a really important status item,

and it had a camera.

They could archive their family photos.

To stand out and be unique was an important thing.

AUDIENCE: That's an interesting point, I thought.

Before I ask him, does anybody else have a question?

AUDIENCE: I do, at some point.

I was actually wondering if people get into photo sharing,

like going on to the internet and downloading pictures to

their phones.

Or is it too advanced?

GARY MARSDEN: Well, in Cape Town they might, but for the

vast majority of Africa, there are no internet cafes.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

MALE SPEAKER: There is no internet here.

MALE SPEAKER: So the big thing I found was when someone like

the nurse they had there, they would have very important

family photos that they'd taken like of their child that

was back home, or their sister who was

working somewhere else.

And they would sit you down once you had met them and they

would say--

run you through this little presentation and they'd say,

this is my daughter, and this is my sister, and this is my

husband, and it was quite an important thing that you went

to that [UNINTELLIGIBLE].

As opposed to [INAUDIBLE]

downloading it off of computers.

AUDIENCE: So it was actually a little bit more personal?

MALE SPEAKER: Yeah, you've got it with you the whole time.

And when you meet people, out comes the phone, they go for

the family stories.

The Description of Mobile in Africa: Doing HCI Differently in the...