By Max Clarke

Non Governmental Organisations are using their influence in the developing world to promote smartphones to communities so they can benefit from their technology.

Foremost technological market research firm, Strategy Analytics’ Emerging Markets Communications Strategies arm have documented the rise in the use of advanced mobile technology by NGO staff on location in a publication “Second Screen Prospects in Developing Countries: The NGO Market.”

“When the mayor of El Negrito,” observed Strategy Analytics, “a small village in Honduras, saw a volunteer from Water for People use an Android smartphone to capture data about the community water supply, he immediately started thinking about ways to use such devices in tax collection. This kind of real life demonstration of capabilities is helping promote awareness and use of advanced devices in the developing world.

“NGOs have an influence that is disproportionate to their size as a market,” says Tom Elliott, Director of EMCS and the author of the report. “By using devices and services in a wide variety of applications, they create a lot of exposure among potential government and business users, as well as consumers.”

Smartphone use in the West has risen ecponentially and are now owned by 1 in 3 UK adults, and the use of internet ready devices in general is forecast to outstrip the human population within the next decade.

With their cost falling, the technology offers real benefits to communities across the world.

NGOs play an increasingly important role in many developing countries, as they assist governments in providing essential services. They act as local conduits for international aid from donor nations, as well. “The NGO vertical market may not be huge,” notes Andrew Brown, Director of Strategy Analytics Wireless Enterprise Strategies (WES) service, “but when they use a tool, a lot of people see them using it and realize its usefulness.”

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