MXShare: Cloud Phones for the World’s Poorest

MXShare was mentioned in passing by Richard Heeks in “ICT4D Manifesto,” but this exciting technology deserves more attention from our class. Developed by Movirtu and patented by Nigel Waller, MXShare allows individuals who cannot afford a mobile phone to own a cloud phone, accessible from any mobile or land-line using a unique PIN.

The detractors I read considered MXShare a flashy re-brand of calling cards, but there are a few unique differences, the most important being that MXShare users can receive messages and calls tied to the cloud number. A better conceptualization would be to think of Mxshare as a SIM card that can be popped in to any phone to access the days messages and make and receive calls. This is a great program because it is simple, useful, and takes advantage of technology already widely in use. In addition, mobile owners receive a small credit every time they allow an MXShare user to use their phone, which fosters community involvement and creates a positive cycle for cloud and physical phone users.

Overall, it is the simplicity of this program which excites me; it addresses a need and improves access to the most impoverished without the need for government grants, extensive training, or infrastructure development.

Recently, Hewlett-Packard partnered with Movirtu to increase access to MXShare: http://tinyurl.com/97v3rwo.

An in-depth look at the technology can be found in their patent application here: http://tinyurl.com/8ckfmvp.

The company that developed and implemented the system can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/9pb9exy.

The implementation of the technology is being studied in Kenya: http://tinyurl.com/8o6v2ka (Page is in French).

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2 responses to “MXShare: Cloud Phones for the World’s Poorest

  • pkrause439

    This is very interesting. I wonder if those who would use this technology even have access to cell phone service? I am not sure, but I would guess that the poorest communities are those least likely to have service. Still an interesting way for many people to be able to keep records of contacts and phone calls without having direct access to their own physical phones.

  • dlach

    I would have to agree with Phil’s sentiments regarding its availability to different demographics. However, I am particularly interested in this program because it seems to have a unique combination of implementing brand new technology with MXShare, while still integrating existing phone lines. I think that this unique program could provide innovation, yet still appeal to less tech-savvy demographics, curbing a potential digital divide.

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