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Ericsson to launch mobile Innovation Center in Africa

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Ericsson says that it will establish an Innovation Center in sub Saharan Africa to develop mobile applications that will benefit society as a whole, but with a special focus on meeting the needs of poor and rural populations. The Ericsson Innovation Center will include three application development hubs, in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya.

At first, the Innovation Center will concentrate on mobile applications, such as m-health, where great efficiency gains stand to be made. These applications will, for example, enable health workers to gather, monitor and share data on things like births, deaths and epidemics, and to use smart mobile decision support tools in their daily work. Other applications will relate to education, agriculture, business development, finance, government services and the overall improvement of communication capabilities.

The Innovation Center will also develop business cases that enable network operators to introduce and expand mobile broadband services in Africa and other emerging markets, with an emphasis on developing affordable, sustainable applications and services for rural communities.

Jan Embro, President of Ericsson in sub-Saharan Africa, says: "Mobile communication significantly improves quality of life, providing the tools to deliver enormous socio-economic benefits to people in developing countries. Connectivity helps to offset a lack of resources, particularly in rural areas, and provides access to a range of services, including education and healthcare.

"More than 90 percent of new mobile subscriber growth will be in emerging markets. The Innovation Center will employ local expertise, and encourage the creation of sustainable business models and applications relevant to Africa and other emerging markets."

The Innovation Center also builds on Ericsson's global experience from the Gramjyoti project, which brought a range of services including telemedicine, m-learning and m-governance to rural communities in India, as well as the Alokito Bangladesh project, which brought high-speed, internet-enabled mobile learning and healthcare to the region of the capital, Dhaka.

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Tags: rural  ericsson  mobile broadband  health  smart mobile  Nigeria  South Africa  Kenya