Towards Next Generation Mobile Applications for MOPS: Investigating emerging patterns to derive future requirements
Social Life Networks
The next generation of social networks-social life networks (SLNs)-could become a powerful force for individual well-being and economic growth. In particular, SNLs in emerging economies could provide timely access to essential resources such as healthcare, transportation, education, and water. The authors outline requirements for SLNs and the challenges of realizing these next-gen social networks.
Social Life Networks for Middle of the Pyramid
A Model for Enhancing Empowerment in Farmers using Mobile Based Information System
Farmers living in rural villages of Sri Lanka do not have proper access to information to make informed decisions about their livelihoods and as a result they face constant hardships in their lives. They use mobile phones to communicate but these are not currently connected to the Internet. We are investigating how to provide personalized information to farmers with the aim of empowering them to make informed decisions and take appropriate actions. In this paper we propose an empowerment model that has been designed to achieve their goals which have been identified using a scenario-based approach. The model examines several empowerment processes and supporting tools that would help them to achieve their goals with the hope that they would have an increased sense of control, self-efficacy, knowledge and competency. This empowerment model is applied to the development of a mobile based information system that is being developed by an international collaborative research group to address the issues of the farmers.
Towards using ICT to Enhance Flow of Information to aid Farmer Sustainability in Sri Lanka
Farmers need information at all stages of the farming life cycle to make optimal decisions. The required information includes not only prior knowledge but also real time (dynamic) information such as market prices and current production levels. Some valuable information needed by the farmers is produced by government organizations and is available in different locations in different formats. Although farmer is the most important stakeholder in agriculture, there has not been much effort to provide the essential information to farmers on a real time basis. This lack of information is creating many difficulties for farmers as they are not being able to make the correct decisions relating to their farming activities. Through field studies we have identified information required by farmers at various stages of the farming cycle and official sources where this information is available. Next we developed an information flow model that connects various information sources to farmers’ information needs. Based on these findings we are now developing a mobile phone based information system to deliver the required information to farmers in real time.
User Centered Scenario based Approach for Developing Mobile Interfaces for Social Life Networks
In recent years the explosive growth of smartphones and the evolution of mobile communication networks have certainly revolutionized the way how people communicate and access information. This revolution is even more tangible in developing countries where mobile devices are becoming the preferred way to access services for their daily activities. In this context, the development of mobile applications in the areas of health, education, agriculture, and mobile banking become a crucial factor. Unfortunately, the development process presents non-trivial human and technological challenges. The goal of our research is to support people living in developing countries to improve their lives. In particular we focused our attention on assisting farmers from rural zones of Sri Lanka in optimizing their crops.
A Holistic Mobile based Information System to Enhance Farming Activities in Sri Lanka
Building Social Life Networks through Mobile Interfaces‒ the Case Study of Sri Lanka Farmers
Architecture for Social Life Network to Empower People at the Middle of the Pyramid
We have designed an architecture for a mobile based information system to empower people in the middle of the pyramid (MOP). MOPs is now half of the world’s population has only a mobile phone to get connected to the Internet. They need applications to enhance their livelihood activities. These applications need to provide information on rapidly changing dynamic situations such as fluctuations in market prices, prevailing supply and demand situation for their produce as well as more stable information such as information on seeds, pests, weather patterns, soil types etc. Our architecture is designed to provide dynamic information by aggregating micro-blogs, status updates and data from sensors. It also has connections to established data sources and websites to provide more stable information and tools for empowerment.
An Ontological Approach to Meet Information Needs of Farmers in Sri Lanka
Farmers in Sri Lanka are badly affected by not being able to get vital information required to support their farming activities in a timely manner. Some of the required information can be found in government websites, agriculture department leaflets, and through radio and television programs on agriculture. Due to its unstructured and varied format, and lack of targeted delivery methods, this knowledge is not reaching the farmers. Therefore, this knowledge needs to be provided not only in a generic way, but also in a context-specific manner. To address this shortcoming an international collaborative research project was launched to develop a Social Life Network to provide necessary information to farmers using mobile devices. Agricultural information has strong local characteristics in relation to climate, culture, history, languages, and local plant varieties. These local characteristics as well as the need to provide information in a context-specific manner made us to develop an ontology for agriculture. In this paper we present the approach we used to derive contextual information related to the farmers and the ontological approach that we developed to meet information needs of the farmers at various stages of the farming life cycle.
Farmer Response towards the Initial Agriculture Information Dissemination Mobile Prototype
Designing a Farmer Centred Ontology for Social Life Network
Rapid adoption of mobile phones has vastly improved access to information. Yet finding the information within the context in which information is required in a timely manner is a challenge. To investigate some of the underlying farmer centric research challenges a large International Collaborative Research Project to develop mobile based information systems for people in developing countries has been launched. One major sub project is to develop a Social Life Network; a mobile based information system for farmers in Sri Lanka. Lack of timely information with respect to their preferences and needs to support farming activities is creating many problems for farmers in Sri Lanka. For instance, farmers need agricultural information within the context of location of their farm land, their economic condition, their interest and beliefs, and available agricultural equipment. As a part of this project we investigated how we can create a knowledge repository of agricultural information to respond to user queries taking into account the context in which the information is needed. Because of the complex nature of the relationships among various concepts we selected an ontological approach that supports first order logic to create the knowledge repository. We first identified set of questions that reflect various motivation scenarios. Next we created a model to represent user context. Then we developed a novel approach to derive the competency questions incorporating user context. These competency questions were used to identify the concepts, relationships and axioms to develop the ontology. Initial system was trialled with a group of farmers in Sri Lanka. There was universal agreement among the farmers participated in the field trial to varying degree (strongly agree, agree, moderately agree) to the question “All information for the crop selection stage is provided”.
Context Modelling, Content Aggregation for Social Life Networks
It is extremely useful to have right information at the right time. Social Life Networks (SLN) extend the capabilities of current social networks by combining them with the technological advances now found in Smartphones that include myriad of sensors and multimedia input and output capabilities to provide essential information to support livelihood activities. The challenge is to provide this information within the required context. For this we need to model the context by acquiring the physical data to provide meaningful abstractions with respect to the application domain and the needs of the users. We have developed a physical context model based on user profile, location, time and activity and a mapping to match the logical context of various data sources from which we can get the required information. Based on this model we have developed a SLN for farmers in Sri Lanka to provide agricultural information in the context of farming life cycle stages, location of their farm land, cultivation season and other economic parameters. In the field trails there was unanimous agreement among farmers that this application is very useful for them because they were able to get the required information in context.