ICT4D and Ridiculous Ideas like 4P Computing
Wayan Vota, dreamt up the idea of 4P computing and it got onto the ICT4D article on wikipedia. It seems that to him, ICT4D works best on equipment which is low on power, high on performance, very portable and has a low cost (price) associated with ownership. These are the 4 "p"s. But they are not derived objectively. Instead Vota in his blog looks at attributes on which the OLPC and similar solutions score well and then postulated these are the right criteria for ICT4D equipment.
This is however not necessarily the case. Portability is often seen as a negative point in development projects. Telecentres for instance would like their computers to stay where they are. Also performance is often only a factor if there is a comparison (i.e. a better machine in the lab tends to be used more heavily, but otherwise, as long as it works people don't care much). Further, the equation does not include networking and communications potential. The Internet is a very big component of ICT4D equipment which is ignored in this equation. BTW, the Internet also inculcates patience as bandwidth is often very very low in ICT4D situations.
Anyhow, 4P computing is an idea that fits well in a comparison matrix, but doesn't do the entire field merit for its complexity.
Another comparison is available from ComputerAid.org.
May 10th 2009 10:36