Social Enterprise – Part 7

Presented by: Center for Balanced Development

 

Focus: Communication, Telecom & Media

 

Conceptual Framework:

 

History and Background

Telecommunications has come a long way since the days of smoke signals and talking drums to the first message by wire transmitted in the May of 1844 between Washington and Baltimore. Meanwhile, the invention of telephone and telegraph added a new dimension to the process of social-economic development and the advent of radio & television followed by computer networks, internet and cell-phones in recent decades has brought the global community together at an amazingly fast pace.

 

Present Status & Needs

Today, we communicate and get information from across the globe in a matter of seconds through radio, television, internet, telephone and wireless phone networks. Telecom and media is now available in the remote villages and large cities and the speed of the development and change is incredibly fast. We are now using telecom devices for information, banking, shopping, commerce and variety of applications. In fact, the development the telecom industry is changing the way we do things and our traditional concepts and lifestyle. With the constant inventions and innovations, there are lots of opportunities for initiating a social enterprise in telecom and media. Whether we are trying to address the need in poor regions and developing countries who need access to telecom and media or whether we are meeting the need for useful content and educational applications for the use of telecom and media devices, the field is wide open while history is being made.    

 

Future Outlook

Although there are concerns about the extremely fast development of telecom devices and services in terms of its over-usage by the youth and the impersonal nature of modern communication and over-reliance on cell-phones and text message as a replacement for socializing and face-to-face conversation, however, the expansion of the telecom industry and media around the world is a key element of modern social-economic development. There are endless various applications and possibilities that the wireless phones and satellite broadcasts offers in terms of education, production and services that otherwise would be very difficult to achieve. Telecomm and media is bound to enrich our lives and bring us together as a global community. It can potentially offer a variety of options in proper utilizations and management of our human and natural resources globally.      

 

 

Application for Social Enterprise Focused on Telecom & Media:

 

Mobile Phone

The various applications of wireless phones, mobile phones, cell-phones or other names being used for the device, are expanding constantly which offers endless possibilities for all kinds of social enterprise. Aside from the mobility factor and being able to communicate on the move, the mobile phones and its connection to the internet or local network can provide information, offer entertainment, facilitate commerce and banking services as well as being a GPS system and global mapping device, an emergency tool in times of disaster and all the other applications, services and innovations that are being developed by entrepreneurs all over the world. For example in the villages of Bangladesh the Grameen Bank www.grameen.com has initiated a micro-lending programs where the social entrepreneur can set up table with a couple of cell-phones and the villagers who otherwise cannot afford the phones or the monthly service, can make calls or check information per usage.

With the fast development of more efficient cell-phones and better service networks like 3G and 4G, there are tremendous number of cell-phones that need to be recycled which is a great opportunity for lots of social enterprise initiatives.          

 

Internet and E-mail

The advent of internet has changed the way we live and has added a new chapter to the progress of human civilization. Today, through access to internet, we have access to massive amounts of information which keep increasing constantly. We are able to manage our human and natural resources unlike anything we have witnessed throughout the written history. We are connected to all parts of the world and are able to communicate instantly with millions of individuals and organizations and get updates on events, news and developments via various media and ordinary people who are able to give audio/visual report as things unfold in real time. So the possibilities for initiating a social enterprise is tremendous. Whether we choose to provide a perspective or opinion to connect with others, whether we focus on giving information to educate those that need to know, whether we facilitate a project or a program and create opportunities for a social enterprise and whether we are able to create a system to facilitate commerce and trade through the internet, the use of this medium has incredible potential and it is limited to our imagination. Currently over 1 billion people around the world have access to internet or know how to use the internet and E-mail and this number keep increasing on daily basis.       

One area where social entrepreneurs can initiate programs could be in tutoring and educating the masses on using the internet and E-mail. Internet also has a lot of negative and damaging content that should be avoided and that’s another area where social entrepreneur can provide guidance and options to parents and children.

 

Radio & Television

The modern media and particularly, radio and television are huge sources of information and education for the majority of people around the world. However, this very powerful medium is primarily used for showing violence, conflicts, destruction, contention and human degradation in the name of drama and entertainment. For the most part, the content of our movies, music, dance, shows and artwork seem to be negative and does not help to uplift, enlighten, empower self or connect with society and have a successful career. For a social enterprise focusing on creation, production and promotion of the arts that helps the process of community building, provides education, offers revenues to the artists and helps to create a better and healthier environment can be very popular since we all strive for those opportunities and values. The same kind of programs can also be focused on science and technology in terms of innovations, inventions and discoveries that can help the development social relations, economic efficiency and ecological balance. PBS www.pbs.org in the United States is a great source of good programming with a wide variety of wonderful programs for children, youth and adults.    

Print Media

Newspapers and magazines traditionally have been the primary source of information prior to the development of internet and modern media. However, in recent years with the development of electronic readers like KINDLE www.amazon.com, NEXUS play.google.com, & iPAD www.apple.com/ipad/ with access to internet and lots of options… more and more people switch to these new devices which are much more efficient and in terms of ecology, help us save lots of trees that otherwise would have been used to print newspapers, magazines and books.  

 

Implications of a Social Enterprise Focused on Telecom & Media:

 

Social

Telecom and media are great tools that can help bring us closer together across the globe, educate the masses in useful knowledge, create a positive outlook, bring hope, improve our lives and be cause human well-being and happiness. As we get to know each other better and understand the communities and cultures of the world, there is greater awareness of social harmony, peace, stability and prosperity. We are better understanding the inter-dependant nature of our global community. Telecom and media are bound to help improve human understanding and social relations across the globe and a major part of that work need to be achieved through the efforts of social entrepreneurs who take on the task of initiating programs and projects that would help us reach that goal – a united world.  

 

Economic

Telecom and media contribute to economic efficiency and productivity. The ever-increasing usage of E-mail, The popularity of teleconferencing, the fast expansion of online studies, open university and education through media, the massive online market, the usage of online banking …etc. are some of the ways telecom and media are helping towards a more dynamic global economy. The sales of telecom & media gadgets and services are another area of tremendous economic growth and expansion. Looking at the trends in the past few years and considering the need for telecom and media, the trend for more sales and expansion of new technologies in the coming years seem to be on the rise.  

 

Ecological

The fast expansion of telecom frequency and radiation seem to be gradually emerging as an issue that might be affecting the users’ health if used for extended periods of time. Watching TV for long hours also seem to be another health concern. However, the greatest ecological concern is regarding the recycling of old cell-phones and media gadgets.      

 

In conclusion, telecom and media contributions to social –economic development is tremendous. Today, for the first time in the history of civilization, we are connected together as a global community and quality of that connection gets better with new technology and innovation. Truly, the evolution of human species and our ability to experience higher levels of intelligence and collective consciousness has entered a new stage. In this process, we have the possibility of participating as players and social entrepreneurs to futher advance the process of development and the progress of civilization.  

 

For more information, please contact: info@cbdus.org