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Frugal Innovation Lab

Frugal Innovation Lab Blog

  •  Wikipedia Rolls Out Articles-via-SMS Service

    Welcome to the FrugalBlog, Connor O’Brien’s weekly compendium on frugal innovation, technology, entrepreneurship, and social justice. Send comments, criticism or ideas to

    Happy Monday, Frugal Friends!

    Wikipedia is revolutionizing the way emerging markets receive information by sending articles via text message.

    Audiophile Music Advisory: ASTR, "R U with Me"

    In a partnership with Bharti Airtel, the world’s third largest mobile telecommunications company and the pioneers of a disruptive business strategy that helped them to offer incredibly low rates to their consumers (2 cents / minute), Wikipedia is creating a pilot project in Africa that will allow users with non-data-enabled smartphones, the norm in Africa and most emerging markets, to access any article in the entire Wikipedia library.

    Article Link: Wikipedia pilots articles-via-SMA service to Africans

    In terms of “last-mile” coverage, this is a great step in the right direction towards breaking down barriers to access to information. We at the Frugal Lab believe in the power of mobile in emerging markets and have dedicated many of our resources to developing mobile, non-data-enabled solutions. Information on mFarm, one of our most recent endeavors, can be found below, but make sure to check out all the others at The Mobile Project Gallery.


    mFarm - Farmers in Kenya used to be isolated, with no information about other farmers and their crops and prices. Project mFarm [10] solved the problem by developing a system in which farmers can use their cellular phone to check information on local crops and prices, enabling them to make better business decisions. As Android phones become widespread in Africa, we have been working with mFarm to develop a more powerful Android interface for their system. Note that mFarm was created by a group of women.       

    Thanks again for reading, and as always comments, complaints, tips and suggestions can be sent to

    Have a great week!

    The Frugal Lab Team


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