Technology for Emerging Markets

Technology for Emerging Markets

Established: November 30, 2004

babyphontemThe Technology for Emerging Markets group seeks to address the needs and aspirations of people in the world’s developing communities. Our research targets people who are increasingly consuming computing technologies and services as well as those for whom access to computing remains largely out of reach.

TEM is a multidisciplinary group engaged in a range of technical and social-science research. By combining a variety of backgrounds and training, we are able to engage deeply with some of the complex problems associated with constraints in infrastructure and resources. Our goal is to study, design, build, and evaluate technologies and systems that are useful for people living in underserved rural and urban communities.

Based in Bangalore with Microsoft Research India, we work closely with a variety of partners, including NGOs, universities, government, and private companies. We also work with several groups within Microsoft, but our emphasis is on rigorous research and exploratory pilots rather than product, business, or partner development.

In addition, TEM has been fortunate to host some incredibly brilliant minds over the years:  TEM alumni

TEM Research

Broadly speaking, most of our research can be considered ICTD/ICT4D (Information and Communication Technology for Development). Our work is typically multidisciplinary and is motivated by questions of social relevance. At base, we believe that computing is a profoundly important tool that can be used to improve the lives of people around the world. Over the years TEM has engaged in research in a broad range of topics (some older work is here). Currently, our research can be loosely grouped into four broad areas:

Health, Health Organizations, and Health Education

rmf-spotcheck-thumbHow can information technologies be used to support health organizations, community health workers, and communities? We believe that computing can have a huge impact on improving the health of people in developing communities. Our interests include the design and implementation of systems for data collection, electronic and biometric medical records, health education tools, and systems to encourage healthy behaviors. In addition, we use ethnographic methods to study the assimilation of information technologies in health contexts.

Education

qcards2-thumbA long-time research interest for the group explores the use of computing in education. Research projects in this area span work with both formal and informal learning, addressing the needs of children, college students and adults. We examine how technology can enhance the educational experience of teachers and learners while recognizing the constraints that most organizations and schools face regarding budgets, user familiarity with technology, and challenging learning environments and infrastructure.

Human Computer Interaction

testingphones-thumbDesigners of interactive systems meet many unique challenges when working with developing communities. For instance, the standard techniques and methods of HCI often break down when faced with the variety of contexts and constraints of emerging markets in the developing world. HCI research in TEM seeks to understand: 1) How technology is used by and on behalf of people in a wide range of developing communities; and 2) How to design and evaluate systems that address their needs and desires.

Context & Critique

everydaymobiles2-thumbPeople and communities across the world use, are affected by, and can shape the evolution of information and communication technologies. Research at TEM draws on social-scientific and humanities approaches—particularly ethnographic methods—to explore tensions, opportunities, and complexities of sociotechnical systems in resource-constrained settings.

People

Microsoft Research blog

Sriram Rajamani squashed bugs on road to leadership role in Microsoft’s India research lab

By John Roach, Writer, Microsoft Research After a handful of years writing code for the telecommunications and design automation industries, computer bugs got the best of Sriram Rajamani. He witnessed firsthand how poorly constructed code caused programs to crash and swung doors open for hackers. “I saw how difficult it was to build real software and real computer systems that work reliably and perform in a way that helps users and society,” says Rajamani, who…

November 2016

Microsoft Research Blog

Battling TB Using Microsoft Technology

By Microsoft News Center Giri Prasad, a 33-year-old tailor who lives in Delhi, first noticed the pain below his ribs. He went to see a doctor, but when it didn’t subside, he traveled to the hospital where he eventually learned he had tuberculosis. “There were many problems because first and foremost, I am the bread earner for the family,” he says. “If the bread earner falls ill, it is a real problem for those who…

December 2012

Microsoft Research Blog

A Simple Way to ‘Poll’ Students

By Douglas Gantenbein, Senior Writer, Microsoft News Center In a classroom near Bangalore, India, young students packing a classroom eagerly wave sheets of white paper covered with black symbols. They aren’t misbehaving—they are participating in a test of new educational technology pioneered by a team at Microsoft Research India. Those paper sheets could offer an inexpensive method of improving classroom teaching and student participation throughout the developing world. The technology is a new approach to classroom…

June 2012

Microsoft Research Blog

CHI ’09: Computing with a Human Touch

By Rob Knies, Managing Editor, Microsoft Research Historically, Microsoft Research has had a big footprint during CHI, the annual conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction—and this year’s 27th gathering is no exception. More than 12 percent of the papers accepted for this year’s conference—25 of the 204 to be presented to more than 2,000 attendees from 43 countries April 4-9 at…

March 2009

Microsoft Research Blog

Microsoft Researchers at Intersection of Science and Art

By Rob Knies, Managing Editor, Microsoft Research Life, a great man once said, is what happens while you’re busy making other plans. And sometimes, it appears, so is art. Three members of Microsoft Research can attest to that. The three, based on different continents and each pursuing accomplishments in widely divergent fields, found themselves improbably grouped recently in an exhibit in New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), organized by Paola Antonelli, senior curator in…

March 2008

Microsoft Research Blog