Technology for Emerging Markets

Technology for Emerging Markets

Exploring how information and communication technology accelerates, enhances and impacts the social and economic development of people, communities and countries.

At Microsoft, researchers in technology for emerging markets are designing, building and evaluating tools, services and platforms that boost health, education and incomes for technologically underserved rural and urban communities. The research targets ways to erode cultural, resource and infrastructure barriers that limit the role of computing technologies in emerging markets.

In addition to computer scientists, group members are trained in cultural anthropology, sociology, political science, economics and psychology – disciplines that are used to probe the social context and relevance of technology within communities and among individual users.

The technology for emerging markets group works across Microsoft and the company’s research labs to advance its research agenda. The group is spearheaded from the Microsoft Research India lab, which provides direct access to the people and communities that the team and its collaborators from aid organizations, corporations and government institutions hope to serve. The real-world, on-the-ground context for pioneering research on information and communication technology for development provides a tailwind for success as the group’s tools, services and platforms are deployed in emerging markets worldwide.

Focus areas



Improving the health of people in developing communities with computing technology, services and systems that enable digital record keeping, ensure adherence to medication and encourage the adoption of healthy behaviors.


Exploring how technology such as online videos and innovative hardware can enhance education in schools and communities where learning environments are constrained by limited budgets, high student-to-computer ratios and variable levels of teaching resources.

Human Computer Interaction

Designing and evaluating technology and systems that address the needs and desires of people in developing communities such as interfaces that are intuitive to low-literate users and tools that blend familiar and new technologies to smooth the transition to digital life.

Context and Critique

Drawing on social science and the humanities to explore the tensions, opportunities and complexities of technology in resource-constrained settings such as how the flow of digital information empowers micro enterprises and the influence of new media on family life.