Workshop at the 2011 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work
March 20, 2011 - Hangzhou, China
Content presented or generated at the workshop now available!
One broad class of mobile applications is those that facilitate collaboration, and we imagine that such applications will have a large impact on the developing world. For example, in the developing world mobile collaboration technologies might help knowledge sharing among farmers, sales coordination among small commodity vendors, collaborative learning among village youth, and family-based health care monitoring for the elderly. As most users are not IT experts and they vary in many respects, such as language and technology literacy, one of the challenges is to design and develop consumable collaboration services that can be easily leveraged by the masses (e.g., illiterate users, farmers, and migrant workers alike). If we believe that voice communication and text messaging are the two most used mobile collaboration services today, one interesting question is what would be the next mass-consumable “killer” mobile collaboration service(s) and what factors (e.g., mobile technologies and national culture) would influence the development of such applications/services.
In addition to aiding collaboration between people who already know that they want to collaborate, another interesting area would be to leverage mobile devices to facilitate opportunistic collaboration, which is to help people identify collaboration opportunities unknown in advance. In many situations, people may not have sufficient knowledge about others whom they would like to connect and collaborate with. For example, an orange farmer may want to know about the side effect of applying a pest control substance to her orange grove; or a migrant worker may want to find a new employer to suit his preferred working schedule. However, they may not know where or whom they could get information from, especially when the information provided by a generic service is inadequate. Although researchers in the area of social recommender systems have started to tackle this problem, none of the existing efforts has taken into account the characteristics of mobile devices that would most likely used by people in such situations. For example, it would be interesting to explore whether one’s location information provided by mobile devices could facilitate opportunistic collaboration, and determine which other information provided by mobile devices could help but without sacrificing one’s privacy.
Not only do citizens of the developing world use mobile phones to connect with their fellow citizens, but they may also use mobile devices to communicate with people in the rest of the world. For example, a Chinese businessman in the fashion business may negotiate a contract with a U.S. retailer via mobile phone; and an African farmer may talk to a Chinese farming equipment supplier to arrange a shipment. However, cultural differences, including communication styles and language barriers, may prevent an effective collaboration between them. It would be interesting to examine the barriers systematically and explore innovative way to facilitate such cross-cultural collaboration via mobile devices.
Overall, we would like to achieve three goals: (1) brainstorm and identify next-generation mobile collaboration applications and services for people in the developing world, (2) identify key research challenges in creating such applications or services, and (3) identify new cross-topic collaboration opportunities as well as test beds to develop and deploy research ideas. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
Next-generation Mobile Collaboration Applications