Specialized PDAs. Specialized PDAs (personal digital assistants) have been used for a number of years (since around 1995) to reduce the burden of paper based data in mobile situations. Organizations like Federal Express and UPS were early adopters of this specialized technology, and it has been adopted for many applications where accuracy and speed are important (for example inventory control). The use of a PDA is cost effective when labor costs are high and the use of data has a high value. PDAs are rarely low enough in cost to be of advantage in low wage settings ... but they have been deployed by AID agencies using grant funding even though the sustainability of their use is near zero.
Mobile phones. Mobile phone technology has produced a paradigm shift in communication. The deployment of cellphone technology has been very rapid, and a very good example of a low cost technology producing a very high value ... and marketed in ways that have made the service affordable to customers in a broad range of economic circumstances. Mobile phones have both data and analog capabilities, and this enables both text or data transmission and image capture and transmission. It is unclear how much of these technologies can be deployed immediately, but it is clear that rapid change is happening.
Social network web architecture. Social network web architecture is changing how people interact, and how knowledge is used. In general most of the data moving around social networks are of little management value, but this can change. The same data architecture that links people with people may also be used to link problem to solution and the resources needed for everything to come together.
Village bus data transfer. While most systems that have been developed have been for markets that are rich and where profits can be made, there are emerging systems that are designed to bring value to communities in the very least cost manner. Community focus data can move in and out of a community using methods other than Internet broadband ... as for example the village bus data transfer system, where data are moved from a community based system to a traveling intermediary system and on to a central datastore.