Keepod – Bridging The Digital Divideby Anna Kopito | 20.01.15
Keepod is an amazingly innovative startup that devotes itself to solving the fundamental issue of providing computer access to the 5 billion people living without. With over 70% of the world’s population lacking basic use of a personal computer, Keepod bridges the gap by removing the necessity of every person owning their own computer.
The solution? By placing an Android based operating system (OS) on a simple USB device, the software and hardware needed to successfully run a computer are separated. Keepods run on unused and refurbished computers, which can then be shared by many – no more need for a computer per person. This creates an affordable (a Keepod device costs only $7) and accessible way to improve access to personal computing. Keepods are distributed globally to some of their many successful social impact projects. By partnering with local NGOs and local organisations, it is ensured that they have maximum effect on the incumbent community, even training local staff and computer technicians.
This is a surprisingly simple answer to a big problem. By placing essential infrastructure on a portable, inexpensive device, Keepod answers an important question of security that’s found in the developing world, as well as allowing multiple users to share the same computer – significantly reducing environmental footprint issues. As an added bonus, the OS also works perfectly both on and offline, which can be a godsend in areas with spotty connectivity.
The results speak for themselves, as of now Keepod currently has 10 existing social projects, 5 of which have been successfully fully funded and implemented with more projects in the pipeline. In particular, the Keepod Mathare Community Center continues to expand its reach and looks exceptionally promising for the future of the community that it serves.
So, how can you help? Keepod works off of crowd-funding, making it easy for admirers to Give a $7 Keepod or netbook to one of their projects. Additionally, and currently in beta mode, Keepod allows individuals to open “Keepod points” – giving people the power to distribute devices locally, an intriguing exercise in grassroots engagement. With applicants from over 80 countries, the expansion of the company has the potential for massive global implications – in the best way possible.
Keepod is based in the UK, with also an office, next to us, at Mindspace, Tel Aviv.
Written by Rebecca Roberts