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IT and ethnography

Evgenie Rudometov

In St.-Petersburg the round desktop for journalists on which experts of Intel have told about ethnographic researches led by corporation has taken place

For four ten years of the existence Intel company has transited path from the small corporation to huge corporation. To her name link a considerable quantity of the various chips installed in hundreds millions of arrangements. But Intel is known not only as the industrial company having modern semiconducting firms on which million circulations make the most complicated chips. Now Intel is the largest research company, in 75 which centres of science work more than 7000 scientists and engineers. At these centres new chips, processing techniques and the standards quite often defining development of all computer branch are developed.

However, estimating reachings of high technologies, it is impossible to forget, that all of them are created for people who live in different locales, in the different countries with different cultures, customs, religions. For the purpose of maximum adapting of reachings of high technologies taking into account all ethnographic conditions and features of their maintenance on places in Intel corporation in 1997 the anthropological and ethnographic research division has been created.

The given division studies experience of implantation and usage of new IT processing techniques in the different countries, and also the inevitable difficulties arising on this path linked to different cultures, customs, religions. The registration of these circumstances allows is frictionless with features of ethnoses to insert the newest processing techniques, bringing maximum effect to users, enriching spiritual and intellectual possibilities.

The round desktop for the press devoted to ethnographic researches of Intel, led in the different countries of the world has been devoted the given subject. On the given action with the short report has appeared Fransuaza Burdonne (Francoise Bourdonnec), the head of Domestic Designs and Technologies Research command as a part of division Digital Home Group of corporation of Intel (the Photo 1). She has told about led researches and some results.

Photo 1. Performance Fransuazy Burdonne, the head of Domestic Designs and Technologies Research command

So, what such ethnography? It is a branch of anthropology which uses a wide spectrum of processing techniques, metodology and ways of researches in tendency to understand culture of people. The ethnography is a qualitative studying of culture of that people do. Its main method – observation: interview, questioning, writing of the histories handled by word of mouth, involvement in social activity of people on purpose to understand, that occurs in a human society "actually". Such type of observations and researches helps to realise better results of traditional researches of the market, and the concept of similar observations is grounded on a method of "deep imbedding» that means involvement in all occupations of people that it is better to understand them. By means of ethnographers implementators of computing processing techniques add daily experience of people in the products, upgrade traditional business models, integrating in them human aspects of usage of processing techniques and the Internet.

Ethnographic researches use engineers of Intel as a sight from the outside on production developed by them, help to develop usage models, the scenario usage and even appearance of products. The set of qualitative requirements to a product will be transformed to quantitative engineering characteristics. If in product engineering process some technical parametres do not manage to be reached, it is possible to try to return back - on level of universal requirements to a product 

One of most vivid examples of productivity of ethnographic researches in Intel corporation is the platform Community PC which has arisen on the basis of intensive ethnographic researches, Intels led by employees in rural areas of India. First of all, ethnographers have revealed real requirement for processing techniques. At the same time researches have shown, that weather conditions of underdeveloped countries and accident-sensitive power supplies superimpose certain requirements of the architecture and konstruktiv the PC.

After careful studying of all possible models of usage and finding-out of possibilities and limitations usage of computers in rural areas of India platform Community PC has been developed. The arrangement is fulfilled in especially strong tank, characterised low energopotrebleniem (less than 100 W). Incorporates a special unit of power supply (the integral element, the uninterruptible power supply, can work from the automobile secondary generator), possibility of remote diagnostics is provided.

And still researches have shown, that in the Indian villages the Internet booth model is claimed and popular. These booths are serviced by local businessmen and give to inhabitants of villages access to Internet-services for the purpose of occupancy of necessary helps and documents that saves time and money, in the conditions of bad roads and remoteness from centre. Usage of such booths and for a telemedicine starts.

As other examples of ethnographic researches features of the computer market of rural areas of China have been resulted. There in families cheap computers with limitation of access on Internet sites undesirable to children are claimed. In addition to it there is a requirement for the special resources of input providing a spelling of the Chinese hieroglyphs.

Have not done without ethnographic researches and personal computers of pupils — Classmate PC, allowing since the early childhood to join reachings of high technologies.

Thus, it is possible to tell with confidence, that ethnographic researches of Intel became the real factor of creation of new platforms and arrangements.

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