Daniel STERN <email@example.com>
This paper presents timely, simple, and inexpensive means for an emerging nation to meet the development challenge: train-the-trainer programs for capacity building, and wireless -- HF/VHF/UHF radio data networks for rural, and spread spectrum for urban -- Internet connectivity, to meet the need for universal access.
The author will describe his experiences with the Information and Communications Technologies-based train-the-trainer program used by Uganda Connect, and offer the scheme as a reproducible and sustainable model.
At our workshops in Uganda's Ministry of Education we discovered that the need for capacity building was closely linked with the need for effective affordable telecommunications. Though Uganda had had full Internet access since 1995, few could connect because of either the high local telephone costs or want of connectivity.
Uganda Connect had demonstrated that radio data technology was a sustainable solution to the problem of remote rural access, connecting a mission station by HF radio modem over a distance of 500 km to the Internet in Kampala. The author will tell how recent breakthroughs that allow for Web browsing by HF radio, at a range of thousands of kilometers (though throughputs are low, radio is free-to-air), have significant implications for development.
The paper will show from a pilot network, using microwave radio modems in the Industrial Scientific Medical band, that spread spectrum technologies offer an inexpensive means of connecting training centers within line of sight directly with the local Internet service provider. The author proposes that cost of bandwidth may be reduced if bought on a not-for-profit basis and shared by a subscription scheme.
The paper will argue that these two wireless technologies used by Uganda Connect -- radio data network for rural access, and spread spectrum for urban connectivity -- will make these vital resources more immediately available and affordable.
I am more than ever convinced, and so much the more each time I visit sub-Saharan Africa, that it is because of a lack of information and communications that the multitudes in an underdeveloped country are so impoverished.
My work with the Uganda Connectivity Project and the Uganda Internet Society informs me that if we are to succeed in laying the foundation for the Knowledge Society, we must set as a priority the enfranchisement of the vast majority of the world's people who have yet to benefit from, or even to know about, the Internet revolution.
This paper is a case study. I offer simple, practicable, and immediate solutions, based on my experience with Train the Trainer programs, within the context of a developing country's community telecenter, using Internet technologies for capacity building through human resource development. I try to show how a reproducible model emerges through the use of a bottom-up approach to solve the problem, with Internet-fostered local training programs made affordable by emerging wireless technologies.
I reasoned that if the small group of marginalized youth, such as those whom we chose to train from scratch to be trainers at our Uganda Connect workshops, could succeed in acquiring information and communications technology (ICT) skills to a level allowing them to train others, then we could offer our Train the Trainer program as a model to just about any project or community, no matter how poor.
I describe in this paper how Uganda Connect's Train the Trainer program works. It has worked for the training of hundreds of individuals at our workshops in Uganda's Ministry of Education headquarters, and it is working for training the trainers for the pilot multipurpose community telecenter (MCT) at Nakaseke in Luwero.
It should be understood that for the creation of a critical number of Knowledge Society Citizens, it is crucial that Internet connectivity become affordable for the many, instead of only for the few local elites, as is now the sad case in developing countries. Uganda Connect has demonstrated several wireless technologies as means of overcoming hurdles created by a lack of telecommunications infrastructure: high-frequency (HF) radio data for rural Internet connectivity, Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) data, and spread spectrum microwave radio networks for urban connectivity. My intention in briefly mentioning these technologies is only to point the way toward using any of several emerging innovative technologies to overcome hurdles in telecommunications infrastructure or price barriers and thus widen Internet accessibility in developing countries.
The concept of the MCTs struck me as being close to the mark -- an efficient means of meeting a community's needs for human resource development through the provision of information and communication by community-shared facilities. The MCT concept was part of a strategy contained within the Buenos Aires Action Plan (now superseded by the Valletta Action Plan). All the right ingredients seemed to be there: enhancing development of rural communities by empowering them through access to telecommunications and information in remote areas and by training rural communities at a shared facility, using ICTs, PCs, modems, printers, fax machine, photocopier, scanner, and so forth, shared cross-sectorally. It was a wonderful idea!
Then I wondered, however, how much of a model such a pilot project would be, and how reproducible it would be, if it was put together with large-agency funding. Not everyone who looks at the mouth-watering glossy photographs contained in a cookbook can afford all the ingredients. I wanted to find a sure-fire simple recipe that would make such a community telecenter work -- not only for a project sponsored by the United Nations, an international agency, or an expatriate nongovernmental organization (NGO), but for one that could be started up from scratch by the local community or an NGO -- with the minimum of overhead expenses, cost of materials, and level of expertise. So began Uganda Connect's telecenter in the Ministry of Education in Kampala.
We run our workshops cheaply, using recycled equipment. We start students, most of whom have had no hands-on experience with a PC, with a typing course and then move them on to word processing, before introducing them to the Internet, e-mail, and, later, the Web. (They may also learn how to compile databases or do spreadsheets, and so forth, according to each one's interest or predilection.) Trainers assist new students to get started, after which they let each work at his or her own pace. The atmosphere is relaxed but stimulating.
We try to give everyone a chance to learn. New students are accepted only for a short introductory course and receive no promise of any type of certification, but simply the opportunity of obtaining hands-on experience in exchange for a token fee for every half hour, which is not much more than the equivalent of a bottle of Coke. Nonetheless, that fee helps pay the stipends for the volunteer trainers and ensures the sustainability of the program, including provision for future expansion and upgrading of equipment. When they leave, many students are satisfied at having been given a good introduction to information technology. Others have a greater sense of the project's vision and use their experience to start improving their skills or to begin employment. Some show a willingness to help with the program and begin to lend a hand with the other students, and from these are chosen new trainee trainers.
While these trainee trainers are acquiring basic computer communications skills, they are gradually given increasing responsibility in running the center and in teaching others early on (with what little they know), which eventually enables them to run the center themselves, with a minimal amount of supervision. Much of our collaboration and our management of the center are done by e-mail.
Our first team of six volunteer trainee trainers, who started training from scratch in March 1997, were themselves overseeing the teaching of 100 Ugandan students by the end of the year.
By contrast, some of our students who had attended computer courses at ICT institutions in Kampala said that they had rarely been given hands-on experience in the former institutions until after they had read and studied course materials -- which contained concepts that could hardly have made sense to them until after they had had some hands-on experience! We did everything we could to minimize overhead expenses so that we could make the training more accessible, and also, by our not being so overburdened with the cost of running the center, so that we could provide a more friendly and relaxed approach to learning the new technology. This was our slow approach, or feeder lane, to the information highway.
Our own level of competence for teaching ICTs was low; most of our early team of volunteers were just learning the basics. Nevertheless, it was the founder of Sun Microsystems, John Gage, who admitted that he used only two or three percent of the popular office suite software's capabilities! Let's be honest with ourselves. How many of us use much more than that? Also, with increasingly intuitive programs, how long does it take one to acquire that level of competence? Think about it.
South Africa's President Mandela has said that universal access was a means to "promote economic growth and development, consolidate democracy and human rights, and increase the capacity of ordinary people to participate in governance." Uganda Connect's volunteer trainee trainers program was proving that ordinary people were also the means to that end. Compared with local elites, those chosen from marginalized groups -- school dropouts, unemployed youth, refugees, orphans, handicapped people, and women and girls -- demonstrated a superior ability to adapt. Their survival skills no doubt enabled them to adjust the more quickly to the ever-changing environment of information technology. Their seeming weaknesses or disadvantages made them more adept at grasping core concepts and easily adding to their repertoire of skills, and they had less to unlearn. They also made better teachers. One of our volunteers who had completed his studies at one of the better ICT institutions could not be selected for our Train the Trainer program because he was overqualified and brought with him too many of the older teaching methods.
Our Train the Trainer program was working, and we received visits to our workshops from the United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) Leland Initiative team, and representatives from the joint project by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, the International Development Research Centre, and the International Telecommunication Union (UNESCO/IDRC/ITU MCT project). Some months after their visit, we received an e-mail message from the UNESCO representative, who was now back at headquarters in Paris, with the plan for their proposed Nakaseke MCT attached, asking whether Uganda Connect would be interested in playing a consultative role in the project.
Our project manager studied the document and then responded with a phone call to the UNESCO representative, commenting bluntly that she believed that their program was fundamentally flawed and that they had taken the wrong approach. Feeling greatly disappointed, she explained that we could not become involved in a community telecenter project that, to her, seemed unsustainable and uneconomical.
What was the point of developing an MCT if, by a more economical use of their human and material resources, it would not ultimately improve the quality of life in the community? If "making yourselves sick, that you may lay up something against a sick day," are your ends, as Thoreau put it when he derided those determined "not to live by faith" (if they could figure out some other way of earning a living), then perhaps your means are faulty! He had surmised from his experiment at Walden Pond, and related in his essay entitled Economy, that the cost of a thing could be "measured by how much life he had to give for it, a sensible rate of exchange by any standard. Consequently, he was content to live simply and modestly, because he believed that freedom meant learning to do without the trappings of a more complicated life."
Our project subscribed to that philosophy. It was to ensure that the tradeoff in benefits from the new information technology was not outweighed by the cost of using it that Uganda Connect proposed to streamline the introduction of ICTs in our Train the Trainer program in Uganda. Confident of the truism, "It is difficult to begin without borrowing, but perhaps it is the most generous course thus to permit your fellow-men to have an interest in your enterprise," we begged and borrowed with glee, using others' castaways.
We were dismayed to learn that UN-sponsored MCT projects included plans to apportion so large an amount of the limited budget for the purchase of new equipment. Pentium PCs, for instance, were intended to be used to train local community leaders who had never used a PC before. And one of the project managers had apparently insisted on the need for a new 4 x 4 vehicle, whereas most members of the community it was meant to serve were taking their produce, coffee beans, and matoke (green bananas) to market by bicycle.
We scrounged older PCs from European companies that were upgrading their computer networks. You don't need a Pentium PC to learn touch typing or the basics of word processing! We had bought the project's first 4 x 4 truck at a military auction. By keeping capital expenditure and running costs low, we could concentrate on our main task, which was to train the trainers. Also, by deliberately running the project on a not-for-profit basis, we were also in a better position to approach local officials to provide a place for our first training center.
You can imagine our pleasant surprise when despite our manager's earlier diatribe, our colleague at UNESCO reported that their team had liked our constructive criticisms and invited us to help them on the project. Would we, for a start, make our communications truck available for demonstrations at Nakaseke? It was now felt that we might have something to contribute. Such beginnings, born of adversity, bode well for a fruitful collaboration.
At an official launch ceremony at Nakaseke, our Ugandan trainers gave demonstrations on our communications truck, and they also acted as interpreters.
They were already showing how well suited they were for teaching the MCT trainee trainers. They understood just enough about ICT technology, not too much about the office suite software; they knew the culture, spoke the local languages, and had a vision for teaching others to teach others. We were glad to accept the invitation to participate in the MCT program as implementing partners; then, our team of trainers was chosen to train their trainers.
One of the local project managers for the Nakaseke MCT had asked us to propose a curriculum for the Train the Trainer program. He sent e-mail suggesting that instead of training only the dozen or so trainers we had envisioned, we try to train as many as possible:
"Considering that the community is half illiterate and a little busy with their farming (it would be dangerous to seem to create a new load for them over their daily routine at the beginning), I would think that we initially focus on training many people on communication and computer environment applications. The purpose is to demystify the computer and all the communication equipment in the center. It will also make it easy for the community to find the center relevant to their needs once it appears easy to access and use."
One of our own managers had apparently been so impressed with the idea that he asked whether we might install a public address system for the purpose. In my reply, however, I reiterated the vital importance of sticking closely to the Train the Trainer concept:
"I would like to encourage the Nakaseke MCT committee members to stick with our original idea of training the trainers at Nakaseke, the idea being that those so trained may then, in turn, train colleagues within the community. This is reproducible and sustainable, and should make the Nakaseke MCT a good model as a pilot project.
"For instance, you train one trainer, chosen from the local clinic or hospital, another from the local school, one from the farming community, another from the LC, and one from the local business community, and so on, each of whom has been chosen, based upon his or her having demonstrated both an aptitude and an inclination to learn with the idea of teaching others.
"Ideally in each case you will be looking for someone with what one could call a martyr spirit, that is, someone endowed with a special grace to be a servant to others, to give of herself or himself sacrificially, with a hope to improving local conditions, with a do or die vision; someone who may wish to lead colleagues from the local community out of the backwardness of inefficient food production, say, or educational methods, but by example, the kind of person you might see picking up the piece of rubbish lying on the ground - as opposed to the others who walked past it, or who would take the initiative to perform some other lowly task without having to be asked. These are the ones we should be looking to train.
"And this is the gist of the Train the Trainer concept, and we must adhere to it rigorously if the pilot MCT is to be reproducible. You'll always have the many to be trained, but the key to finding a solution is to train the trainers. Our motto has been to 'keep it small, keep it pure, keep it strong; then let it double.' Though it might seem insignificant at the first, (if you get it right) it begins to multiply of its own.
"Once you have begun to train a cadre, one [or two] person[s] each from the various sectors represented at Nakaseke, they in turn, organize the training of their colleagues. A nurse from the clinic might, for instance, arrange for one evening session a week at the telecentre when as many of her or his colleagues, doctors, nurses, aids and administrators, could be taught, by hands-on experience, the basics of ICT. Such sessions could begin early on in their own training, and might be given with a minimum of oversight by those who trained them, in this case, by Uganda Connect trainers. Their colleagues could then sign a roster for follow-up hands-on exercise at the telecentre, at each one's convenience, in between those sessions.
"By this means each team of trainers, starting with the Uganda Connect team, will be enabled to spend as much time as is necessary to oversee those few who are being trained to train. I'm quite sure that this is the way ahead for the urgent need for capacity building.
"The community might benefit from having the occasional general meeting at the telecentre, such as the one we had earlier this year at Nakaseke when we brought our communications truck, together with the WFP truck, at which community leaders could include presentations from some of their own MCT trainers, so as to bring the community up to date with a progress report and for general sensitization."
I was very glad to receive the following positive response from the project manager:
'Thank you for your ideas on the training programme. With your explanation, now I believe we shall have to use the strategy of training a few people as Trainers using your team. This, though, means that we have to tailor-up a comprehensive curriculum that will involve a progressive assessment of the trainees to keep them clear at every stage. The components involving Internet and e-mail will easily be managed, and if we focus on basics in other application and system programs then 2 months should be realistic. Well, we shall have to see the details first perhaps....
"I have been discussing with your Co-ordinator, Mr. Kasana David, about this strategy. I will be meeting the Nakaseke local steering committee about it too. I liked your ideas about the qualities of the trainees for this kind of programme. We had already highlighted similar qualities to the local team to guide them to identify the right people. I will discuss your dimension too with them.'
Heartened by his affirmation, I wrote in reply,
"I think it is really only a matter of agreeing on the modalities, especially the curriculum for the training programme.
"In an earlier message you wrote that, 'The overall aim of the training programme should therefore initially aim to create a communication and information literate community ... level where they can appreciate and use the available information in the center within the framework of Uganda Connectivity Project competence.'
"I had to chuckle to myself when I read your remark about the level of competence. It is precisely that level of competence which is required, trainee-trainers -- or trainer-trainees, however you prefer -- who still possess the remembrance of new-found skills and how they acquired them, that enables them to so effectively teach others; not, as one might suppose, the more highly trained elites you will find in ICT institutions scattered around Kampala. And it will be by their example, as being so newly trained and relatively unqualified themselves, that they will inspire confidence in their trainees to soon begin to train others, however low their level of competence.'
Thus, it was that by e-mail we were able to continue to collaborate with our colleagues from the Nakaseke MCT committees (our e-mail printouts were posted on the bulletin boards at Nakaseke), the project managers, and our Uganda Connect team members, who were to be responsible for the training program. This e-mail collaboration is also reproducible. We are not bound to be in any particular geographical location, but by using the Internet, we can continue to collaborate unhindered by the expense of traveling.
The following is the general weekly curriculum we agreed on through our e-mail collaboration for the initial two-month training program at the Nakaseke MCT.
Introduction to ICT -- Includes a description of computer hardware and peripherals.
Typing -- Starts with home row, typing exercises, and Mavis Beacon.
Word processing -- Includes introductory tutorial (Lotus AmiPro), templates, basic fonts, bold, italics, underline, printing out a document, and MS Word.
Basic Windows conventions -- Includes learning to copy and paste, cut and paste, undo, size windows, use dialogue boxes, and use help menus.
Windows Explorer -- Includes learning to find one's way around the hard disk, formatting floppies, copying disks, copying/moving files, protecting floppies, naming and saving files to floppy disk, organizing files, and making directories.
Accessories -- Includes use of calculator and paint applications.
Typing -- Introduce additional rows and improvements in speed and accuracy.
Word processing -- Includes introduction of additional fonts, paragraph styles, templates, view size, printing of envelopes/labels, and MS Word.
E-mail -- Includes introduction, basics, composing, sending, receiving, forwarding, using address book, and MS Outlook Express.
Word processing -- Includes basic skills review, tables, indents, new templates, and MS Word.
E-mail -- Includes introduction of attachments, sending, opening, and MS Outlook Express.
Utilities -- Introduces compression and WinZip
Web browsing -- Introduces basics, uniform resource locators (URLs), back button, search engines, saving, copying and pasting, and MS Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator.
Spreadsheets -- Includes introduction, Lotus 1-2-3 tutorial, and MS Excel.
Database -- Includes introduction and Access. (CDS/ISIS to be taught by UNESCO team.)
Word processing -- Includes revision, tables, adding to repertoire of skills, thesaurus, grammar, and MS Word.
E-mail - Includes review of attachments, sending and opening, address book, groups, and MS Outlook Express.
Spreadsheets -- Includes creating and printing a spreadsheet and MS Excel.
Web browsing -- Includes options, home page, introduction to Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), WYSIWYG web editing, and MS Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator
Utilities -- Introduces anti-virus and Scandisk programs.
Graphics -- Introduces PaintShop Pro (or similar program) and/or scanning software; Hewlett-Packard.
Presentation graphics -- Introduces MS PowerPoint.
Our Train the Trainers scheme also envisages new centers, modeled after our pilot center, being set up by trainees. Trainees will have acquired management and communications skills; learned how to work collaboratively with their colleagues, teachers and students; used the Internet for sending reports and finding information, as we are now doing. These skills make the trainees eminently qualified for employment in the dawning information age, and they may go on to start their own centers, thus creating employment, for themselves and others.
Information technology, interactive multimedia tutorials, and reference materials, together with increasingly better organized libraries and search engines (portals on information only a mouse click away on the World Wide Web), have allowed our trainers to act as guides to their trainees, rather than as disseminators of information, and to show them how to train themselves at their own pace.
I've written that the Uganda Connect trainers had already begun to be knowledge workers in their own right. They had been connected to the Internet and had learned how to find information for themselves on the World Wide Web; they had downloaded programs and installed them. The original team of expatriate trainers were often abroad, but because the Uganda team had acquired typing skills, they were writing reports on word processing programs and sending them as attachments by e-mail; problem-solving was often only an e-mail away. Nevertheless, how would remote rural community telecenters benefit? How would they connect to the Internet? How could urban schools or projects afford to connect with such high local telephone charges?
The prospect for capacity building by MCTs is contingent on having affordable access to telecommunications. Up until now, the MCT idea, as tantalizing as it is, has been little more than a tease. Rural connectivity is almost nonexistent, and developing countries' national plans for extending their telecommunications networks are pitifully inadequate. Their charging systems, too, for making local calls and connecting to the Internet are generally inefficient and excessive, if not extortionate. Furthermore, although new global mobile personal communications systems that are just now coming online are offering universal access to certain elites who can afford to connect for a few dollars a minute, other wireless technologies offer possibilities for many indigenous projects to afford Internet connectivity.
Rather than describe the technologies in detail -- HF radio data for rural Internet connectivity, GSM data, and spread spectrum microwave radio networks for urban connectivity -- I mention them only briefly as examples one can demonstrate, as our project has done, and thereby act as a catalyst to influence their wider or more immediate acceptance. Here are three examples:
Publicity about the Uganda Connectivity Project's setting up of a pilot HF/VHF radio data network in remote Arua, connecting the Kuluva mission hospital and nearby agricultural projects (done in collaboration with the World Food Programme), led to the existing commercial service provider's extension of their company profile to include a more flexible pricing policy for not-for-profit projects.
Similarly, it was not until Uganda Connect had demonstrated Internet connectivity by GSM data at national exhibitions and in Parliament, that CelTel offered a data service to its cellular phone clients and also gave some schools their first Internet connectivity, providing them with a complimentary data service.
Lastly, our local Internet Service Provider partners, SwiftUganda, after hearing about our plans to set up a spread spectrum microwave radio network for connecting telecenters, have set up their own high-bandwidth wireless network in Kampala, with plans for extending the network with Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) hubs.
The point is that in each of the above-mentioned cases, an existing or emerging technology was only waiting to be applied to meet the urgent need for affordable connectivity. Some prodding was needed, however, before service providers could be persuaded to make it more widely available. Most of us wish to enhance the prospects of realizing the dream of universal access, say, by the introduction of emerging technologies; we see that the possibility exists. The reagents are in the flask, so to speak, but the reaction has not yet taken place. What is missing is the catalyst.
I would urge companies developing such propriety technologies, and also national communications commissions, to be flexible in their pricing and regulatory policies. One African minister, when asked whether his country's communications commission would require licensing for a new revolutionary technology, answered, "A revolution doesn't need a license!" Innovative VSAT systems, for example, which is due for rollout later this year and promises high-bandwidth connectivity for a fraction of current prices, might otherwise languish because of a lack of venture capital or the correct business model, or perhaps only a lack of vision.
You may remember the gesture made by the scientist who refused to sell his patent to a pharmaceutical company, but instead offered his new vaccine to the World Health Organization. Although business models are fine for the development of most new ideas, for an important new revolutionary technology, such as the above-mentioned proprietary VSAT system, incentive should be given for a company to make a gesture to the cause of universal access. Could a fund be made available to provide for the testing of such technologies? With the right vision, the five UNESCO/IDRC/ITU pilot rural telecenters in Africa might be used both for testing the new VSAT system and as a showcase for presentations to potential clients and standards institutes before they are finally made available on a commercial basis.
I have tried to show by this case study how by very simple means -- locally based Train the Trainer programs, which create a critical body of knowledge workers -- a community within an emerging nation may use the Internet and Information Revolution to take the future into its own hands.
I have also tried to encourage those such as myself, who would assist in this process, to persist in their efforts. For I am sure it happens to many of us that we occasionally become distracted, even by the very means by which we were endeavoring to solve a problem. We become so involved in devising means of achieving the goals of a project, working out methodologies, that we may lose sight of the goal. We get bogged down with administrative responsibilities, become overly involved or fascinated with the workings of the project, or even with the technologies used to make it work -- or we become so occupied with dealing with bureaucracies or with business plans -- that we begin to lose the vision. Without a vision, the people perish. Time for a re-think?
Daniel Stern <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Proposal for International Co-operation On Multipurpose Community Telecentre Pilot Projects in Africa, Prepared by IDRC, the ITU and UNESCO, Rev 4 - April 1997 http://www.itu.int/ITU-D-UniversalAccess/reports/telepro2.htm
"It is evident what mean and sneaking lives many of you live, for my sight has been whetted by experience; always on the limits, trying to get into business and trying to get out of debt...; always promising to pay, promising to pay, tomorrow, and dying today, insolvent; seeking to curry favor, to get custom, by how many modes, only not state-prison offences; lying, flattering, voting, contracting yourselves into a nutshell of civility, or dilating into an atmosphere of thin and vaporous generosity, that you may persuade your neighbor to let you make his shoes, or his hat, or his coat, or his carriage, or import his groceries for him; making yourselves sick, that you may lay up something against a sick day, something to be tucked away in an old chest, or in a stocking behind the plastering, or, more safely, in the brick bank; no matter where, no matter how much or how little." From Henry David Thoreau, Walden, first published by Ticknor and Fields 1854, reprinted by Penguin Classics 1986, p 49.
From Henry David Thoreau, Walden, first published by Ticknor and Fields 1854, reprinted by Penguin Classics 1986 p 83.
Upcountry HF E-Mail Network As an Early Component of a Developing Country's Information Infrastructure, by Daniel Stern, presented at Telecom98 Strategies Forum, Johannesburg.
"Start-Ups' Hopes Are Riding on an Internet Route Through the Sky" by Matt Richtel New York Times: Monday, November 30, 1998, Front page, Business Section. http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/98/11/biztech/articles/30bird.html
We have been using the Cylink AirLink S Band radio modems. http://www.cylinkwireless.com/products.htm A good introductory description of the technology may be found on the Web: http://www.wire-less-inc.com/html/center/sstechnology.htm