I always feel like other countries outside the US are doing more innovative things with mobile phones. Tata Teleservices in India is doing just that in a rural setting. They are helping farmers monitor and switch on irrigation pumps remotely, using a system dubbed Nano Ganesh.
The need for the technology stems from India’s erratic power supply; farmers routinely walk several kilometres to water their crops, only to find that there’s no electricity available to power their irrigation pumps. Through Nano Ganesh, farmers can dial a code from any phone to a mobile modem attached to the pump’s starter. This informs them whether electricity is available, and allows them to remotely switch the pump on or off.
The service is not too costly, (USD 56) for the wireless device connected to the pump’s starter, plus one’s phone costs. The service works with most handsets that are out there.
It really gets you inspired to think about real applications of mobile phones here in the US rather than just games on an iphone.