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TECH TALK: Disruptive Bridges: The Building Blocks (Part 3)

December 5th, 2002 · 1 Comment

Business Process Standards: Standards like ebXML and RosettaNet are helping streamline information flows across enterprises. Traditionally, this has been the pain point as different enterprises have their own set of processes and documents. Business process standards will help the creation of extended, real-time enterprises and be especially useful for SMEs, who have so far been left out of the computerisation process and thus are the weak links in todays supply chains. [Related Articles]

E-business: Or for that matter, e-payments, e-learning, e-commerce and e-government. The e-enablement of activities is crucial to bridge the digital divide. This is not something one entity can do, but something which everyone needs to be committed towards. E-business is a representative term for the collective platform which gets created as business and government start leveraging the Internet for communications, collaboration and transactions. This is where friction starts reducing and the true benefits of the New World, a digitally bridged world, start becoming apparent. [Related Articles]

What these building blocks do is create the base for an alternative computing and communications platform one which is low-cost, simpler and targeted at the base of the pyramid. What this platform is targeting is nonconsumption it wants to extend the benefits of digital technologies to the masses of consumers and enterprises who have so far not been exposed to it.

We are not talking here of competing with an Intel or Microsoft. There will always be room for both. Just as there is room and need for both the bicycle and the car (and in fact the buses, trains and metros). Targeting these solutions at mainstream users will only result in non-acceptance and failure. We need to keep in mind that we need to use these building blocks to build solution stacks for the next set of users. The difficulty lies in the fact that these markets do not exist. They need to be envisioned and created.

These building blocks have to spread computing and Internet usage to the (presently invisible) mass-market. At the same time, we need to make sure that our R&D costs are minimal this means leveraging the newest technologies to leapfrog over current limitations. In parallel, we will need to use marketing ideas which can create a viral impact and adoption not just in a single community or country, but across the worlds developing nations. This is the challenge and hidden promise of our Disruptive Bridges.

While our end objective is to ensure a connected computer accessible to every employee and family across the developing countries, it would be presumptuous to assume that we can do this all at once and in a very short period of time. The challenge is vast. Where do we begin? Where do we do create the beach-heads? Which are the first markets we should target to set the ball rolling?

Tomorrow: The First Markets


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