I have written in the past about the lack of ‘utility’ services on the Indian Internet. Little has changed in recent times. Even though many new portals keep getting launched, few of them have become part of our daily lives.
In China, the link between computers and education helped get computers into homes. The social and entertainment aspects of the Internet (connecting with friends, multi-player gaming) helped ensure the network connectivity. Can we do something similar in India for the growing ‘middle-of-the-pyramid’?
Imagine an Education portal that focuses on teaching the ‘basic concepts’ to school kids with the pitch to parents: “Give us an hour a day for Rs 100 a month, and we will help your child to learn to learn.” Schools, for the most part in India, teach, but do not instill the learning ability where the child has a deep understanding of fundamental concepts, which is what today’s (and tomorrow’s world) needs. A service like that could start becoming a reason why parents start getting connected computers at home.
For young adults, social connectivity and gaming can be two big drivers, along with education to complement what they learn (or don’t) in colleges. For usage to takeoff, there needs to be affordable flat-rate plans without data limits.
For youth, it will be good to also integrate the mobile into the value chain, and think of services which can float from one device to the other, ensuring a continuity in the experience. For example, I could start reading a book on the computer and could continue on my mobile phone during my free moments.
For Services to take-off, business models will need to start looking beyond advertising.
Tomorrow: Business Models