TECH TALK: Emerging Technologies, Emerging Markets: Putting It Together

Over the past few columns, we discussed emerging trends in computers, software, the Internet and wireless, and how some of the new developments could be leveraged to make technology affordable for enterprises in emerging markets. Many of theses ideas may not be new or radical, but taken together, then can truly make technology a utility. Many things are created by taking the simple, things but viewed and packaged differently. Samachar itself is an excellent example – it has withstood the test of time and in fact grows stronger with each passing day. Here then is a juxtaposition of the various ideas.

30-30 Appliances: How can we use lag technology to create cheaper hardware? 30% of the features, at 30% of the prices — Computers, Storage, PDAs, wireless devices. Look at the best, then reverse-engineer. Appliances are an important aspect of completing the solution, so that the overall cost seen by the enterprises is genuinely lower.

Business Process Standards: For the first time, we are seeing standards in both software and business processes. See how to leverage ebXML, RosettaNet, BizTalk. For enterprises, these make a lot of sense because it sets the way the business needs to communicate and exchange information.

Open Source: Companies in emerging markets have to embrace the world of open source. There is a lot which has been already developed, but it is not 100% complete. They need to take what’s been done, understand it, adapt it. They also should put back into open source what we develop so others can also build on it. This is the platform to create the 10-10 software (10 times the software at 10% of the price).

Web Services: Think “Lego Software”, which is standards based (XML, SOAP), and which can be put together across the Web. There is a need to define the interfaces, and let others also contribute the actual programs.

Communities: A mix of Weblogs and Slashdot to create self-organising SME Clusters. These aggregate the collective intelligence of enterprises, an extension of the real world industry and trade associations, where there is sharing and learning.

Wireless: There is a need to leverage the free spectrum create a cheaper, guerilla networks of 802.11b hot spots like what has happened in some places in the US. This will create the envelope for connecting to the Internet bypassing the expensive cellular operators.

The overall, “whole” solution to make technology a utility for enterprises in emerging markets thus consists of two parts:

  • a Technology solution comprising hardware (30-30 Appliances), software (integrated, 10-10) and communications (open spectrum and 802.11), which generates the revenues, and
  • a Portal solution consisting of content (an Enterprise “Readers’ Digest”), community (Slashdot-like) and commerce (an eBay-like marketplace), which aggregates and retains the members.

Emerging Companies (SMEs, or small and medium enterprises) in Emerging Markets need to adopt Emerging Technologies in innovative ways to create a platform for growth in tomorrow’s world. Just like the harvester ants in Steven Johnson’s “Emergence”, these SMEs may themselves have limited capabilities and resources, but by coming together they can be disruptive to many of their bigger competitors. What’s needed are innovative, local solutions built on the latest technologies to the local problems first, and then take these ideas and solutions to global markets. The bottom of the world’s consumer and corporate pyramids hold promise, power and profits.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.