TECH TALK: The Best of Tech Talk 2002: Key Themes

As another year transitions, I thought Id take this week to look back at some of my writings over the past year. At a global level in technology, 2002 was more like the previous year waiting for a recovery. And yet, there are some very interesting developments taking place. There is a lot of action happening in what Kevin Werbach calls the next WWW WiFi, Weblogs and Web Services. The last three issues of Esther Dysons Release 1.0 have talked about visualization, gaming and grid computing. While some of our optimism may have diminished, the opportunities for tomorrow have not.

My writings in Tech Talk have sought to highlight some of the promise that technology brings forth in making for a better and more exciting future. My viewpoint is as a technologist and entrepreneur in a developing country (India). Some of the beliefs that I bring forth and which reflect in my writings are:

Emerging Markets are where the next technology markets are. Computing has reached 500 million users, largely in North America, Western Europe, Australia and Japan. These markets are saturated, and are largely upgrade markets. The next set of users are going to come from the worlds emerging markets like India, China, Brazil, Mexico, Africa. But they need solutions which are at very different price points, in fact, at a tenth of the costs of todays solutions. This is where the next set of opportunities are.

Technology can and must bridge the digital divide. Technology has unleashed a huge change in our lifetimes in the past many years. But so far, it has only touched the top of the pyramid. What is now needed is for technology to impact the bottom of the pyramid. It needs to build bridges to these users and enterprises. Just as cellphones and STD/PCOs have helped bring voice communications to the previously unconnected, what is now needed is to do the same with computing, software and knowledge.

We have to build the New India (and the New China, the New Brazil, the New Mexico, the New Africa). The new nations have to built bottom-up, in an emergent manner by us. We have made our choices to live in our nations it is up to each of us to make them Great during our generation. And this is where, technology is our ally. We should use the newest ideas and put together solutions think of them as disruptive innovations which can help people and organisations leapfrog. No one but us is going to make the New Nations happen.

As I look back, there were 3 themes underlying much of my writing: emerging technologies, new computing paradigms and bridging the digital divide in India and other emerging markets. Well discuss each of these in the coming days.

Tomorrow: Emerging Technologies

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.