One of the themes of the coming year(s) is going to be Affordability. The first tech revolution has taken technology as far as it could possibly go with the set of price points. 500 million PC users, a billion cellphone users. This segment of users now is in upgrade mode only – there are few new buyers who will be attracted to the current price points.
Now, for the next set of users, we need much lower price points. This is what will get us the next 500 million PC users and next billion cellphone users. It needs a radical rethink of the tech infrastructure and price points. This is what, for example, Reliance Infocomm wants to do in India – with long-distance calls for as low as 40 paise (1 cent). To do something like this, they need to build out the infrastructure from scratch, as they’ve done, using the newest technologies and next-gen ideas. There is no legacy, and thats the biggest advantage.
We need to take this theme to computing. “A connected computer accessible to every employee and family.” At a fraction of today’s price points. Computers for less than USD 100 and software for USD 5 per month. This will mean building up our own value chain, our own ecosystem. Because the existing players are used to much fatter margins and their interest lies in preserving not disrupting the status quo.
Affordability as a theme will make technology a utility for the world’s emerging markets, and Emergic needs to be at its heart. This is the challenge and opportunity for us in the coming years.