Since my visit to Bhopal last week, I’ve been thinking more on the role that affordable computing and our Emergic ideas can play in villages. Thus far, there has been little modern technology that has made it to the village level. While quite a few have telephone lines, getting a dial tone is a challenge. Electricity is available – intermittently. TV is there – when the electricity works. Villagers have so far been left out of the technology value chain.
It is in this scenario that I feel that the teleinfocentre (which have 3-5 thin clients with a thick server) could bridge the digital divide in a manner nothing else can. It can create a two-way information flow between the government and the citizens, especially those right at the bottom of the pyramid. It can open up new futures and opportunities for the younger generation – in terms of education and jobs.
So, I am beginning to think a lot more seriously about rural India (the villages) as a possible first market for Emergic. There is no legacy of computers (and Microsoft). People there are likely to be welcoming of what they get. In a sense, the teleinfocentre (and Emergic) can be a “disruptive innovation” – just the sort India and other emerging markets to raise the standard of living of what constitutes the majority of people in their countries.