TECH TALK: Best of Tech Talk 2004: Rethinking Computing (Part 2)

Massputers, Redux (Oct 2004): Let us first look at the realities in emerging markets: the 10-90 Chasm, the 1-9-90 Split, Price(Intel+Microsoft) = Low Constant, the ADAM Challenges, Leveraging Broadband, Focus on the Middle of the Pyramid, Think SystemsA digital infrastructure can help [emerging markets] address the pain points that plague personal life and business interactions better. For example, if India needs to ensure education for the 200 million youth of the country, computers can complement teachers to help students learn better. Computers can make businesses into real-time enterprises and thus make supply chains more efficient. Computing can help governments interact better with citizens. Even entertainment can be transformed with the availability of Massputers. Here is what emerging markets need to build their digital infrastructure: Network Computers, the Grid as Platform, Utility Pricing, tech 7-11s, Relevant Applications and ContentThe competition here is non-consumption, the constraint is our own imagination.

CommPuting Grid: The grid that I am thinking of to complement the network computers is a public computing grid which provides virtual desktops to network computers. It is not about aggregating a collection of existing resources from across the network. Instead, it is about creating a scalable and reliable platform to address the needs for potentially millions of users. It is a platform because it allows other independent software vendors to deploy their applications on this computing foundation. It offers the ability to bill users with varying levels of granularity based on quantum of computing power and storage used, and also the time of day. In that sense, it is probably more akin to the telecom system that exists around the worldt is this computing grid that will finally make computing a utility. Today’s monikers like application service providers (ASPs) and software-as-a-service will dissolve into the more general-purpose commPuting-as-a-utility. This grid will provide computing and communications, and make possible the availability of the benefits of computers to the next billion of users, and simultaneously addresses the total cost of ownership issues for the first billionThe first wave of computing adoption in the past two decades has addressed the needs of the top 10% of the world. The CommPuting Grid offers a potential to focus on the next 90%. The building blocks for grid computing low-cost network computers, broadband connections, commoditised software platforms are now becoming available. India and other emerging markets have an opportunity to leapfrog into the next-generation of computing just like they did with mobile telephony.

Tomorrows World (Nov 2004): There are five dimensions along which we can explore tomorrow’s world and build the right models which can be the foundation for creating (or growing) future businesses: devices, networks, infrastructure, services and paymentsOur five-dimensional world of tomorrows commPuting utility comprises: network computers as zero-management access devices, ubiquitous broadband wireless networks, server-based computing and storage grid as the underlying infrastructure, centrally accessible services built around hosted software and content, and utility-like subscription-based payment modelThis utility combines the best of multiple models that we see around us: i-modes platform, Salesforces hosted software, TiVos time-shifted content, Googles desktop ads and Yahoos personalizationThe next set of users in the emerging markets can be divided into five major segments: SMEs, Educational Institutions, Homes and Shops, Tech 7-11s and Rural AreasFive new opportunities which open up for entrepreneurs are: LAN Grids, Broadband Content Factory, Software Aggregator, Micro-eBays and Micropayments infrastructure.

Tomorrow: India and Bharat

Best of Tech Talk 2004+T

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.