Over the past couple years or so, as I have been working towards building a number of companies to create the digital infrastructure for tomorrows world, it has become clear to me that the two biggest opportunities are around providing computing as a utility to the tens of millions of homes and infoworkers who do not have access to a computer, and leveraging the mobile data infrastructure that has been built out in India.
Computers will become network devices providing a bigger screen and keyboard to access a wide range of services from the Internet cloud. What is inside todays desktop computer will move to the server and what is inside a cell phone will power tomorrows network computer. This will be the world of utility computing where computers will adopt the business models of mobiles the devices will cost about Rs 5,000 and come with a monthly service change of Rs 500 for broadband connectivity and services.
The mobile phones of tomorrow will be remote controls for our life. They will come with bigger, better keyboards and displays even though there are practical limitations on both in terms of how big a device we will carry. Networks are becoming faster, too. And the device that was once a replacement for the fixed-line phone will occupy an even greater role in our lives.
Tomorrows world will be a world that will converge at the back-end (server-side) but will diverge at the front-end (multiple devices). While there will be no convergence across these screens, the convergence will happen at the back-end with respect to the data store. We will have different views to the same set of data across these devices. The computer and mobile will thus play a complementary role — the small screens of the mobile offset by the full-sized input/output capabilities of the network computer, and the fixed nature of the computer offset by the portability of the mobile phone. India can be the role model for other emerging markets in creating a digital infrastructure which brings information access to hundreds of millions.
There are many other blue oceans when one looks around in India. Given this new digital infrastructure that will get created, how can one rethink different verticals like retail, healthcare, education. How does one look at marketing when everyone in the world has access to a two-way interactive device which they carry with them? This is where the big opportunities of the future lie.
As an entrepreneur, I have always favoured blue oceans over red oceans. It may be the riskier strategy when one begins because one is going where others arent. I tend to like creating new things. There are times when one may be too early, in which case one fails. But if one can think through the future and have the ability to stick it out, blue oceans are the place to be.
TECH TALK Blue Ocean Strategy+T