Urbanisation Needed in India

[via Atanu] Financial Express has an article by Janmejaya Sinha of Boston Consulting Group, India:

The real problem is that India has currently only eight real cities. These cities have civic amenities. They have schools, hospitals, running water, power for large parts of the day, public transport and a much better police force and security than the rest of India. They are not easy cities to live inby no means. But they are the best we have. This shows the skew as well as the opportunity for India.

My real point is, why are there only eight real cities in India? I know we have some urban conglomerations that have a million people. But when do we move to 100 real cities and 300 real towns? The operative word here is real?

Our population needs to move out of the village into real towns and cities. They dont all need to come to Mumbai or Delhi, as everyone in the US does not move to New York or LA. They need to be able to move to places where they can access real opportunities.

It is impossible to provide every village this opportunity, but surely we could develop 100 cities. Let us identify these cities and build proper urban infrastructure around them.

Offline and Online

Paul Kedrosky writes: “Offline is the New Online is the New Offline.”

Funny how these things go. For a while we all happy with disconnected apps, tools like Word, Powerpoint, Access, and Excel that were PC-only software. And then it was cool to discover online apps that could do many of the same things, or at least useful variants, like Gmail, Writely, etc.

Now, however, we have seemingly come full circle. The current Big Thing in online apps is offline functionality. There is, for example, buzzing about an upcoming version of Writely that supports offline editing and saving. Today at Web 2.0 Summit we had Zimbra announcing offline usage of that very nice email software.

Customisation vs Personalisation

VisionMobile writes in the context of the mobile industry:

Customisation (as in handset customisation) is the act of modifying a vanilla handset by the operator to suit the goals of the operator (or in general the service provider). Handset customisation typically involves adding a hard key that leads to the operator WAP portal, changing menus and icons, and branding the handset user interface to promote the operator brand. In that same context, we can talk about service customisation, as in branding the operators WAP portal to use the operators trademark red, orange, blue or magenta colours as a tool to appeal to the operators key demographic.

Personalisation is the exact opposite of customisation. It is the act of modifying the handset or service by the user, to suit the users own needs. Think of changing the wallpaper and ringtones to appeal to the users taste. Or swapping the handset fascia to a bright pink or a solemn black. Or even having the user choose what shortcuts and icons to see displayed on the operator WAP portal, instead of using the operators one-size-fits-all content and branding.

Market Segmentation

Michael Mace is writing a book on business strategy. From the chapter on market segmentation for a new product:

The process is a little like the way that astronomers say the solar system was formed. You start with a big cloud of gas and dust. Small lumps and thick areas in the cloud slowly draw together under the influence of gravity. Wait long enough, and stars and planets will eventually emerge.

When you do research on potential new markets, youre searching around in the cloud for thick spots. The evidence will be vague and contradictory, and you can easily miss it if youre not careful. The trick is to look not for segments themselves, but for groups of people who share desires or other characteristics that you can mold into a new segment.

Mobile 2.0 Overview

Dan Appelquist writes:

Mobile 2.0 leaps the mobile platform forward to where the Internet is today, and shows us how the mobile phone can become a first class citizen, or even a leading citizen, of the Web. What mobile 2.0 does not mean, at least in my mind, is more sophisticated, but still essentially closed, mobile applications and services (although these will also continue to play an important role in the mobile value chain). Openness and user choice are essential components of mobile 2.0.

The Web as we know it is changing. It is becoming pocketable. The Web is coming outside.

TECH TALK: Two 2.0 Events: Web 2.0 Highlights (Part 2)

Continuing with some of the highlights of the Web 2.0 Summit:

Googles Marissa Mayer discussed Ajax use at Google:

She notes that the key reason they created Gmail in Ajax was speed. This is a theme in Google Maps too. In terms of Google Videos, she says how instant something is and giving instant gratification is key – they used to make users wait 24-48 hours to see their videos after uploading to GVideo.

She asks what does speed mean for future apps? She has a slide that shows browser support – FF2 and IE7. Marissa says we’ll see built-in support for client side languages (e.g. javascript). She says also that people will spend more time online, due to increase in broadband etc – and this is good for Google. Another point she makes is that mobile hardware will improve a lot.

In conclusion, she says speed is very important for web 2.0 and the future of the Web.

Dan Farber wrote about Don Tapscott, who previewed some the highlights from his forthcoming book, Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything.

He views the next phase of the Web as about mass collaboration and harnessing the power of self organization. It will have a profound change in way companies innovate, orchestrate to create value and compete in marketplace, he said. With billions of smart devices on the Net and billions of people on it, for those users it will be like programming a giant computer. Social networking is becoming the new mode of production, Tapscott said. He gave an example of Procter & Gamble, which has developed a productive ecosystem of external collaborators that he said creates value more effectively than a hierarchically organized business.

One of the highlights on the Web 2.0 Summit was the Launchpad, where entrepreneurs will debut their companies or launch new products. The 13 companies: 3B, Adify, InTheChair, Instructables, oDesk, Omnidrive, Klostu, Sharpcast, Turn, Sphere, Stikkit, Timebridge and Venyo. Read/Write Web and TechCrunch have profiles on these companies.

InfoWorld summarised it well:

Participants here seemed to accept that theres lots of competition and commoditization out there, and that if you build something, it had better deliver real value to users at a low price.

Even Google seems to have gotten this religion, with CEO Eric Schmidt, for example, warning the collected entrepreneurs to never trap an end-users data, let them move it around if they want were even going to do this with search data; it will keep us honest.

And nobody blinked when Chinese Internet kingpin Jack Ma said his company planned to launch a Web-based enterprise software suite. Why wouldnt he, if he has the developers, the capital, and the local market knowledge?

Everybody here wants to become a platform, to build out their connection with customers into something broader and deeper. “If you want to be a survivor, you have to go from being a killer app to a killer platform,” said Salesforce.coms Marc Benioff.

So who will the winners be?

Whos the dog thats really wagging the long tail? asked conference organizer Tim OReilly in the best mixing of metaphors at this years event. Hed apparently forgotten the old Web 1.0 saying on the Internet, no one knows youre a dog!

Some more reports:
Marc Orchant
News.coms coverage
InfoWorlds reports
Between the Lines has extensive reports on the sessions
GigaOms Best and Worst

On a different note, Kevin Maney of USA Today found little new at Web 2.0. This is what he wrote after the first day: Nobody has anything new to say, at least not when it comes to Big Ideas. So far, in the on-stage interviews and dozens of private conversations, I have not heard one idea that wasn’t around at last year’s Web 2.0. Niche social networking, wisdom of crowds, user-generated content, online applications, yada yada yada. To be generous, maybe these are better versions of the same old thing. Well, maybe.

Tomorrow: Mobile 2.0 Conference

Continue reading TECH TALK: Two 2.0 Events: Web 2.0 Highlights (Part 2)