I wrote this series in early 2003:
By themselves, the 5KPC and many of the ideas discussed in the past columns are not new. What’s new is the markets that need to be targeted, and the focus on “value-added aggregation” – putting together whole solutions for different verticals. In a sense, the markets need an iMode-like solution with hardware (the 5KPC), software (open-source components) and network connectivity (via WiFi, cable, dial-up or LAN) integrated together. In fact, much like iMode, the additional services that can be layered on top will be the key.
For emerging markets, the 5KPC offers an opportunity to leapfrog in terms of computing and a connected citizenry. It is very difficult to imagine the impact of making technology available to whole nations in a very short period of time. In fact, in countries like India, the two revolutions of computing and communications could run in parallel – making available – suddenly – voice and data services to the masses in their homes and offices. By making technology a utility, the 5KPC can herald the creation of a New World Order.
The 5KPC is an idea whose time has come. It is an idea which by itself will not bridge the digital divide, increase growth rates or eliminate poverty. But for the world’s poorest countries, the 5KPC can be an equaliser. It can open up new vistas and fire up people’s imaginations. After that, it is to the individuals and the enterprises to convert these openings into dramatically better futures. It is up to this generation of entrepreneurs to go and build out the 5KPC Ecosystem. The Next 90% is waiting.