Imec ITF: India’s technology puzzle is worth solving, says Wipro

Click to EnlargeIn an exclusive series of blogs, imec scientists and editors are sharing information presented during the research organization’s International Technology Forum last week in Brussels.  Here, Jan Provoost, science editor, imec, covers Wipro CTO Anurag Srivastava’s costs/potential analysis of India.

May 30, 2011 — Wipro CTO and senior VP Anurag Srivastava looked at technology innovation from India’s perspective during ITF. In the next decade, India will be the world’s largest market of people who want to buy electronic devices and services: a very young society, with educated people all looking to use world-class technology.  The opportunity for Information and communication technologies (ICT) companies, and the numbers are simply overwhelming.

There is a significant challenge, though: How to bring technology to 1.3 billion people so that they can afford it. The number of people with disposable income is growing, but the average is around USD200. People naturally want world-class, state-of-the-art devices and services. So here is the dilemma: If you would want10 million+ students in higher education to buy your tablet-like device, you would have to sell it for USD35. The question is, Dr. Srinivasta asked, can you build a business model to do that?

So there is the challenge to solve the numbers puzzle and bring affordable technology to India’s many, many people. Mobile telecom is India’s ICT success story, where companies have brought an excellent service to 812 million subscribers for a cost of only USD4 per month. As another example, Wipro is involved in a project to provide India’s population with identification services. Biometric cards currently cost USD10, which would make the 1.3 billion person project’s costs insurmountable. Their aim is to devise a card that costs USD1, with the same quality.  That challenge is still open.

Jan Provoost, science editor, imec, and colleagues are blogging exclusively for Solid State Technology and its partners from imec’s International Technology Forum (ITF) last week in Brussels.

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