Ronnie05's Blog

The Mobile Economy in India

Posted in Technology impact on economy and population by Manas Ganguly on December 19, 2013

Mobiles and Mobility in India is a empowering industry which is expected to grow 408% with 2012-20 @ 19% CAGR
This adds atleast 1.3 million jobs between 2012-2020 and…
.. contributes to 375% increase in public funding
This also means a 409% increase to infrastructure investments

India’s citizens rely on mobile technology and mobile-enabled services to a degree that few would have predicted only a few years ago. With nearly 900 million mobile connections across the country, India represents a quarter of all mobile connections in Asia Pacific, and this figure is expected to rise to 1.16 billion by 2017. With improved
spectrum pricing and management, growth of mobile broadband service is expected to continue, with 3G and 4G adoption projected to increase by 31% between 2013 and 2017.

Nevertheless, India still lags behind the world’s major economies in mobile maturity and penetration. Network investment by mobile operators is held back by low tariffs due to the market conditions, an unusually high level of competition, and the financial burden caused by government policies that channel funds away from the sector, such as the high cost of access to spectrum. Indian operators are amongst countries that have the highest debt and lowest profitability ratios in the Asia Pacific region. This affects their ability to upgrade consumer services, meet demand in highly populated urban areas and expand networks to provide coverage to people living in rural areas.

India is lacking a regulatory environment that allows the sector to surge ahead and deliver the full, transformative
power of mobile to all. To do this, the government must design policies and regulations — working with the mobile
industry — that maximise long-term private sector investment. In order to invest, the industry needs clarity on the direction and the overall economic and regulatory environment that will be put in place to support this path. Only with a sustainable mobile industry will India be able to achieve the vision described in the country’s National
Telecommunications Plan — “to provide secure, reliable, affordable and high-quality converged telecommunication services anytime and anywhere for accelerated, inclusive socio-economic development.”

Increased penetration of mobile technology in India will bring with it many socio-economic benefits. In Agriculture, mobile solutions improve yields and provide greater access to markets. Greater access to healthcare and reduced mortality are facilitated by mobile solutions, while mobile technology brings financial services to rural and underprivileged communities. With mobile solutions, education for all is a goal that is increasingly within reach. Government and Administration has an important role to play in all of these areas by removing barriers to the integration of mobile solutions in an increasingly connected world.

Excerpts from the GSMA BCG study on Mobile Industry in India

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Look what the Smartphones have disrupted now – Jeans!

Posted in Technology impact on economy and population by Manas Ganguly on September 17, 2013

As user, usage and habits wrap around the omnipresence of smartphones, handhelds are exerting disruptive influences on other industries completely in unrelated dimensions. Case in point – with the profusion of tablets, phablets and smartphones regularly beating the 5″ mark, jeans and trousers brands are under pressure from their customers to increase the dimensions of the pockets to carry phones easily and comfortably.

Pants with Mobile pockets

U.S. casual wear maker Dockers is reengineering the pocket configurations of it jeans and khakis to keep up with the needs of buyers who are phablet users, many of them will be lugging along pocket devices this year that could breach the 6-inch. Dockers recommends the Mobile Pocket Khaki, which according to Dockers is a perfect fit for the super-sized smartphones.

The usual belt clips are difficult solutions because of the size of the devices. Pockets are being designed to carry super size phones in a manner that the phones do not fall off – and are comfortable to carry as against the sensation of lugging a 150 gram monster around.Also the pockets need to take care that the device is not subjected to long hour bend stresses (What a phone in the back pocket would experience while a person would sit – the key here is damage to the front panel). One would also have to factor in that many of the devices would actually share pocket space with coins and other elements likely to scratch the surface. All these and possibly more considerations go to redesign pockets around smartphones.

Expecting the Fall Winter or Summer collections of designers to now change to accomodate super sized phones in large size pockets.

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New Cell Phone Radiation Norms: Death for the GSM phones/ 3G gets a shot in the arm

Posted in Device Platforms, Technology impact on economy and population by Manas Ganguly on September 1, 2013

The new radiation norms for mobile phones in India will come into effect from today. This entails no more than 1.6 watts over 6 minutes of usage. All handsets to be sold in India from now on will have to display exact how much radiation they emit/ SAR value.

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With the new SAR norm, India would become one of few countries that are following the most stringent norm of 1.6 watt per kg average over six minutes period on 1 gram of human tissue.

This would be the death knell to the GSM standard mobile handsets in favour of the WCDMA/3G handsets. Devices on the WCDMA/3G/CDMA platform are inherently less harmful than mobiles on GSM standard as has been proven by the following studies-

1. Studies by Joel Moskowitz at UC Berkeley indicate GSM phones to emit 28 times more radiations compared to CDMA/WCDMA/3G phones.
2. The November 2009 issue of “Journal of Clinical Oncology,” indicates usage studies on GSM/WCDMA standards indicate that 37 percent of GSM phone studies indicated a link to tumor risks. About 15 percent of WCDMA/3G phone studies found a similar link.
3. April 2011 issue of the “International Journal of Science Technology and Management cites GSM cell phones to increase brain activity between four and 24 times greater than WCDMA/3G cell phones.
4. The reason for the difference between EM radiation of GSM versis CDMA/WCDMA cell phones is the use of higher transmission/transmitter power. On an average, GSM phones use 2watt/sec transmission power, where as WCDMA/CDMA technology uses a tenth of that power (200 mWatt/sec). This is manifested by the higher dBm (deciBell milliWatt) ratings of the GSM phones.

While exposure to EM Radiation cannot be strictly zeroed on cell phone usage – annecdotal evidence supports cell phone usage with increase in exposure to radiation. Exposure can be minimized by use of landline phones, phones on CDMA/WCDMA standards and use of earphones to increase the distance between the human body and the device.

This new regulatory statute would thus serve in favour of WCDMA handsets and would kill off GSM devices on the whole. Increasing WCDMA volumes would also mean greater affordability for such devices – and thus the economies of scale and penetration would step in.

Google balloons the idea of internet connectivity to 4.8bn unconnected

Posted in Technology impact on economy and population by Manas Ganguly on June 29, 2013

In 2011, Google laid down an ambitious plan of Gigabyte Internet through fibre and has been increasing the pilot areas for this project. In 2012, they edged it to reality by laying down Google Fiber in Kansas city. Google’s intent towards higher data through puts is quite clear – Google’s business interests are directly impacted by the number of hours, terminals, locations, instances people would spend on the internet. So instead of depending on operator led networks which are still constrained at 100mbps or less, Google with its inexhaustible resources decided to go ahead and invest on data pipes to users by itself.

I tend to believe that Google is also testing the hypothesis that the more interactions that people have on the internet- the greater avenues it provides Google to monetize i.e Delta increase in terms of internet interactions would lead to multiple-delta opportunities for Google to monetize the traffic.

The Google Balloon over the Southern Alps in New Zealand

The Google Balloon over the Southern Alps in New Zealand

Corollary to this effort, is the effort to provide internet to as many users in developing states and 3rd world countries (Read Asia and Africa). Google’s business prospects are directly related to the number of Internet users. Hence taking the internet to 4.8 bn masses is an immediate opportunity and goal that Google seems to be driving forward to. Towards this, Google is executing a pilot in New Zealand called the Project Loon – also called as Google Balloon with an eye to provide affordable Internet access in remote and rural parts. The plan is to have several balloons floating around the earth at an altitude of 20 km, or twice the height at which commercial aircraft fly, and beaming connectivity to areas that are not served by traditional copper or fibre optic networks. Special equipment that can be fixed on the roofs will communicate with the balloon, acting as the link enabling the user to communicate with the balloon.

The Receiver of Internet SIgnals from the Google Balloon

The Receiver of Internet SIgnals from the Google Balloon

The 15-m-wide balloons are made up of super pressure polyethylene plastic and can stay in the air for 100 days. Each balloon carries a payload of electronics including a flight computer, altitude control system, communications antenna and a solar power station — turning the craft into a self-powering cell tower in the sky. The Loon balloons are strategically positioned on stratospheric winds and controlled by complex algorithms and computing power on the ground. Google believes that a ring of balloons can provide Internet access to a whole range of places that are really difficult to get to with normal technology. The company claims that connection speeds will be comparable to typical 3G access provided by cellular networks. Ground stations about 60 miles apart would bounce Internet signals up to the balloons. The signals would hop backward from one balloon to the next to keep people continuously connected. Solar panels attached to the inflatables would generate electricity to power the Internet circuit boards, radios and antennas, as well as the onboard flight-control equipment. Each balloon would provide Internet service for an area twice the size of New York City, or about 780 square miles, and because of its high altitude, rugged terrain is not a problem.

Why don’t they just use satellite technology? There just isn’t enough satellite spectrum to go around for everybody in the world to do high-speed Internet via satellite, And for high data rates, one would need large antennae on the ground. Other limitations include cost, available launch vehicles and orbital slots in an increasingly crowded low-Earth orbit.

This isn’t the first time high altitude balloons have been deployed. The EU’s CAPANINA project successfully delivered wireless broadband from the stratosphere, reports National Geographic.

Every technology has an associated cost curve and scale which are the deciding factors to the spread and penetration of the technology. Currently, such costs associated with Project Loon would be significantly high> Google needs to up the scale for such an initiative. The good thing for Google is that while the scale and complexity of the idea is mind-boggling but it seems plausible, and Google is probably the only company with the resources to pull it off. And then there are others, willing to back some of this effort – Governments for instance!

Often an unconventional thought is key to a conventional problem… it remains to be seen how Google makes this concept come to reality…

The end of Privacy as it happens! (Dont bother – its the industry economics now)

Posted in Internet and Search, Technology impact on economy and population by Manas Ganguly on April 17, 2013

If you’re not paying for something, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold- Andrew Lewis

The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we’re being tracked all the time. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads.Increasingly, what we do on the Internet is being combined with other data about us. Everything we do now involves computers, and computers produce data as a natural by-product. Everything is now being saved and correlated, and many big-data companies make money by building up intimate profiles of our lives from a variety of sources.

Facebook, for example, correlates your online behavior with your purchasing habits offline. And there’s more. There’s location data from your cell phone, there’s a record of your movements from closed-circuit TVs. This is ubiquitous surveillance: All of us being watched, all the time, and that data being stored forever. This is what a surveillance state looks like, and it’s Minority Report all over again.

Sure, we can take measures to prevent this. We can limit what we search on Google from our iPhones, and instead use computer web browsers that allow us to delete cookies. We can use an alias on Facebook. We can turn our cell phones off and spend cash. But increasingly, none of it matters.

There are simply too many ways to be tracked. The Internet, e-mail, cell phones, web browsers, social networking sites, search engines: these have become necessities, and it’s fanciful to expect people to simply refuse to use them just because they don’t like the spying, especially since the full extent of such spying is deliberately hidden from us and there are few alternatives being marketed by companies that don’t spy. This isn’t something the free market can fix. We consumers have no choice in the matter. All the major companies that provide us with Internet services are interested in tracking us. Visit a website and it will almost certainly know who you are; there are lots of ways to be tracked without cookies. Cellphone companies routinely undo the web’s privacy protection.

Maintaining privacy on the Internet is nearly impossible. If you forget even once to enable your protections, or click on the wrong link, or type the wrong thing, and you’ve permanently attached your name to whatever anonymous service you’re using.

In today’s world, governments and corporations are working together to keep things that way. Governments are happy to use the data corporations collect — occasionally demanding that they collect more and save it longer — to spy on us. And corporations are happy to buy data from governments. Together the powerful spy on the powerless, and they’re not going to give up their positions of power, despite what the people want.

Fixing this requires strong government will, but they’re just as punch-drunk on data as the corporations. Welcome to a world where Google knows exactly what sort of porn you all like, and more about your interests than your spouse does. Welcome to a world where your cell phone company knows exactly where you are all the time. Welcome to the end of private conversations, because increasingly your conversations are conducted by e-mail, text, or social networking sites.

And welcome to a world where all of this, and everything else that you do or is done on a computer, is saved, correlated, studied, passed around from company to company without your knowledge or consent; and where the government accesses it at will without a warrant.

Welcome to an Internet without privacy, and we’ve ended up here with hardly a fight.

India iGDP set to break through $100billion with 300mln+ connections by 2015: McKinsey

Posted in Industry updates, Technology impact on economy and population by Manas Ganguly on March 20, 2013

The Internet Economy in India is future waiting to happen. With approximately 200 million new users connecting to the internet in the next 3-4 years horizon Internet is the next big economic and commercial business opportunity. On a cummulative basis the internet economy’s contribution to India’s GDP (i-GDP) is set to break the $100 bln mark (a 3X growth compared to 2012)

1. Number of internet subscribers in India expected to grow from 135 million (Exit 2012) to 330 million (2015).
2. At the same time, Internet’s contribution from India’s GDP to grow from 1.6% in 2011 to 3.4% in 2015.
3. Thus India’s i-GDP (internet contribution to GDP) is expected to hit about $100 billion by 2015 – making it one of the most attractive investment locations and industries globally. Refer to the Chart below for the Assumptions and Calculations

Source: McKinsey's "India Internet Opportunity" March 2013

4. Device Convergence; low cost device innovations; reach and affordability of data networks; Increasing digital literacy; access relevant apps and services on the net are factors that are driving the growth of Internet networks in India.

Whats now required is a comprehensive government policy roadmap for the Telecom sector which has been adrift following a few bad calls by the government.

Source of Data: McKinsey Report March 2013 – India’s Internet Opportunity.

The Information Revolution

Posted in Technology impact on economy and population by Manas Ganguly on August 2, 2012

Years from now, we will read about the Information Revolution as much as we read about the Industrial revolution these days. We live in the era where data and Information are rapidly transcending borders and limitations and changing lives like never before. The stats here prove the point that as a civilization, we are at a inflection point with data and information.

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End of an Era: RIP Print (The case of Encyclopaedia Brittanica)

Posted in Internet and Search, Technology impact on economy and population by Manas Ganguly on March 15, 2012

One of the most enduring and endearing representatives of print is Encyclopaedia Brittanica which after 244 years of print run shut its print run. EB will be available in digital and web formats now on. The product most associated with wisdom of the crowds i.e Wikipedia is credited with the death of the Print edition of EB. EB maintains that the death of Print edition is because the digital media encyclopaedia is taken over. Print encyclopedias account for less than 1% of Britannica’s revenue, while 85% of the revenue comes from educational products and 15 percent from the $70 subscription to its website, which about half a million households pay. Recently, the company recently launched a set of apps ranging between $1.99 and $4.99 per month. Thus the end of Print EB is more about the death of paper and print era at the hands of digital media.
Stating the death of the print media, Jorge Cauz, President of EB expects many trade publishers not to survive and content development company to be filling up the gap

Image courtesy: Statista

Qouting Cauz:
The print edition became more difficult to maintain and wasn’t the best physical element to deliver the quality of our database and the quality of our editorial
It’s a rite of passage in this new era. Some people will feel sad about it and nostalgic about it. But we have a better tool now. The Web site is continuously updated, it’s much more expansive and it has multimedia.
Furthermore, Cauz predicts that, “print may not completely vanish from the market, but I think it is going to be increasingly less important. Many publications will never have a print analog and will only be printed on digital formats.”

Telecom success inspires Indian Policy Makers

Posted in Industry updates, Technology impact on economy and population by Manas Ganguly on October 6, 2011

Inspired by the success of Telecom sector and the advent of mobility, the Government of India is relentlessly pushing for better services, reach and depth of telecom services as a economy support, enabler and growth engine for India. The policy makers think of Telecom as a medium to reach out to the far and inaccessible corners of a rather large state.

A couple of new initiatives are worth mentioning in this regard.

1. The Ministry of Human Resource development (mHRD) along with a UK based device maker DataWind have produced the cheapest tablet/ computing device in the world. Called Aakash (meaning Sky In Hindi), the 7” tablet combines Android 2.2 Froyo, a 336 MHz processor, a 800*480 WVGA resistive screen, 256 MB RAM and 2GB flash memory along with 32GB expandable memory with a 2100 mAH battery in what could be best termed as Frugal Innovation targeting the bottom of the period. The product is priced at an unbelievable $38 and the government is subsiding a lot of it to make it available to colleges and universities.

Not only does this mark the entry of a computing devices to Sec C,D and below consumers, it also opens up a new avenue for internet penetration. It is also expected to spawn off a hundred apps and other value added services

2. To support services through wireless, the government has also at least five new frequency bands, including the 700 Mhz band, for telecom services (mobile broadband). The 700MHz digital dividend was earlier being used for analogue TV signals. The other major spectrum allocation is the use of S-band has been opened up for broadband services. This band, falling between 2.5 Ghz and 2.6 Ghz, is being currently used exclusively by INSAT systems for satellite based services including meteorological data dissemination. If the Plan is implemented then telecom companies could get access to about 200 Mhz spectrum more, which could boost broadband coverage. However, the NFAP is only a broad guideline outlining the future roadmap for spectrum usage in line with international standards. The actual implementation of this Plan depends upon inter-ministerial negotiations.

Apps: The new face of Internet (Part II)

Posted in Applications and User Interfaces, Technology impact on economy and population by Manas Ganguly on February 12, 2011

In the pre-read to this post, i had written about how Internet, the way we know it is fast coming to a saturation and how mobiles will fuel the next growth engine for Internet. Most of the terms and facts used were the clichéd variety.

Internet on Mobile will be different than internet on Computers. There are a few paradigm shifts and i would provide these for the reader’s consideration:

1. Internet is mostly a Pull medium as against a Push medium. For instance, a user gets to know about a particular Facebook update only when he logs into Facebook.
An App changes that. It pushes the Facebook Update on the device and is thus more immediate and relevant than delivery through the Internet.

2. Internet is static medium (low on mobility experiences). Even if a user uses a laptop, the device is incapable of “external intelligence” i.e Time, Location, Context, User Experience. Thus it would only be a communications device than a experience device for the user.
An App with its various APIs is more intelligent to “external” than the internet delivered as a static medium. There are many software engines and APIs which could make the content delivery contemporary to the context of the user. A simple example here is an LBS service or a NFC led discovery. Thus the App adds the dimension of “experience” to the user context.

3. Apps with their ability to wrap around the user context, experience, intelligence thus becomes a far more effective medium for monetizing services. The App thus takes up the role of a media to deliver sponsored messages to the user.
Imagine planning your holiday with Thomas Cook App, which not only includes tickets and stay, but also a mobile based tour guide app which takes you to “your” kind of places, basis the system intelligence of your preferences. Imagine a advertising eco-system that can be built out a local context through this medium.

4. Applications could be delivered through any and many screens: TV, Computer, Mobile and even in cars. One application could travel with the user across his usage dynamically to address him on TV when he is watching a game, on mobile or car when he is travelling , on computer when he is in office.

5. Last but not the least is Apps ability to drive Mobile health, Mobile banking, mobile education solutions across a diverse geography. There’s enough thats being done in the area of basic amenities and utilities to deliver life services to billions through mobile phones and apps.

Thus, apps would alter the way internet is delivered to the next lot of internet users in the world. The medium would be highly customized, very mobile, very user context and experience specific. Best of all things, it could provide unique monetization opportunities to a very diverse eco-system.

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