Thursday, November 16, 2006

WiMax ought to be priority #1

GoBroadband carried a story of India receiving a note of caution from the WiMax forum, of the possibility of getting left behind in the race to deploy WiMax solutions due to its non-allocation of the necessary spectrum in 2.5 to 2.69 GHz for these services.
WiMax is a wireless Internet solution that involves making use of towers similar to the ones for cellular mobile services and dispersing wireless signals that your WiMax enabled laptop or computer or any other mobile device could pick up and let you surf Internet on-the-move at broadband speeds.

TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has currently set aside 3.3-3.4 GHz for WiMax unlike the 2.5-2.69 GHz that is being set worldwide. This range has been reserved in India for applications like disaster warning, dissemination and radio networking.

Implications could be disastrous as WiMax deployment costs could spiral upwards due to customized WiMax transceivers that would be required if India operates WiMax at a frequency band different from what the world has embraced. We just cannot live with this kind of a situation in a fast growing country like India whose claim to fame rests on the fact that India is bypassing 'Industrial growth phase' and is directly moving into the 'Information growth phase' in its transition from a developing country to a developed one. Internet penetration, which is touted to deliver us nirvana from the rural-urban divide, cannot be sacrificed at the altar of bureaucracy and inappropriate decision making. The need of the hour is to quickly take pulse of the situation and make the changes necessary to ease India's movement into the WiMax age.

VSNL, the Tata controlled Internet service provider, has already indicated of plans to start rolling out its WiMax services in 6 months time provided the necessary spectrum was allocated to it by TRAI.

The willingness on the government's part to take the necessary strides in the right direction to assure businesses and NGOs will be key in determining how quickly India can see the dawn of the WiMax age that shows tremendous promise
  • One in terms, of boosting business in India as city wide WiMax zones are rolled out
  • Two, in terms of achieving last-mile connectivity that would be imperative to bridge the rural-urban divide in India.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Glocalization - The Infosys Way

Infosys is going global in a big way and one way of going global and sustaining global operations is to hire foreign talent who would guide the company in their local markets. Infosys had hired 10 US students last year as part of its pilot program. Riding on the success of the program, Infosys rapidly expanded the program and has about 126 students now getting trained at it Mysore campus, Karnataka. These students come from diverse backgrounds. Infosys also has plans to expand its hiring engine to recruit talent from the Europe and Australia. These students would be posted across Infosys's different global office on completion of their training to serve as guiding lights to the Infosys teams working in these markets already.

Check out this video at CNN IBN that gives an insight into this new development that might soon catch up across other IT majors in India like Wipro, Satyam , TCS, etc.

This definitely marks the coming of a full cycle for a company that was blamed as a stealer of American jobs earlier on. It is now showing how globalization not just takes but also gives back.

From the Infosys point of view this move is a crucial step because it marks the beginning of what Thomas Friedman of the "The World is Flat" fame likes to call "Glocalization". Going Global and Local at the same time. Going Global by leveraging on Local talent in foreign markets. If harnessed properly, this single step of the company will reap rich dividends for the company in more than one way
  • It will integrate seamlessly with local cultures
  • People would be less hesitant to work in a company that gives importance to local talent
  • Local Businesses would also be less hesitant to outsource work to Infosys as it would have local people who can better relate to the local business markets.
  • Each local unit would be better able to act as an engine of growth for further penetration of local markets.
I am looking forward to see what other benefits this step would accrue to Infosys. 'Zooming-out' to look at the big picture and 'zooming-in' to make alterations in the machinery of the company to achieve the behavior of the company in a way that would be well received in the bigger picture is what globalization is all about.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

From IIM Students to IIM Aspirants

Indian Institute of Management (IIM) aspirants in India who plan to take the Common Admission Test (CAT) have online help now from the people who matter: IIM Students themselves.

A group of four final year students have launched, a website that promises to help registered users continuous practice sessions all-along the year leading to the CAT in November to give them the necessary skills and confidence required to crack the CAT, regarded world-wide as the toughest B-School admission test ever administered. Of 200,000 aspirants who appear for the tests, just 1200 are finally admitted into

The web site has recorded close to one lakh hits in the first four days of its launch. Moreover, it already has over 1,500 registered users.

Launched by retired army major Devashish Chakravarty, IT and research professional Bhushan Dabir, Vineeta Singh, a fresher from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IITM) and an IT professional Vishal Prabhukhanolkar, the site offers ten fresh questions every day for IIM-aspirants to try and hone their skills. Definitely a site worth a visit by any CAT taker.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Impressions of a Busy Indian Orkutian

The longest gap since I began blogging must have left my readers wondering. Well, not to worry, I am back.

These days Orkut keeps me busy: Google's popular social networking tool that allows you to connect virtually to friends, pass small messages, share photos and even talk with your fellow Orkutians. People who had long receded into the dark alleys of my conscious memory suddenly pop out of nowhere and drop me a scrap. (A scrap is a small message that you scribble in your buddy's virtual scrapbook, for all you non-Orkutians). The last 100 days have not passed without me getting back in touch with a old friend or acquaintance of mine every 2 days once. Hardly any time to get a sketch of all the water that has passed between us during this time that another one pops up. Orkut literally has taken my world by storm.

However one thing seemed very strange. How come so many friends sense I am on Orkut? I dug through Orkut's official knowledge repository and came up with something that exactly pinpointed at this kinda odd feeling that lingered with me.

Nearly 11% of Orkut's 31,727,243 people are Indians, which is close to 3.5 million Indians. Whoa !!! Indians form the 3rd largest group among Orkutians, after Brazilians and Americans. No wonder all my people are there on Orkut.

I would say that these 3.5 million Indians are just the early adopters in a product's normal distribution curve. Imagine the day when Indians start thronging Orkut gates in swarms. Maybe Google anticipated it and changed the model from a "by-invite" only to a "free-for-all" model. I dread the day India overtakes Brazil in terms of Orkutians. Better get back to polishing my Orkut skills.

Problems abound too with certain features like hate communities, viruses, and open architecture of Orkut creating problems to users of the service. Recently, the Bombay High Court's Aurangabad bench served a notice on Google for 'allowing a hate campaign against India'. This referred to a community on Orkut called 'We Hate India' which carries a picture of an Indian flag being burnt and some anti-India content. Then there are problems of an Indian social site called Gazzag that is viral in nature and uses Orkut's open API architecture to invite all users of a new person who has signed up to Gazzag by soliciting him/her for their Orkut username and password.

Inspite of these problems, Orkut, I feel, is poised to turn into one big online social virtual world in India given its rising popularity. The sheer reason being that its popularity is driven by a heady cocktail of emotional satisfaction, the pride of a 3 digit friend count and the need to have all your folks online so that it makes your Orkut existence a meaningful one. All these result in each of the existing Orkut users calling other people online.

Network effect and User created content is all that is there at this site. Google stands to benefit from all this due to the sheer brilliance of their Turkish engineer Orkut Büyükkökten, who developed Orkut during his spare time at Google. Does "advertising potential" for Google strike a bell?. Just wait and see as the future unravels.

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