Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Aadhar UIDAI Project Clearing Myths

Aadhar mass enrollment drive is in full swing at pockets across the country. Associated with it is also a whole set of myths and rumors that are doing the rounds leading to chaos at the enrollment centers. The last I heard from my native in central Karnataka was that of people queuing up at the Aadhar centre (as if there is no tomorrow)  at 2:00 in the afternoon for an enrollment session the next day. Along with it the rationing by the government peon who selects the first 50 and asks the remaining to try the next day. Throw in fist fights, proxy queuing and  abuses and it does not paint a rosy picture.

When I asked why this mad rush, the people told me everything except the facts...Some gathered below are
  1. This will replace the ration card.
  2. After first 2000 people, rest will not be given Aadhar numbers till next year.
  3. You will not be allowed to vote in the election.
  4. Banks will close your savings account if you do not give them Aadhar number.
  5. You can't file taxes with PAN alone; you will need Aadhar.
Everything so far from the truth....

Here below is an attempt at separating the facts from fiction. I have drawn this from the official UIDAI site
Aadhar is …
Aadhar is NOT…
A number (12 digits)
Another card
For every individual, including infants
One per family
Enables identification
For establishing citizenship
Is only for Indians
Collects demographic and biometric data (10 fingerprints and iris scan) to establish uniqueness
Collects profiling information such as case, religion, language
Mandatory / Compulsory
For every resident irrespective of existing documentation
Only for individuals having some identification
One individual à One ID
Individual can obtain multiple IDs
UIDAI will establish a universal identification structure that can be used by banks, passport office, ration card, etc
Going to replace all other IDs
UIDAI will only give a “YES” or “NO” response for any query from banks/passport/etc regarding identification
UIDAI will share all collected information with all public institutions

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Blue Sky Thinking - Aakash Tablet

Aakash an Android-based tablet designed and developed by DataWind has been unveiled by the Indian government as a low cost but full functioning device in order to attempt to bridge the digital divide.

Manufactured in India, Aakash is primarily to serve as a platform for audio-visual media including books, periodicals, movies, music, games, and web content. The actual price of Akash tablet is 2250 ($45), but Govt will be subsidizing the student tablets and provide it at rate of  1750 ($35)
Now I hear a lot of head shaking by naysayers who point out the "unworthy" hardware specs, the lack of access to the open Android App marketplace for now, no ability to access GPRS/3G Internet, etc. The point being missed out is 2
  1. Strength of the specs is relative to the audience the device is intended for - If the device has been intended as a entry level tablet for millions of not so well to do Indian students with an attempt to allow them access to the world's digital knowledge at their fingertips at a fraction of the cost of what other market devices are priced at, then it is an objective very well met.
  2. There is always a first; copycats with all kinds of features and add-ons will follow suite - A ground  breaking device like Aakash (it has broken ground not on the technology front, but on the social front) will always have hiccups before field usage data regarding the tablet will flow back into the industry for other players to improve and enter the low cost market. And what better market to test such a device than India?

 What do you think? Is Aakash a worthwhile attempt?

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Monday, October 17, 2011

4G rollout on the heels of 3G

Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries today announced plans to launch a 4G based highspeed braodband wireless services across the country in 2012.

Now you may be wondering what 4G is all about. We had 2G for a long time, then 3G was promised for a long time and we got it just a few days back and now 4G is already beckoning. While 4G is the evolutionary next step, what it effectively does is make blur the differences between regular phone networks and data packet networks. Here's a mini primer..
  1. 4G will rollout an all IP based hi-speed mobile broadband.
  2. Dedicated line connections between two people conversing will be a thing of the past. Everything will be data packet based.
  3. High speed ultra broadband will be available on a wireless mode to mobiles, tablets and all forms of smart devices.
  4. 3 technologies form the core of 4G backbone: Mobile WiMax, HSPA+ and LTE (Long Term Evolution)
  5. Max speed in 3G networks that has been acheived is 28Mbits/sec for downloads. 4G networks will usher in a 1Gbit/sec speeds and 100Mbits/sec will become a routine.
  6. Since every device in a 4G network has a IP, there will be a seamless handover as the user moves across cells
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Monday, October 10, 2011

One Nation - One Number - One Rate

Come January and you might be able to

  1. Enjoy same rate calling across the country.....Roaming charges will be dead.
  2. You will be able to retain the same mobile number across the country i.e MNP will be made possible across telecom circles and not just operators withing same circle as is the case now.
  3. Browse and surf the internet at blazing fast speeds.
As per the new draft telecom policy introduced by Union Telecom minister Kapil Sibal, all this should be finalized by December 2011. There are also a few service provider initiatives aimed at market consolidation.

While these would usher in happy times for consumers, it would also mean a mini social revolution.

  • For starters, imagine living with one number you might want to carefully choose when you get your first mobile connection. You need not change it for life !!
  • If that is true, I am sure the next big craze that will catch up is to take in a number that reflects your name, surname, place, etc. Say, my number could be +91-xxxxx-84529 (84529 corresponds to VIJAY on the mobile keypad)
  • A person's verified mobile number might also be accepted identity proof if proper regulations are framed.
  • Mobile payments may be ushered in faster with banks tying in your credit history to your mobile number.
  • Rules might be ushered in by the government making it hard to get more than 1 mobile number assigned to 1 person.
  • How about "Work from Home" or even "Work from Home Town" becoming a reality with flat calling charges and blazing fast internet available?
  • How about Indian Facebook users jumping ship to Google+ just to enjoy the Community Video chat facility that is now possible due to faster internet speeds?
  • Piracy of CDs drops but illegal online sharing of media content rises?

Time will tell what predictions will come true....What more of such things can you think of?

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Moving back to Silicon City of India

My blogs have seen no updates for the last 1 month. Don't worry...I am not shutting them down yet. Not anywhere in the near future.

I have shifted my base from Chennai to Bangalore and hence the lack of updates in the midst of my transit and settling down.

A lot of interesting things have transpired on field that I will blog about in the days to come. Keep waiting for the updates to start flowing soon....Keep reading and commenting !!
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