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With Cloud, SMBs Will Lead Emerging Economies Across the Digital Divide

By Peter Ford, Director, IBSG Service Provider

Service providers in developing countries have the potential to kick-start economic growth by helping small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) take advantage of information and communications technology (ICT), especially cloud services. The “greenfield” nature of ICT in many emerging economies creates the opportunity to “leapfrog” to cloud computing.

For some time, governments have recognized the role of broadband in supporting economic development. The World Bank states that for every 10 percent of broadband penetration in a developing economy, there is typically a 1.38 percent increase in GDP.

Each year, there have been tangible improvements in broadband networks across emerging markets. However, in Read More »

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India: A report on Internet usage and growth opportunities

Guest post from:

Arvind Mathur, Corporate Consulting Engineer, Research & Advanced Development

Internet is at an inflection point in India and the market is well-positioned for massive adoption as efforts of various stakeholders start to converge and gather momentum: Government (Spectrum, Policies, Mandates, National Broadband Network, Regulation), Industry (3G and 4G networks, fiber access, Public Private Partnerships, content/application development, new business models); Consumers (fueled by strong uptake of social networking and entertainment services, adoption of Smart Devices), and Enterprises (internet-based business services, collaboration, cloud services). The convergence of technologies and convergence of users is setting up the stage for India’s Internet horizon.

India has massive potential for Internet growth, but in an environment that is challenged by limited infrastructure, affordability issues and accessibility in terms of India-centric content and applications delivered in local languages.  The total wireless subscriber base is now close to 900 million in the country.

This hyper-growth in the mobility sector underscores

a)     the latent subscriber demand that was previously un-met by wireline access,

b)    the importance of wireless technologies for vast coverage across varied terrain profiles that is deployed in dramatically shortened timelines,

c)     that India is very sensitive to cost and affordability of telecom services – and that as a market it can support massive uptake in growth – provided service providers have the right services at the right price-points, and

d)    that innovation in business models across the value-chain is key to market sustainability and profitability. Clearly, India has developed into a ‘mobile-first economy’. The challenge and opportunity for India is thus: how do we now replicate the unparalleled success of mobility for the Internet?

Internet usage in India

The latest Internet subscriber count now stands at 23 million*1. However, importantly the ‘mobility revolution’ of recent times has had a very positive impact on the growth of ‘wireless data’ subscribers and estimates put the number of wireless data subscribers at about 432 million subscribers.

This wireless data adoption is an important indicator – a precursor -- for the growth of wireless internet and broadband growth in India as 3G and 4G networks are deployed and broadband services over these networks becomes available and get absorbed to the yet un-served bandwidth/application-hungry community of subscribers. Besides the pre-dominant DSL access for Broadband Internet (85%), Cable Modem Technology (5%) and Ethernet LAN (5%) are other competing technologies in the internet access space.

Internet growth opportunities and market potential

India is served by approximately 190 ISP’s, and about 155 Broadband Service Providers*2 – although only 28 of these providers share 99% of the total broadband subscriber base – this skew exemplifies the lack of affordable broadband infrastructure across India on one hand, and also the lack of subscriber uptake (affordability, content) on the other. The total revenue reported by the Internet Service providers (for the quarter ending December 2011) was approximately US$ 600 million. Innovative VAS are an important dimension to Internet growth in India, which include ‘verticalized’ services in the health and education segments amongst others which are strongly funded through multiple Government programs.

It is apparent, and logical, that wireless technologies will continue to play an important role for Internet access in India; supported by the recent regulatory steps for the digitalization of the CATV network that mandates CATV operators to migrate to digital modems in the wireline access network.

The business opportunity in the India Internet space is accessible primarily via the following avenues:

1.       Working with SPs, CATV providers, mobility service providers (especially as 3G and 4G networks emerge, and CATV regulatory mandates become effective) and ISPs (they own significant spectrum and infrastructure on the ground and customers in both consumer and enterprise segments)

2.       Accessing the largely untapped rural broadband market (95% of broadband subscribers are in Urban areas). The Bharat Broadband Network floated by the Government of India will play a crucial role in delivering affordable bandwidth access to all types of service providers (local- regional- national telcos, ISP’s CATV providers, content service providers  etc) over a common fiber network in the core and aggregation network that will be agnostic to the deployment of a range of wireline and wireless technologies in the access network.

3.       Working with India-centric content and applications developers that can provide local language support.

*References

1.       ‘The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators, October-December 2011’. Published by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India., New Delhi (April 13, 2012)

2.       ‘Convergence & Broadband in the Digital Era’  by Rajkumar Upadhyay, Advisor, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (April 2012)

 

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M-Agriculture Empowers Farmers in Developing Economies

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

A while back, I wrote about the potential for mobile banking to create new opportunity and economic growth in developing countries. Now, I’d like to look at how a related application, mobile agriculture (m-agriculture), is transforming rural villages.

M-agriculture is about bringing mobile information access to rural communities and small-hold farmers. While the concept is still in its infancy, early implementations suggest it can make a big difference.

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Cisco VXI Tour: APAC Update

Many of us here on the Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) team are excited about upcoming news around Cisco’s virtualization solutions. And the Cisco VXI message gets amplified further at VMworld Copenhagen (Oct 18) and Citrix Synergy Barcelona (Oct 25).

VXI logo

Here is a quick video summary that my wife, Beth Dooley, helped me record a few hours after returning home (Silicon Valley, San Francisco Bay Area, California) from my VXI Experience Tour in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. The video was shot from our backyard deck. The original was 10 mins in length but we cut it down to just the first 3 mins:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZ6Ih_WNGVg

During this VXI tour in APAC,  I delivered our message to 10 sessions, 3 countries (Singapore, Japan, Korea) with hundreds of customers, partners, and internal Cisco teams. Siva Mandalam (Director, Cisco Enterprise Architecture & Systems) delivered our message in India the week before. PJ Barber (Director, Cisco Desktop Virtualization) delivers our message in Australia this week.

Prior to this trip, the Cisco team was expecting the vast majority of its near-term revenue, partner activity and customer interest for VXI to be concentrated in North America and Europe. After this APAC tour, it’s obvious there are some big things happening in Asia.  Many could argue that the most mature countries in the APAC region for desktop virtualization adoption would be Australia and India.  However, we’re seeing early signs of positive growth in Korea, Japan, and parts of China and SouthEast Asia as well.

In Japan, the attendance and interest exceeded everyone’s expectation with sessions in the hundreds leaving standing room only.  In Korea, the teams were not only enthusiastic but they could see beyond just hosted virtual desktops and how this architecture applied to their overall “cloud” initiatives. In recent years, Korea has taken an innovation leadership role in areas such as automobiles, home appliances, consumer electronics, Internet broadband delivery, mobile handsets, and a variety of Post-PC devices from companies like Samsung and LG. Also, Korea’s modern culture is a strikingly unique blend of old tradition and new innovation. You can see this blending of old and new not only in their technology landscape but it extends into their music, fashion, and films. Cisco VXI is in many ways a blending of old (Windows PCs and legacy applications) and new (virtual workspaces using collaborative networking and cloud-based computing).

In my opinion, Korea is a country to watch for the next 12-18 months in this area. I could see at least one or two of Korea’s leading industries emerge as a guiding light for how businesses can move into the Post-PC area, deliver unique collaboration services, and embrace cloud computing in a way that we have not seen before.

Overall: the APAC region leveraging Cisco VXI has all the ingredients to be a significant portion of “first-mover” Enterprises and Service Providers in the Post-PC era. The proliferation of next generation devices are well suited for VXI when combined with rich collaboration services using high-performance networks and clouds. We just need to help convert this beaming enthusiasm into action. Amazing new developments are sure to come out of Asia, yet again.

Doug Dooley

Cisco Systems — Director, Desktop Virtualization

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Fixed Wireless Broadband: How and When

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

Howard’s recent post on the potential for broadband to reshape rural areas raised some interesting issues, and generated a lot of discussion. For me though, the biggest question it raised was how service providers will actually make it work. How can they deliver broadband services to vast, sparsely populated regions in a way that makes sense economically?

Of course, the industry is already answering this question. One promising possibility: fixed wireless broadband.

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