Bangalore IT.in or out?

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it.com-not-hot-enoughDoes location matter...

Does name and the place where you operate matter so much... as a rational person, I thought they should not have much of an importance. But the annual grand show of our city BangaloreIT.com, sorry BangaloreIT.in proved me wrong. It proved to us that numerology and your position on earth does matter.

it.com-not-hot-enoughDoes location matter...

Does name and the place where you operate matter so much... as a rational person, I thought they should not have much of an importance. But the annual grand show of our city BangaloreIT.com, sorry BangaloreIT.in proved me wrong. It proved to us that numerology and your position on earth does matter.

The venue for BangaloreIT.com which took to its new name BangaloreIT.in in 2006, was shifted to the sprawling and impeccable campus of Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) outside the city on Pune highway beyond Peenya. They say that if you have successful name, don't try to change it. One look at the proceedings of the tenth edition of BangaloreIT.in showed how dismal the situation was. The huge conference hall was nearly empty with more panelists on dais than audience!

Expo participants were so heartbroken that they were seen packing up early on the last day's afternoon while weekend visitors were just coming in. BIEC as a venue is excellent in terms of infrastructure and has expo facilities of international standards, but the distance of nearly 20 kms from the city centre is daunting. Moreover the painfully frustrating traffic from Yeshwantpur to Peenya can kill all the enthusiasm.

But it was sad for the few foreign delegates who had come to meet the best of Indian software companies and listen to the eminent speakers. There were very few major IT company stalls and most of the glitzy ones were from the investment seeking state governments from across India. Thankfully the few companies that were present, displayed some excellent innovative products.

Connecting hearts at low cost

While we urbanites debate about the quality of mobile network connectivity, lesser mortals in the remote villages cannot even think of having a network. When we enquire about this disparity, telecom operators point out to the huge capital expenditure in setting cellular towers in every remote village. While mobile customers in emerging markets typically spend around Rs280 to Rs400 per month on mobile services, providers seeking to access rural markets have to make mobile connectivity affordable for people who can spend just Rs80 to Rs120.

it.com-village-connectionTo surpass this hurdle, a Nokia Siemens joint venture is working on a pilot project named Nokia Siemens Networks Village Connection (NSN-VC). This novel connection network architecture brings the network and business functions to a local level, building cost-effective connectivity village by village. Operators may opt to employ local people to manage access within each village, or license the mobile access rights to local entrepreneurs for a particular area. So capital costs are slashed and operating costs are significantly reduced compared with conventional roll-outs.

The NSN Village Connection comprises village-level GSM access points and regional access centers. The link between the access points and subscriber terminals is via GSM, while the link between the access points and access centers is via internet. Each village typically hosts one access point, which is an integrated local wireless point comprising radio transmitter, power and IT hardware and software, all bundled into a compact unit. The access point's software runs on a PC that is connected to a GSM transmitter with an omni-antenna. It is a plug-and-play module, which needs no explicit commissioning or operations support from trained network personnel. Each access point can typically support up to 80 subscribers at a cost of Rs1 lakh per village.

Language launchpad

Another innovative idea which drew everyone's attention was Quillpad. Catering to the need of using local language in mobile as well as internet communication, Tachyon Technologies showcased its novel idea of local language transliterating technology called Quillpad. Now any person using a PC or a phone can type in an Indian language without help of any linguistic expert.

it.com-quillpadRam Prakash H and his team have developed an artificial intelligence technology, which learns the language patterns and can transliterate a language. The newly developed technology enables predictive transliteration, which is similar to the way T9 dictionary supports English words on mobile phones. Another unique feature is that the technology is not dependent on one Indian language or its structure. It supports any language that can be written phonetically.

Before Quillpad, transliteration technologies forced us to type according to pre-defined rules. For eg: to get the Hindi version of ‘rashtrbhasha' the user had to type rAShTrabhAShA. Such rigid case-sensitive typing rules, made using Indian languages on computers very unattractive for a layman. A transliteration technology that allows users to type words as they would casually do (like ‘rashtrbhasha' instead of ‘rAShTrbhAShA) becomes the fundamental necessity. Since Google is also testing its ‘Google Indic Transliteration', we have to see whether Quillpad can convince telecom and software companies.

Attracting IT eyeballs

it.com-tatasafariWhat is a Tata Safari car doing in an IT trade expo... BangaloreIT.in featured the Tata Safari Dicor which is a newly launched version of the older sports utility vehicle. That brings up the debate about cross industry promotional idea that is now happening in trade expos. The out-of-the-box thinkers say that if a product or service unconnected to an event is displayed amidst an array of similar looking products, it breaks the monotony and pulls in the audience due to curiosity. But puritans disagree stating that audience come into an event with a focus and they will not show interest on an unconnected item. So the debate rages on!

WiMax is here atlast

it.com-vsnl-wimaxThe much awaited WiMax wireless broadband connection is being unveiled by various service providers. VSNL, the dominant player in net connectivity claims to be the first company to commercially launch its WiMax broadband for enterprise customers. In BangaloreIT.in, VSNL launched its WiMax broadband for retail customers. It provides an access point (a box with an antenna) and a data card for the computer to access Wi-Fi. At 512kbps, the net connection was visibly fast with video downloads playing faster than they were being downloaded. So let the wireless war begin! 

Compiled by Levine Lawrence for Businessgyan.

Issue BG80 Nov07

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