How India Stands to Gain from Cloud Computing
“The land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, of splendor and rags, of palaces and hovels, of famine and pestilence, of genii and giants and Aladdin lamps, of tigers and elephants, the cobra and the jungle, the country of hundred nations and a hundred tongues, of a thousand religions and two million gods, cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of traditions…”
- Mark Twain (1835-1910), legendary American author and humorist.
For many, India is still the land of exotic beauty as portrayed by Twain, but for those in IT, it is a land of opportunity and growth. At the same time, in spite of the exponential rise of IT employment in India, the workers are often derided as “IT coolies” for the mundane, low-skilled work most of them do. However, I proposed that may soon change in the new era of cloud computing.
Whereas Indian IT workers started late as compared to their counterparts in the West due to the lack of opportunities in the 1980s, that is no longer the case. The Indian IT employee will no longer have to play catch-up because the interconnectedness of today’s world ensures a level playing field as far as the dissemination of knowledge is concerned. Combining this with the strong engineering tradition in the country and the popularity of English-medium education, India can very well emerge as a cloud computing superpower. That, in essence, was my argument.
See: Is India The Next Cloud Computing Superpower?
Now, it seems Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has similar thoughts about India. Recently, on a visit to the country, he praised India’s IT potential to the skies – 1,300 independent software vendors, 1.4 million software programmers, and 11,000 system integration firms – and commented that cloud computing will create 300,000 jobs in India over the next five years.
On 26 May, Ballmer spoke at an industry event organized by corporate body CII (Confederation of Indian Industries) and explained the rationale behind Microsoft’s interest in cloud computing. “It starts from a fundamental understanding that technology needs to get simpler and more human over the next four to five years. The first element is developing natural human interfaces which recognize basic human characteristics like voice and touch. The evolution of technology is such that it should be working the way people work,” he said.
“The second element is that differences in languages and interpretation need to be bridged to make computing and therefore conduct business easier. When one searches for some information on a search engine, more than 50% of times you get links that are not relevant. More often than not, you press the back button. Cloud Computing can help you get the information you are looking for in an organized manner. Natural user interface and natural language will shape the products we continue to develop and Cloud Computing will facilitate this transformation,” he added. Whether the search engine reference was a subtle dig at arch rival Google is open to conjecture.
Ballmer was optimistic about cloud computing and it showed in his animated talk, as well as his vision of the future. “Cloud will automate and operate applications quickly so that people can learn and consume information in an interesting manner. It will analyze and take action. In this field, cloud will enable simulation of the physical world in its virtual format. The possibilities of such applications are endless for fields such as biotechnology, medicine, geophysics, chemistry, etc. Cloud will help create, collaborate and share the fruits of such analysis and tests. It will help people in enjoying real-time interactive games and socialize between themselves,” he said.
He also had words of advice for Indian IT stakeholders. “The key to life in terms of technology is to look forward before anybody else beats you to it. You have to think what is better, what you want, what your employees want. Cloud computing will enable the use of IT more productively and it is imperative that India which is a major developer of computer programs makes use of this technology,” he said.
And India’s growth in cloud computing is not from provider side alone, but from the consumer side as well. With an economy consistently growing at an average of 8% and Internet penetration increasing by the day, cloud computing service providers can justifiably expect considerable business from India. And with innovative companies like TCS to lead the way (See: InstaCompute: Simple & Instant Cloud Computing , India’s march to cloud computing superpower status may have already begun.
By Sourya Biswas