What do 2010s hold for India?

Summary:It's very difficult to crystal-gaze. Back in 2000, when mobile telephony was becoming cheaper in India (and I had just acquired my first mobile phone--my elder brother's hand-me-down, a Nokia 1610), I would have never anticipated that in less than five years, almost every man/woman on Delhi's streets would own a mobile phone.

It's very difficult to crystal-gaze. Back in 2000, when mobile telephony was becoming cheaper in India (and I had just acquired my first mobile phone--my elder brother's hand-me-down, a Nokia 1610), I would have never anticipated that in less than five years, almost every man/woman on Delhi's streets would own a mobile phone.

Today, my mobile phone has mobile phone numbers of my domestic maid, the vegetable vendor, and even the man who comes to pick up the garbage every morning.

Things changed quite drastically during the last decade. It's a lifestyle change of sorts--new gadgets for entertainment, smarter mobile phones, the spread of digital cameras, more efficient laptops, sleeker data storage devices and so much more. These were things my 20-something brain could not have fathomed back in 2000.

As opposed to (most) adults, kids today are a lot more clued into technology and what it may offer us in the future. Last year, during his annual vacation to Delhi, my nine-year old nephew Saahil, had very interesting thoughts to share.

He said by 2020, the world would be a very different place. "All gadgets would be able to talk to one another. We would all wear watches that could double up as a computer, a mobile video phone, a Playstation, a camera and much more. We could even give instructions to our microwave ovens and air-conditioners from our watch," Saahil said.

Saahil had several such thoughts to share (like how we would vacation on resorts in outer space) and I asked him to write them down and e-mail them to me (I was even hoping he'd ghost-write my blog for a change). But like most kids his age, he preferred to spend the rest of his vacation playing games on his Playstation, spending time on Facebook, watching TV and wrapping up his holiday homework.

Probably there's a lot more that Saahil and kids his age can foresee that we cannot. But one thing is rather obvious--we have just entered another decade of stupendous technological advancements and innovations. Probably a lot more than what we saw in the 2000s.

My instinct tells me that more innovations will be tailored around the needs of people in emerging economies--that's something we are already witnessing (for instance, innovations like the Spoken Web, solar-powered mobile phones, and cheaper cars like Tata Nano).

With focus on e-government and building a stronger IT infrastructure, the day is not far when the finest educational institutions, banks and hospitals in the country would reach every village in India using technologies like telepresence, WiMax and 3G. Hopefully, technology will bring more parity into this country.

A happy new decade to all readers of ZDNet Asia!

Topics: Telcos, Hardware, India, Mobility

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