India Has the Potential to Take a Lead in the Nexus of Cloud, Social, Mobile, and Information Computing
India's unique socio-economic development could create a conducive climate for the development of the nexus of converging forces - social, mobile, cloud and information - which will form the basis of the technology platform of the future, according to Gartner. However, uncertainty over the country's economy, infrastructure and population dynamics will mean that it will be some years before India's true potential is known.
Gartner analysts discussed the growing importance of context-aware computing at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, being held here through Friday.
"The uptake of social media, the use of mobile devices, the rapid development and deployment of core infrastructure -- it's all happening," said Rakesh Kumar, research vice president at Gartner. "The country has all of the raw ingredients. "The ability of the country to put the individual at the center of IT, which is the thesis of the Nexus of Forces, will depend on the social make up of the country and the individual."
Indian population demographics provide the key for the Nexus of Forces. The country has a population of more than 1.2 billion people, 50 percent of which is below the age of 25, providing a huge number of potential young consumers. However, it's not just the age profile that favors India; the country's massive middle class will reach 267 million people by 2016 and by 2025, this group will have expanded dramatically to 583 million people - some 41 percent of the population. These households will see their incomes balloon to 51.5 trillion rupees ($1.1 billion) - 11 times the current level and 58 percent of India's projected total income. The working-age population in India will increase by a 240 million (equivalent to four times the total population of the U.K.) during the next two decades and by 2030, India will have overtaken China as the world's most populous country.
India is emerging in terms of IT communications infrastructure consumption and is supported by a strong ecosystem of IT services providers - both India-based and global - including software and hardware vendors and system integrators. Indian enterprises are continuing to invest in information technology to improve productivity and drive their growth.
From the Nexus of Forces perspective, the Indian market is very small with opportunities and challenges. Gartner highlighted state of these forces in India:
India's cellular market has been growing at a rapid pace and will reach 800 million subscribers by 2012. Mobile communications have become both a necessity and an essential part of youthful life, because fixed-line connections were never fully integrated into the social fabric during the past 20 years. Although India has a large mobile market, most phones are basic and can only be used to make calls or SMS. Eighty percent of Indian market is pre-paid with no data services, and connectivity in rural and interiors is poor.
The increasing volume, variety and velocity of information will overwhelm familiar disciplines for accessing, storing, managing, analyzing, governing, presenting, collaborating on and sharing information. As a result, the IT organization must develop an information strategy to guide its response to business requirements for information. Two areas that will have a significant impact on IT strategy are business intelligence (BI)/analytics and information management.
A Gartner survey showed that most Indian respondents had a greater inclination toward private cloud computing and a budget allocated for engaging with external service providers (ESPs) for private cloud initiatives in 2011. However, skepticism towards the cloud prevails. The overall finding was that Indian IT users feel that the public cloud remains immature for enterprise use.
The uptake of social media remains quite low, and there is a degree of ambivalence toward the use of social media for marketing by Indian retailers. Although it's easy to see how social media could grow rapidly during the next few years, privacy concerns and the cultural fabric of the country may suggest otherwise. Indians are, by nature, private people, focusing more on family than on large social groups. If the use of social media does not reach a substantial proportion of that young, affluent consumer base, then the benefits of the Nexus of forces may not fully materialize.
"If the economic situation is problematic, then the technology situation is also extremely complicated," said Mr. Kumar. "There is a very complex set of interactions that must take place behind the scenes to bring the Nexus of Forces together in a way that users will benefit. It's not just the individual technologies of social, cloud, mobile and information that are key, but the interaction of them. That interaction is both complex and highly interwoven; only time will tell if India has what it takes."