The term ‘Digitalization’ is often used interchangeably with ‘Digitisation’. Though both usages may be correct; we are using the term ‘Digitalization’ to express a process of application of digitisation (using digital signals to replace analog signals) in a community as a whole.
Digitalization of a community fosters innovation, inclusiveness, skill development and most importantly, it is a way people can think and look forward. In all, a digital community can be the greatest competitive advantage India can offer to attract investors to various sectors.
Practically speaking, investors look for profit and profit is the greatest virtue a business can give to the community. The materialization of digital communities can provide the smoothness and ease with which businesses can start running within days of inception as it can successfully streamline ideation, production and advertising campaigns that would result in the government and local customers all queuing up at one single window. Hence, it would superbly enhance speed, spread, skill and solution.
Objectives of creating a Digital Community:
– Digital Inclusion
– Digital Access
– Digital Solutions
Digital Inclusion is when the technologically marginalized or challenged parts of the community are made aware of the advancements. On an individual level, it can mean receiving government funds for livelihood/ medicine/ education by removing the trickle down effect when middlemen/ unnecessary entities in order to ensure smoother flow of resources and funds to intended group. For example, in Karnataka, villagers are able to access subsidized food grains through the Public Distribution System (PDS) with ease as the process has been streamlined by using identity authentication with a bio-metric reader.
On a community level, digitalization can support small enterprises, cottage industries, naari udyog (Women’s enterprises), public safety and ease of communication during grievances / lodging complaints. People can undertake their local business (manufacturing/retail/ bio-energy etc) by advertising their local business in a platform which is community oriented and whose reach is much larger than the community.
Secondly, creating a web of Search Engine Optimization experts from the area or through the local academic community who could help with the optimization of local businesses to expose them to greater web traffic.
Skill development is part and parcel of the inclusion program. The main aim of inclusion is to bring in the marginalized as well as the established onto a common platform, providing them a digital identity and teaching them ways to further their economic and developmental goals.
INTEL is undertaking ‘Digital Skills for India‘ programme, through which it unveiled a digital skills training application and digital literacy with modules of finance and healthcare in 5 different Indian languages. It aims to work with the Indian government in the village panchayat (governance at the grass-root) level and impact millions of citizens by the end of 2015. The app is said to be available for free for Android in different Indian languages.
Digital Access is the availability of an inexpensive, reliable and a fast broadband network. It should also address inaccessible areas and the challenges such regions throw up with regards to access and connectivity. Setting up of anchor points like libraries, community meeting points, bus stops etc. that can house a decent quality of wireless network so that the point of access is always a short distance away.
Inaccessible areas and large areas bring about a significant challenge as providing network connectivity to such far flung areas might be expensive from a practical view-point. But this problem can be solved with properly setting up routers.
Setting up a router from the last point of broadband coverage can further the internet access to an extra one mile. Sub-Saharan Africa already uses Microwave point-point access for its schools and education. In the United States, wireless access up to 25 kilometers in range is achievable and is provided by companies like Airmax.
Mobile access points, where the wireless connection is mounted on a moving vehicle and facilitating the GIS/GPS connectivity for the vehicle to move into areas where concentrations of populations, is also a feasible alternative solution.
Digital Solutions for problems resulting from encumbrances caused by physical paperwork and physical access can be overcome by e-governance, and e-entrepreneurship.
Governance is proportional to information and data. The more informed a government is, the better are its decisions.(This can also be viewed from the fact that the NSSO is undertaking a very ambitious and wide-scale sample survey right now.) Hence, setting up of a local online complaint and suggestion cell where citizens are a part of governance, where they can provide information about an uprooted tree in the middle of the road or suspicious activities in the citizen’s neighbourhood to a variety of turn-about solutions a citizen can offer with a civic or governing issue. Creating such one-stop shops for multiple services can ease the hassles for both the authority and the civilians.
Intel is also coming up with an ‘Innovate For India Challenge’ next year through which it plans to encourage developers to provide relevant solutions to drive adoption of technology in India. In an event in Delhi, it showcased Micromax Canvas Tab P666 that is powered by Intel’s atom processor.
Utilization of online services which are bent on geographic boundaries means providing custom made solutions for the residents in the geographic area. Example: an Instagram page of the local retailers where all the businesses can advertise the ‘offer of the day’ or just by exhibiting their competitive advantage will raise the aggregate demand of the area. The same platform can also be used to collect data, seek feedback and pose queries to overcome business related hardships thus delegating entrepreneurship to the knowledgeable lot.
Implementation of video conferencing of court proceedings, video games that can help develop entrepreneurship can also be added to the interface to receive more hits from school going children to homemakers using internet to work as a sort of back office for the government for retrieval or recording of data.
Developing a digital community for a #DigitalIndia is one of the major steps to be taken in order to garner fresh investment and achieve growth. In its backbone, an engine to drive and sustain the force is a prerequisite.
The automation, integration and the streamlining of the digitalization process requires sophisticated hardware, software and networking tools. Such an ambitious project of wide-scale and on-going digitization needs to be supported by powerful microprocessors that are able to drive, sustain and propel growth. This is where reliability and sophisticated of Intel comes into play. Powerful computing with reliable and efficient processors are needed to drive and fuel the economy to prosperity. Strong government initiatives coupled by powerful computing will not only ensure the smooth execution and transformation: by having every citizen on an electronic file, to ensure benefits reach the one it has been intended for and also promoting ease and transparency in start-up processes, production, health-care and manufacturing to enable this young country (with 50% of population below 25 years of age) gain a momentum and propulsion towards a stellar development.
With digitalization transforming lives of the people every single day; it is vitally important to create awareness among people so that they can benefit from it, if we want to achieve commitment, drive growth and productivity, create jobs and employment and a better future for the people of this great nation.
If you support Intel’s #DigitalIndia vision, download the ‘digital skills’ app here:
©2013-2015, The Idea Bucket. Written by AS Prashanth. Edited by Ananya.