25 Ways in which Technology has influenced everyday life



Computerized Railway Reservation
With over 8,520 trains carring 11 mn passengers each day with about 550,000
having reserved accommodation, computerized railway reservation is one
technological implementation by the Indian Railways that has helped
revolutionize the reservation and ticketing process in India.

Officially called PRS (Passenger Reservation System), the system has not only
given the freedom to railway travelers to book seats/berths from any
computerized railway reservation counter located anywhere in the country, but
also speeded up the entire process of ticketing, thereby saving precious time of
commuters, and making the entire process transparent. The genesis of the system
goes back to 1982, when the government conceived a project for analyzing a
Freight Operations Information Systems with Railways. Since then, there has been
no looking back.

Employment Through Software Exports
The Indian IT success story would not have been possible without the help of
lakhs of IT professionals who toiled day in and day out. According to the
Nasscom statistics for 2007, there are around 1.6 mn IT professionals. There are
another 5 lakh ITeS/BPO professionals working in the industry. But,
employability is still a major concern.

According to Dataquest estimates, out of every hundred people who apply for a
software job, only one is found suitable. But, there are several initiatives
that are being planned by the government to avoid a shortage of employable IT
professionals. Agencies like Nasscom are also finding ways to set up finishing
schools and keeping the syllabus of engineering colleges updated in tandem with
the rapidly growing technologies.

E-tickets: No More Queues Please
As the penetration of the PC grew, organizations realized the importance of
providing customers with the convenience of booking tickets from any place that
had an Internet connection, be it home, office, or cyber cafes. The Indian
Railways, together with the airlines, led this revolution. Now travelers can
book tickets online, without the need to stand in queues and waste precious
time. The success of e-ticketing has also shattered the myth that government
agencies cannot successfully implement and run an IT initiative. Apart from
travel-related ticketing, people are buying other tickets on the
Internetmovies, cricket matches, rock shows, etc. e-ticketing is expected to
multiply in the coming years as the Internet reaches far flung areas of the
country.

Mobile Phones: What is Your Mobile Number?


The only way to remain unconnected these days is by switching off your
mobile phone or if you are in a no connectivity area. Cellular telephony made a
late entry into India but it got the latest in terms of technology. The number
of fixed line phones has come down significantly. In fact, there are reports of
BSNL and MTNL facing a problem of surrendering of landline connections.
Everybody is going mobile and this growth is driven by three thingsease of use,
affordable pricing of services, and availability of cheap handsets. No wonder
that the total mobile subscriber base has swelled to 213 mn and the worlds
largest cellular operator, Vodafone, bought out Hutch to enter the Indian
market. Now, services along with phones are available for as low as Rs 900. With
vegetable sellers to carpenter to the CEOs using a mobile and its services,
India is well on its way to surpass China and the US in terms of total number of
mobile subscribers.

Email: The Mail Mania
Email has become one of the most preferred modes of business and personal
communication in India. It is no longer an urban phenomenon. Email is also no
more the domain of English-language speakers. Most email providers, eying a big
vernacular language opportunity, have started offering email in several
languages. What is your email ID, Send me a mail on this, I had sent you a
mail Did you check my mail has become a normal way of conversation these
days, thanks to email. Even India Post has started a service, called ePost. This
service enables people to send and receive messages or scanned images through
email from post offices across the country. No doubt then, email has become a
part and parcel of our lives.

The Web: Taking Giant Steps Ahead
The advent of the World Wide Web in India has revolutionized the way people
work, learn, and communicate, touching the lives of millions of Indians.
Businesses showcasing their expertise, students applying for jobs, declaration
of examination results, downloading of ration card or passport formsall this
and much more is happening through the Web.

The Internet revolution that was started by VSNL has come a long way and
companies like RPG, Global Telecom Services, Wipro, Datapro Information
Technology, Crompton Greaves, and Satyam Infoway who lobbied hard and forced the
government of India to come up with the Internet Policy of 1997 need to be
credited with it. The total number of Internet subscribers (dial up and
broadband) till April 2007 according to Voice&Data was 11.6 mn. The next big
step was the launch of DataOne services by the state telco BSNL, activating its
largely unexploited copper infrastructure laid throughout the country.

Barcodes: Next Customer Please!


Remember standing in a long queue to take manual receipt of the purchase of
medicine from a pharmacy? The plight of the Indian consumer was ended with the
coming of the Barcodethe technology that allowed reading the barcode on the
goods with a reader, capture the information like price of product, and generate
a printed receipt, thereby saving precious time. This also meant speedy disposal
of customers, meaning more business in less time. So simple and affordable is
the technology that even the small shopkeepers are slowly putting into place the
mechanism to become more productive. This technology gave a major impetus to the
Indian retail boom story.

ATMs: Rupees@Speed of Seconds


Gone are the days when one had to stand in a queue of a banks branch to
withdraw money. Today, ATMs (Automated Teller Machines, popularly referred to as
Any Time Money) have become the norm, making withdrawal of money an extremely
convenient, happy, and 24×7 activity. ATMs are all over the place, even in small
towns. To make things even more convenient, many banks share each others ATMs.
Unbelievingly, banks promote people to use ATMs as far as possible. Transactions
made by visiting the banks branches, at times, leads to imposition of
transaction fees. Besides providing the facility of providing cash dispensing
facilities, ATMs are also being used for recharging prepaid phones, depositing
cash/cheques, checking balance, etc. India is celebrating twenty years of
setting up of its first ATM (HSBC Bank set up the first ATM in India in 1987),
and the road ahead seems to be even more exciting for the consumer.

EVMs: For Instant Results
The archaic system of voting, which involved manually stamping the election
symbol on a sheet of paper, has given way to an Indian innovationElectronic
Voting Machines (EVMs). EVMs have revolutionized the election process by making
it more transparent, efficient and tamper proof. Though initially opposed,
during its launch in 2004, EVMs soon won over millions of voters.

Thanks to the initiative of the Election Commission of India, together with
the Electronics Corporation of India and Bharat Electronics Limited, the success
of EVMs is still being talked about, serving as a model for most of advanced
nations in the world.

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