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A Year of Hope

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DQI Bureau
New Update

Small signs of change. Progress, amidst global Recession. Resilience.

Revival. Resurgence. Rising. A country rising.

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In Mumbai, the Sensex stops 85 points shy of 6000 on January 1. And it’s

not a bubble.

Bangalore is a global brand, heading for generic, even verb status. It’s

featured on "Don’t-get-bangalored" anti-outsourcing T-shirts. It’s

the eye of a global storm, as befits the place where it all began.

And well into its delayed but biting winter, North India, which had greeted

the new millennium in darkness with a half-day failure of the Northern grid in

2001, says bye to gloomy, powerless new year days, with electricity in private

hands.

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Next year, perhaps, New Delhi will even use some fancy equipment idling away

at its airport, so that the fog doesn’t throw all of India’s flights out of

gear.

India’s gone wireless with a vengeance. Over 7 of 10 new phone connections

are mobile. Mobile data is getting interesting, with fast, usable, affordable

CDMA. This month, five Shatabdis from Delhi have CDMA-based Internet access on

board. And while Wi-Fi remains a struggling infant in India, its head forced

under water by the government, the world would have some 85,000 Wi-Fi hot spots

in 2004.

Broadband takes off, as phone companies add DSL to the phone line, even as

retail ISPs fade away. This will mean lakhs of new Internet users in 2004.

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In the background is the tech revival (8% up in the US: IDC). In the world

and, partly because the world Outsources to India, here too. There we have it

again, the Big O. It’s everywhere. Barclay’s, UK, could be outsourcing from

500 to 5,000 call center jobs to India... US tech outsourcing will double to $16

billion in 2004, says IDC, moving to $46 billion by 2007.

But Recession is a good teacher, and business customers the world over will

continue to negotiate hard on rates in 2004, and demand RoI, that dreaded,

overused word. Even Microsoft will be busy on RoI, as the world uses more Open

Source in 2004. While Linux penetrates further, despite SCO’s planned revenue

streams from suing thousands of its own customers. Alongside will be a further

move away from proprietary hardware and software, toward standard components

such as Intel chips (or AMD, as in Sun’s Fire B100x server).

So the world, and India Inc, have started spending on tech again. We’re on

the take-off phase of IT in small and medium businesses. There’s hope this

year also from the once and former big spenders: Central government, military,

state governments.

Which means we enter the new year not just riding the Outsourcing wave, but

on another big-O: Optimism. And Hope.

Prasanto K Roy

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