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WiMAX: The IT future is stolen by Africa and India!



Time for the underdog. The disadvantage is becoming the advantage. I read news and stories about how WiMAX is going to change the world. There are more WiMAX towers in Uganda (where we will be doing a 4 year project, I don't know if I'll be staying that long with my current employer) than in the Netherlands. Maybe I'll just go to India where Intel is soon going to be starting the WiMAX trials. Read the PDF from intel. Ok I know there will be issues but hey who said that the issues won't be here if we ever plan to phase out all the cables and other stuff here.

Is that the problem? No sir! The problem is the attitude and habits! Europeans and Americans may enjoy the fast internet and great working environment but this advantage is soon going to be putting their very own jobs and comfort zones in jeopardy. Does anyone know that the whole offshoring capital is estimated to reach 1 trillion dollars by 2020!

ONE TRILLION DOLLARS
.

Yes you read it correctly! India is targeting on a capital of 225 Billion dollars by then, and it does happen to have the capacity TODAY to encash 40 billion dollars already! So how do you think all this is going to happen. Yes they are at a disadvantage that will put them at a huge advantage tomorrow. From no setup to Next generation infrastructure. I see this not being a problem to Europe or Americans but the attitude is going to be the real killer. Young Indians and Chinese are willing to work hard. Its pretty darn competitive. And its wide spread. Imagine with these two nations (I'm sure China has the "better get the kids in kindergarten to learn English quick" hurdle to cross) they will be able to deliver huge amount of expertise and a competitive advantage over the other nations.

Off with the cables and have the internet and services delivered to you like everyone else. No question of a Digital Divide. I attended a Blackboard conference in Oct 2004 and there was this guy who spoke of the Digital Divide. I was pretty impressed. Just ask there questions:
  • How many people in the East or in Africa know about Kevin Rose or Slashdot or any of those things
  • How many corporations are aware of the fact that the knowledge and staying abreast with the news (by following market developments) is the key to staying on top
  • Even if they know it, they don't have a fast internet where they can download data (be it audio, video, streaming etc)

Most of the times the factor that confines these nations is money. The idea of the OLPC (Negroponte's "One Laptop Per Child") too will be beneficial, India did seem to have some issues with it but Nigeria and Argentina has already ordered a lot of them (There are four countries BTW). Maybe India and China will come up with their own versions of OLPC and probably much cheaper. We don't know yet. The whole idea is not only to have a robust and next-gen infrastructure but provide the nation with the means to get on with it. Imagine if all the schools , right starting with Class 1 will have laptops and will be connecting to the internet/intranet through WiMAX. You will have a massive tech tsunami. It will happen though.

And talking about outsourcing. Where do you think that $ 1 Trillion is coming from? Its the "core IT Operations", Pharmacy and Bio Tech that will be moved to these countries as well. CallCenters and Back Offices have slowly vanished, its the core operations now! But don't just (if you're an India wannabe startup offshoring firm) think it will happen right away. Expertise is the major problem and India needs to churn out a lot more of those talented workforce in the coming years than before. So they should not forget that 2020 target and all the moves (WiMAX, penetration in European/American own markets, language course in schools to train students to have a good command over major languages like Spanish, German, French and even Dutch, why not!) that need to be taken, must be taken now. I know India is a complex and has its own challenges. But with smarter education and planning , this goal is pretty much achievable. Globalization is also a challenge and Indian firms are taking all the necessary steps to penetrate not only the East and Central Europe and setting up the so-called "nearshore units" but also Western Europe. For instance in The Netherlands there are already a couple of startups who are taking a direct shot at the market( an example in Holland Indax)

Europeans have been too often labeled as "Lazy". But I liked this article (from Edward Prescott) and it was interesting to note the following.

Here's a startling fact: Based on labor market statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Americans aged 15-64, on a per-person basis, work 50% more than the French. Comparisons between Americans and Germans or Italians are similar. What's going on here? What can possibly account for these large differences in labor supply? It turns out that the answer is not related to cultural differences or institutional factors like unemployment benefits, but that marginal tax rates explain virtually all of this difference. I admit that when I first conducted this analysis I was surprised by this finding, because I fully expected that institutional constraints are playing a bigger role. But this is not the case. (Citations and more complete data can be found in my paper, at www.minneapolisfed.org.)


Being overtaxed makes them lazy. Lazy because why would you go for a better, higher job when all you do is make sure that things around you are maintained by someone else. Ok the danger is also to get sucked dry, look at energy, electricity, gas and land prices! I know this as a fact living here.

Ok I know this blog post may sound like going nowhere but that is exactly the point! The fact that we in Europe and US are chained in our own comfort zone is making all the globalization a reality. Globalization had to happen anyways and will continue in the coming decades until things are pervasive. Where information is everyone's birthright. When there are no special silver, gold and platinum memberships. But the painful fact does remain that the future is slipping out of the hands of industrial nations and they can do nothing to stop it.

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