information technology


December 25 was just another working day at OnTime Technologies at Mahavilachchiya and things were going on at full throttle when I stepped-in to this rural BPO, arguably the first such initiative in Sri Lanka. Here is the good and bad news. Good news: The wheels are still in motion. Unlike most of the ICT4D projects (especially telecenters) that survive on donors’ oxygen, now it is self sustainable and taken seriously by the employees and villagers, who initially thought it would soon end. Employee turnover is low and what they do is seen as a career, rather than a pause till a better opportunity.

No more blackouts?

Posted on October 9, 2009  /  1 Comments

This comprehensive report on smart grid developments seems most pertinent as Sri Lanka recovers from another nationwide blackout caused by the inability of the state owned monopolist to manage its grid (and to restore power despite repeated attempts). Of course, smart grids are not simply about reducing blackouts; they can reduce the massive waste caused by T&D losses and also introduce time-sensitive pricing to reduce peak-load demand. LIRNEasia has its eye on the intersection of energy and ICT as future area of work. WHAT was the greatest engineering achievement of the 20th century? The motor car, perhaps, or the computer?
One of the bad things about projections, especially long-term projections, is the lack of accountability. Or that like astrological forecasts, we only talk about the ones that were right. But anyway there is an interesting discussion of the Indian outsourcing industry, including a discussion on projections. A decade ago, McKinsey and India’s powerful information technology and outsourcing trade group, Nasscom, predicted that revenue from outsourcing by foreign companies would reach $50 billion in India in 2010. The global economic slowdown has delayed that by three or four quarters — revenue is predicted to reach $47 billion this year.
Infosys Technologies chairman and chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy has declined to be the IT advisor to the Sri Lankan government, the IT bellwether said Wednesday. In a letter to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Murthy said he had decided to withdraw from being the advisor due to personal reasons. “I thank you for the courtesy shown to me during my recent visit to Sri Lanka.
Mr Narayana Murthy of Infosys has always been a straight-talker and a clear thinker. The Sri Lanka President deserves congratulations on picking him as his advisor. He will give good advice. We hope the President will take the advice. Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday appointed N R Narayana Murthy, chairman of India’s Infosys Technologies, as his international advisor on information technology, the president’s office said.
Except for the last of the three items described below, the proposed stimulus package now before the US Congress seeks to apply the intelligence of ICTs to improve other things. This is the way to go. The $825 billion stimulus plan presented this month by House Democrats called for $37 billion in spending in three high-tech areas: $20 billion to computerize medical records, $11 billion to create smarter electrical grids and $6 billion to expand high-speed Internet access in rural and underserved communities. A study published this month, which was prepared for the Obama transition team, concluded that putting $30 billion into those three fields could produce more than 900,000 jobs in the first year. The mix of proposed spending is different in the House plan, but the results would be similar, said Robert D.
The 2009 Budget contains the following statement: Allocations were made in the 2006 Budget to connect rural villages in backward areas with the rest of the world and enable them to blend with the global community and economic trends, through Information Technology. This program has enabled online connectivity through around 500 Nana Sala Centres, between villages, schools and state and public institutions, and also facilitates to broaden the knowledge of English and Information Technology. I propose to name the year 2009 as an year dedicated to expand the knowledge of English and Information Technology and allocate Rs. 100 million to broaden the scope of this programme. The questions are: * The Budget contains no other allocations for ICT related activities, explained possibly by the existence of a USD 80 million or so e Sri Lanka program, funded primarily by a concessionary IDA credit and a Korean loan which has not been fully disbursed and is in danger of being cancelled.
Sri Lanka agriculture could do with dose of IT – LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE Greater use of information technology in Sri Lanka’s largely subsistence agriculture sector will help both farmers and consumers alike by reducing costs, a researcher has said. Harsha De Silva, lead economist at LIRNEasia, a think tank, said a system using IT that addresses the information needs from the decision making phase through the growth and sale of agricultural products will help balance the welfare of both consumers and farmers. “ICT (information and communications technology) can be used to reduce the information and observable transaction costs to create efficiencies in agricultural markets,” de Silva said. “And if we can create efficiencies in agricultural markets, we can create welfare on both sides of the equation,” he told a recent seminar on the role of ICT in agriculture. “The core will definitely have to be a system that marries the decision-making and selling and that is where ICT will take agriculture markets from this point on and that is where we see some variants of commodity exchanges developing.
The North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL) and the Ministry of Information Technology are working towards an initiative that will make broadband connections through power lines possible. “We will send Internet signals through electricity transformer and channelise them through cables running overhead and underground,” said NDPL spokesperson Ajay Maharaj. “Residents would be given a device to plug into power points at home; they will have a broadband connection.” Commissioned by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the pilot project will be implemented in the Bawana campus of Delhi College of Engineering (DCE) within six months. A similar project will be implemented in Kolkata.
BANGALORE, India (AFP) — India remains the favoured technology outsourcing destination, an industry report said Sunday, amid concerns a rising rupee and soaring wages would blunt the country’s competitive edge. A study by industry publication Global Services and investment advisory firm Tholons put the Indian cities of Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune at the top of a list of 15 emerging outsourcing destinations for global companies. Kolkata at number five and Chandigarh at number nine were the other two Indian locations on the list, which contained three Chinese and two Vietnamese cities as well.

Future of telecenters

Posted on July 14, 2007  /  3 Comments

As LIRNEasia plans its future research plans, which will be centered on mobile as a “more-than-voice” mode of access to means of communication, information retrieval and publishing, as well as completion of transactions (including payments), we have come up against the need to critically examine current efforts on, and plans for, telecenters.   Obviously, this is a discussion that will be Asia-Pacific-wide, like everything LIRNEasia does.  However, we’d like to get this started with a provincial news report in a Sri Lankan newspaper, simply because it was posted on the website by a reader/writer.  The comments and thoughts of all on the future of telecenters are welcome. :: Daily Mirror – Opinion :: The Nenasala Information Technology Training Centre in Ganewatta DS Division in Hiriyala electorate which was declared open by the Provincial Council Member (NWP) Laxman Perera ceased to function within days of opening.

GSMA honours Indian government

Posted on February 14, 2007  /  1 Comments

Barcelona, Feb 13 (bdnews24.com) – The GSM Association (GSMA) has presented its Government Leadership Award 2007 to India for exceptional achievement in mobile communications policy. India has been selected because of its success in establishing a framework of policies and regulations, which have stimulated the growth of mobile telecommunications over the past three years. The latest data from the Indian government shows that India’s mobile operators are now collectively adding six to seven million new subscribers each month. GSMA’s CEO Rob Conway presented the award to Thiru Dayanidhi Maran, India’s minister for communications and information technology.
The Indonesian Minister for Communication and Information Technology, Dr Sofyan Djalil, presented a number of new initiatives for removing the barriers to Internet growth in his country at Building Digital Communities forum session at the ITU World 2006 event in Hong Kong on December 7, 2006. Divakar Goswami, LIRNEasia’s Director, Organizational and Projects, who was moderating the panel asked the following question: One of the first achievements of your government was to delicense the 2.4 GHz frequency that allowed communities to use Wi-Fi extensively in the country. Despite that, Indonesia currently has Internet penetration of 0.69 percent.
Inadequate backbone infrastructure in Indonesia has been widely regarded as crippling its telecom sector. Uneven development of the backbone has meant that much of the East of the country has no fiber-optic based backbone network and those islands have to rely on more expensive satellite links. Poor long-haul domestic infrastructure has meant that many parts of the country do not have access to basic communication and those that are connected have some of the world’s highest leased line and Internet prices as my earlier study shows. The Indonesian government’s ambitious Palapa Ring project to create a fiber ring connecting the major islands had been shelved post the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Recently, however, efforts have been made to revive a modified version of the earlier vision.
Knowledge capacity is typically measured in terms of the ‘productivity’ of researchers. In a paper accepted for publication in Information Technology for International Development (ITID_1.pdf) Gamage and Samarajiva argue that researchers need to pay attention to their ‘internet presence’ and ‘connectivity’ as well. The argument is supported by data on researchers on telecom reform from Asia as found in the social science citation index and scholar.google.
NEW DELHI, APRIL 13: The government is in the process of amending the Indian Telegraph Act to extend the Universal Service Obligation (USO) fund support to cellular mobile services (both GSM and CDMA). As of today, the government is giving USO fund support to only the fixed line operators offering services in the rural areas. “We are looking at amending the Telegraph Act to accommodate the cellular services and CDMA-based services to reach the rural areas. We are looking at sharing of the passive infrastructure with the cellular service providers,” communications and information technology (C&IT) minister Dayanidhi Maran told reporters. Besides covering the villages, the minister is of the opinion that the wireless services should also provide connectivity to the Railways and highways especially in rural areas.