Highlights of TiECon 2012 Mobile Sessions – Part II on Enterprise Mobility (+ monetization & mobile gaming)

Jun 4, 2012

Guest Blog By Alan Weissberger 


1.  Introduction

This is the second installment of a two part article on TiECon2012 Mobile sessions.  The first article covered mobile operators, emerging trends, applications and opportunities

This article will focus on mobile enterprise deployment status, directions, critical issues and corporate apps.  We'll also briefly revisit monetization of mobile apps and highlight the significance of social/mobile gaming.

2.  Mobile Panel #2 -Mobile IT and Best Practices for Mobile Enterprise Deployments

Abstract:  The enterprise mobility market is predicted to reach $36B by 2015. The proliferation of mobile devices and the demand for apps are making mobile device and app management a core part of network operations within the enterprise.  Successful companies will see enterprise mobility become the foundation for real business transformation. The complex requirements of enterprise mobility is leading to the birth of a new profession, Mobile IT, which is being chartered with driving this business transformation.

This session examined key aspects that enterprises need to evaluate in their mobile deployments as well as the opportunities for entrepreneurs in this space.

Moderator:

  • Chenxi Wang, Vice President & Principal Analyst, Forrester Research

Speakers:

  • Rajiv Taori: Founder & CEO at MobileOps
  • Ojas Rege, Vice President, MobileIron
  • Salil Jain, Global Vice President, Mobile Center of Excellence, SAP
  • Juan-José de Juan, Head,  Enterprise Innovation, Vodafone Global Enterprise

Panel Discussion:

Several panelists made position statements related to the mobile enterprise:

  • Juan-José de Juan (JJ) kicked off the discussion by stating that mobility has become a key driver for enterprise innovation.  Many businesses, all over the world, have started to create their own enterprise mobility apps and services.
  • Salil Jain opined that comprehensive solutions were becoming available for the mobile enterprise, which Vodafone sees as a core growth area for years to come.
  • Ojas Rege said that significant change was taking place and that "the mobile enterprise would continue to grow dramatically."& nbsp;  Business customers are organizing themselves around mobile centers of excellence, especially with respect to security.

Moderator Chenxi Wang stated that, "BYOD (bring your own device) and "mobilizing the enterprise" are hot topics.  Anytime, anywhere access to information empowers employees."  What's going on in this space?

  • JJ responded that the challenges to companies came when employees started bringing iPhones and iPads to work.  Emergency plans to deal with BYOD had to be formulated by enterprises (for company security, separation of work and personal use, monitoring the enterprise WiFi network, etc).  The key issue to ask is "How can mobility benefit your company?"
  • Salil said SAP has one of the biggest mobile enterprise deployments in the world, with over 20K iPads, 13K iPhones and thousands of RIM Blackberry's.  He said that mobile is enabling SAP employees to be more productive at work.

Chenxi next asked, "What are the kinds of mobile enterprise apps that make sense?"

At first, no one attempted to answer this question. Perhaps, because it's too early to know.  Later, the panelists were asked to reconsider this issue in light of the tremendous revenue growth forecast for mobile enterprise apps in coming years.  They considered internal productivity apps as well as sales apps.

  • Ojas believes that enterprise mobility has been redefined by the transition away from Blackberry's to iPhones and Android based smart phones.  This will usher in a whole new set of vertical industry apps (TBD) that can run on the new smart phones and media tablets.
  • JJ later said that "the simplest apps would be most pervasive in the mobile enterprise."
  • Salil suggested workflow, travel approval, and leave requests (vacation or leave of absence) along with mobile CRM.
  • Rajiv likes mobile extensions of back office apps, e.g. "mobile post it notes."  He also proposed the conversion of enterprise desktop apps to run on mobile devices (that would likely take a complete software rewrite to run on the very different mobile OSs/software platforms).
  • Salil said that once there are 15-20 enterprise apps for a specific company, the set becomes difficult to manage and keep track of.  He suggested companies consider integrating selected enterprise apps into a "framework of apps" for easier management and user selection.

Chenxi observed that the fragmented mobility market (with different mobile OS's/platforms) is a big challenge for enterprises.  Does the BYOD movement increase cost for companies?

  • Rajiv Taori responded that BYOB is about user satisfaction. The cost impact isn't clear and won't be for six to eight moths into an enterprised approved BYOD program.
  • Ojas opined that "extended refresh rates will have the biggest impact on (corporate) costs." By this he meant the replacement cycle for smart phones/ tablets, which is now about 1 year vs 3 to 5 years for notebook PCs.
  • Ojas clarified this last comment in an email after TiECon: " Employees will want a new phone/tablet every 18 months - it's fashion, it's consumer speed (vs. what IT is used to which is replace user equipment every 3-5 years).  If it's BYOD, then the company doesn't bear that cost (and that's the key cost savings). If it's not BYOD, then the company has two options:

a] Buy new devices every 12-18 months for the employee -& gt;really expensive!

b] Don't buy new devices -> UNHAPPY users

So BYOD might save some unexpected corporate costs over the long term plus keep users happy."

  • Salil was quite definitive: "Most global companies are not prepared to effectively support BYOD." It's mostly a North American phenomenon, he added.
  • JJ chimed in by saying that BYOD will bring rigidity to the enterprise, rather than flexibility.
  • Ojas added his two cents: "User experience will be the key to success of BYOD.  Privacy safeguards are essential (so that employees personal information is not compromised)."

This brought up a huge concern: the separation of personal from corporate data, especially the leakage of corporate information to employee's personal mobile devices.  How can personal and corporate data be separated?

  • Ojas suggested that be done by a software layer above the OS, but below the mobile app layer.  This is because he thinks most enterprises will have multiple mobile platforms (Apple's iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, etc).
  • Salil suggested personal/corporate data separation (accessed on BYODs) be done by each mobile application program.  (But what about all the personal apps that employees might be running on their smart phones while at work? Are those all to be retrofitted too- good luck!)

Author's Note:  A BYOD survey conducted by Heavy Reading and sponsored by AMDOCS concluded that operators have a role to play in making BYOD more effective for corporate customers.   "BYOD has been gaining momentum as consumers want to bring their favorite smartphones and tablets to work, and with enterprises anticipating benefits such as increased productivity and employee satisfaction, we surely expect this trend to continue to grow," said Ari Banerjee, senior analyst at Heavy Reading. "But BYOD creates new complexities for both the enterprise and the service provider who must support features such as device care, bill split, security, shared loyalty and data plans and differentiated quality of service. If service providers can overcome the technological challenges of providing these features, the enhanced customer experience will lead to huge gains in customer satisfaction and loyalty."


Chenxi raised the notion of a "personal cloud" that's accessable on mobile devices.  With companies like Dropbox providing file sharing, she said that "the personal cloud is invading the enterprise."

There are a lot of interesting possibilities when employees move files at work.  However, there's a huge security risk with sharing/uploading files stored in a personal cloud. Box.net and Dropbox were cited as two leaders in personal cloud storage.  Private cloud providers might also be considered, she added.

Regarding the protection of mobile content while at work, Chenxi said that "DRM (Digital Rights Management) never really took off."

Chenxi asked, "What's the trend for (big data) analytics on mobile devices?"  The reporting of analyics results could be shown as a dashboard on a mobile device, Chenxi suggested. (Of course, screen size will be a factor in what can be displayed.)

  • Salil suggested uses of analytics in the mobile enterprise included: forecasting, context and location based procurement, and supply chain management.  Data from mobile users would be collected by the corporation for these purposes, he added.

Chenxi asked, "Are enterprises building HTML5 (web based) or native apps (running directly on the mobile device) for their employees' mobile devices?"  (As reported in the part I article, the equivalent question was asked in the first Mobile Panel Session without any definitive answers).

  • A more fundamental question is what's the user experience to drive mass adoption of a given set of mobile enterprise apps?  The answer may determine whether HTML5 or native apps are developed for the mobile enterprise market.
  • Ojas said that native app development dominates the mobile enterprise now.  But HTML5 will progress such that the two mechanisms will continue on a parallel track for atleast awhile longer.

The final question from the moderator was: "What are the implications of heavy mobile data users in the enterprise?"  What might need to be upgraded or enhanced?

Panelists cited three areas for corporate concern here:

  1. Network infrastructure must be able to support heavy mobile data traffic (assuming it's for company business and not personal use).
  2. Back end data management (e.g. CRM and ERP).
  3. Security (always of paramount importance to companies and employees.

3.  Mobile Panel #3 - How should you distribute and monetize your mobile app?

As this topic was already covered in the TiECon2012 Mobile- Part I article, we only include the session abstract here for completeness.

Abstract:  With the explosive growth in Apple's iOs App Store and the Android Marketplace close to a BILLONS "Apps" are now available for download.  How does a developer or a publisher of these "Apps" get discovered and more importantly make MONEY?  This panel discussed how developers are monetizating their Apps in new ways, working to leverage the platforms, integrating with various social networks and exploiting various advertising/ marketing techniques.


4.  Panel on Social Gaming: The Next Frontier?

This panel was in the TiECon Social track, but its focus was on the future of mobile gaming. Note that most on-line games are now played on mobile devices due to the proliferation of smart phones and tablets in recent years.

http://tiecon.org/agenda/social-panel-social-gaming-next-frontier

Karl Mehta, Founder and CEO of Playspan (VISA) said, "The current crop of social games is very elementary, shallow, light weight games. The high quality, deep rooted games to attract serious gamers are yet to come."

Rick Thompson, an investor and entrepreneur with Signia Capital opined that "mobile is the new frontier for social gaming and an important part of our investment strategy," added.

AJW Comment:  We had heard at a WCA hosted VC panel on the wireless industry, that mobile gaming was hot.

http://viodi.com/2011/11/19/wca-panel-mobile-gaming-payments-wireless-infrastructure-is-out/

Never having played a game on a mobile device (or any computer for that matter), this author was somewhat surprised.  But nonetheless, mobile gaming is a very healthy business.

Revenues for mobile gaming are expected to skyrocket from $5 billion to $16 billion in 2016 according to ABI research.

The number of U.S. mobile gamers has increased from 75 million to 101 million, according to Newzoo (a market research firm focused purely on the gaming industry). Out of those 101 million gamers, 69 percent play on smartphones and 21 percent on tablets. The mobile gaming market has seen a large increase in the conversion of " non-paying" players to "paying" players. The total number of paying players is the U.S. is now 37 million. The growing number of paying players shows excellent revenue growth potential for mobile gaming companies.

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Highlights of TiECon 2012 Mobile Sessions - Part 1: mobile operators, emerging trends, applications and opportunities

May 29, 2012

Guest Blog By Alan Weissberger

Introduction

One of the highlights of TiECon2012 (The Indus Entrepreneurs annual conference- May 18-19th in Santa Clara, CA) was the Mobile Track.  All important aspects of the mobile ecosystem, its present status and future directions were explored in depth during three TiECon mobile track panel sessions:

  • What are the emerging trends, applications and opportunities in mobile?
  • Considerations for deploying mobile in the enterprise and vertical industry apps.
  • How to distribute and monetize your mobile app?

There was also a TiECon panel session on social gaming that was very much mobile related. For example, who will be the Zynga of mobile? What's the intersection of mobile and social? Who will control the mobile platform?

We've previously provided a preview of the first mobile panel session on market status, trends and opportunities.

In this article, we report the highlights of that first mobile panel session. The other three related mobile sessions will be described in the second part (II) of this article.

Mobile Panel #1: What are emerging trends, apps and opportunities in mobile?

Session Organizer & Moderator:

  • Raj Singh, CEO, Tempo AI

Speakers:

  • Matthew Howard, General Partner, Norwest Venture Partners
  • Erik Ekudden, Vice President, Head of Technology Strategies, Ericsson
  • Anil K Doradla, Research Analyst, William Blair & Company, L.L.C.
  • Lars Kamp, Strategy & Corporate Development, Accenture Mobility Services
  • Ben Riga, Senior Technical Evangelist for Windows Phone 7, Microsoft

Panel participants first debated the role of the mobile network operator, who this author believes is between a rock and a hard place. Operators have to subsidize smart phones and upgrade the capacity of their networks to accommodate the spectacular increases in mobile data traffic. But they are not generating any revenues from premium services or value added offerings that make use of the increased bandwidth they must provide to their data plan subscribers. Here are a few take-aways:

  • Matt Howard: Mobile operator opportunities are in enterprise apps and managed services. They've lost the consumer app and app store business.
  • Anil Doradla: Operators are only getting increased revenues from data plans with higher priced tiers.  Currently the mobile operator has been reduced to a dumb bit pipe provider, but the jury is still out as to whether operators will  continue as such (or provide value added services, share in mobile ecosystem monetization).
  • Ben Riga:  Mobile has become a global platform, but operators don't have the necessary information (location, customer preferences, etc) to do target marketing.
  • Lars Kamp:  Mobile Operator business depends on the country and their business objectives.  Over-the-top  (OTTP) content is a severe problem for operators, because they have to carry that high bandwidth data/video content but don't  get any revenue from doing so.
  • Erik Ekudden:  To ensure a good user experience, operators need to upgrade mobile network capacity; else the network will be a bottleneck (in many cases, it already is, e.g. AT&T's 3G network).

The next area of discussion was Mobile Apps, App Discovery and App Stores. Here were the key panelist comments:

  • New challenges and opportunities are emerging, especially with bigger screen sizes on mobile devices.
  • There are different ways to monetize apps. What role will each of these play: analytics? CRM? Tracking user preferences? Location Based advertising? Virtual goods? On line gaming?  Lots of questions, but few answers.
  • The use of embedded performance analytics to get insights into the user was considered essential to success of properly monetizing apps.
  • Securing ongoing subscription fees to replace one-off download sales was seen as a challenge, even for mobile gaming leaders like Zynga.
  • Anil was bearish on the app store business model. The low barrier to entry encourages many app developers, but only a small minority succeed. The key players are Apple and Samsung who have 55% market share of mobile devices. So a developer needs to get the app on those app store platforms.
  • Anil said that enterprise centric apps have more potential than consumer apps (we definitely agree).
  • Erik opined that apps which require QoS support are critical to creating a great user experience. That implies premium real time apps that operators haven't figured out how to charge for.
  • Mobile app discovery was seen as a critical issue, as apps are not indexed in app stores and can't be easily found by potential users.
  • Ben said that getting visibility for the "right set of apps" is important. He suggested integration of app discovery into mobile search.
  • A directory to navigate apps will be a complex piece of software. It might have to take into account data sharing between apps.
  • The challenge of 'app discovery' across many platforms seems to be a throwback to the early days of the Internet - before website discovery was solved by Google (and other) search engines.
  • Anil pointed out the "duopoly" of Apple and Samsung causes most apps to be developed for their platforms (iOS and Android, respectively). So it is the apps for those two platforms that most need to be discovered.
  • Many customers are writing their own apps which are more personalized and are inherently discovered.
  • Consumers have an inalienable right to privacy, but there are " trust issues" with app stores that maintain user profiles. Might personal information be used for app discovery, as it is now for " personal web searches?"

Moderator Raj Singh next asked, "Is HTML5 becoming a parallel mobile web?" He explained that HTML5 and the hybrid web/native model is what is being most adopted by app developers. For example, the use of HTML5 for the front-end of the app, but wrapping it as a native app (like the LinkedIn Mobile app).  Ben said that HTML5 is the direction we're all headed, but neither he nor any of the panelists were specific on its forthcoming role in mobile apps or mobile platform development.  An audience member and panelist were debating if future mobile web apps would be based on HTML5.  While no one denied that, there were no predictions on how long it might take.

Raj continued:  To what extent is the Apple-Samsung duopoly driving the mobile ecosystem and user choice? What platforms and device makers will be viable in the future?

  • Matt strongly believes it's all about software, which determines gross margins.
  • Ben stated that "Android market fragmentation (multiple types of smart phones from different makers) is driving app developers to the Windows Phone platform.
  • Anil was bullish on Windows Phone. "The new Windows Mobile is a great product. I'm optimistic it will succeed as a 3rd platform (mobile OS)."
  • Lars noted that mobile phones are still the world's biggest distribution platform with an average one year replacement cycle for smart phones. Apple will ship 100M iPhones this year alone!
  • Anil divided the mobile device makers into 3 groups:  Iconic leaders - 1) Apple (especially with consumers) ; 2) Fast Followers-  Samsung, LG, HTC; and 3) Strategically handicapped- HP (Palm), Nokia, RIM.
  • Erik opined that there would be new types of mobile/ wireless devices for M2M communications, such as for use in home automation, security, and energy management systems.

Raj questioned the commercial success of mobile payments, especially using highly touted NFC technology. 

  • Matt said it all depends on Apple's support (of embedded NFC and mobile payments) in its iPhones. 
  • Anil took a bearish view, citing too many different players involved in the mobile payments ecosystem (operators, handset makers, Visa & other credit/ debit card companies, banks, and app developers). All would have to use an integrated mobile payments system which doesn't exist yet. 
  • Summing up, Raj told this author, "Once the mobile wallet system is figured out things may change, but the mobile billing  may continue to be problematic."   Security was also seen as a critical issue for mobile payments

Raj asked if Amazon would be relevant in the " App Store universe?"

  • Lars said he was bearish on 3rd party app stores (as Amazon's would be). But he was bullish on enterprise app stores, presumably from 3rd parties.

Looking to the future of mobile markets………. .

  • Matt said that Norwest had invested in mobile health related start-ups. 2% of global GDP is coming from mobile health and that number is growing.
  • Lars opined, "tons of innovation will come from VC backed mobile start-ups."
  • Ben was very optimistic on personal wireless sensors, but time for this session ran out before he could elaborate.

Editors Note:  Part II of this article will cover Mobile Enterprise deployment issues as well as Mobile App Monetization and Social/mobile Gaming.

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Tim Draper to keynote at TiEcon 2012

May 18, 2012

KEYNOTE CHANGE: Tim Draper to deliver keynote on 5/19 instead of Carlos Dominguez. 
 

tim_draper
Founder & Managing Director

Draper Fisher Jurvetson

Tim launched the DFJ Global Network, an international network of early-stage venture capital funds with offices in over 30 cities around the globe. He founded DFJ ePlanet (global), Draper Fisher Jurvetson Gotham (NYC), Zone Ventures (LA), Epic Ventures (Salt Lake City),  Draper Atlantic (Reston), Draper Triangle (Pittsburg), Timberline Ventures (Portland), Polaris Fund (Anchorage) and more.

Today @TiEcon

  1. We had a great opening Keynote: "Innovation without Disruption" - Dr. Vishal Sikka, Head of Technology & Innovation, SAP
  2. Breakthrough Thinker - Dr. Deepak Chopra gave an outstanding talk : "Prosperity and Leadership" in the afternoon.
  3. Day 1 of the Conference ended with a powerhouse firechat session with Keynote - Aaron Levie of Box.net who talked about : "My entrepreneurial journey in Building an Enterprise Cloud Company" with R. Paul Singh, Chairman- DocSync.net, Marketing Chair - TiE Silicon Valley.
  4. Plus we had powerful parallel sessions in Entrepreneurship, Social, Mobile, Cloud, Energy, Life Sciences and TiE Women's Forum.
  5.  #TiEcon was also the trending topic on Twitter today.
Don't miss TiEcon Day 2!
Banquet SOLD OUT. Online Registration CLOSED. Onsite Registration available from 7:30 am.

Connect.Innovate.Prosper at TiEcon 2012


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How to get the best out of TiEcon 2012?

May 16, 2012
This Friday and Saturday we look forward to seeing you at the largest entrepreneurial event of the year:


We expect to have over 3,000 registered attendees and 160 speakers! Our speaker line up this year is extraordinary. In addition to the inspiring keynotes and breakthrough sessions, here are some tips to make the most of your time while at the conference.

TiEcon AttendeeConnect:

Supercharge your networking at TiEcon with our TiEcon2012 mobile application. Here is what you can do with Attendee Connect Mobile application.

  • Network with other attendees
  • View the full agenda
  • Create your own personal schedule
  • Update your status by checking in to sessions and exhibitors
  • See other attendee's updates in the activity feed
  • Leave feedback by rating sessions and exhibitors
  • Customize your profile

Earn points and badges by checking in, commenting, and liking other attendee's updates. Expand your professional network, climb the leaderboard and have fun!

How to get the app:

  • iPhone: Search for iPhone App TiEcon2012 in Appstore or click here to download.
  • Andriod: Search for iPhone App TiEcon2012 in Google Play or click here to download

TiEcon MentorConnect: If you signed up for this great opportunity to talk with some mentors and if your application got accepted, you should have received an email with details. If you didn't sign up yet, we are atcapacity and can't take new mentees.

TiEcon InvestorConnect: If you are an exhibitor in The TiE Innovation Expo, and you signed up to meet with investors, you should have received an email with details.

TiEcon Social :

Network on TiEcon Social Channels and increase your followers and friends:

For latest updates about TiEcon during the event, follow @TiEcon on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ using the links

Twitter : ( Use #TiEcon to join the conversation )

https://twitter.com/#!/tiecon

You can also follow or subscribe to TiEcon 2012 lists at https://twitter.com/#!/TiEcon/lists that includes a list for all TiEcon 2012 speakers as well as a list each for TiEcon 2012 tracks.

Facebook:

Linkedin:

Google+

TiEcon Innovation Expo :

This year's Innovation Expo is our largest yet. Come and see over 120 exhibitors - Large Companies like SAP, Salesforce, Microsoft, IBM as well as Startups like eGrabber, Glassbeam, PubNub, Vigilent, Wavespot, Dhingana, Mela.com and many more plus come checkout IBM Watson and two of the world's hottest new cars - A Designer's Dream car - Fisker Karma and The Super Sports car - McLaren

TiEcon Prizes:

TiECon attendees have a chance to win thousand of dollars worth of shopping sprees. Game instructions can be found on quest.intARact.mobi. Stop by the Dhingana booth to get atleast one of the clues and learn more details about the Quest and test your Bollywood moves on xBox Kinect. Every completed Quest also gets a $25 gift certificate from Cbazaar (TiE50 Finalist).

TiEcon Parties:

Come and Party with live band - Manooghi Hi on Friday evening (no host bar) and TiEcon Banquet & Entertainment Gala with Kailash Kher on Saturday. Banquet tickets are sold out but you can still get Entertainment tickets.

Must Attend at TiEcon 2012

Keynotes: Vishal Sikka, Deepak Chopra, Anant Agarwal, Sam Pitroda, Aaron Levie, Carlos Dominguez

Vertical Sessions: These are industry specific sessions in Social, Mobile, Cloud, Energy and Life Sciences which will give you a glimpse into the latest trends, opportunities and investment focus areas.

Entrepreneurs Track: These sessions will provide the essential tools every entrepreneur needs. They have been designed to address the needs at various stages of a startup. Pick the right session(s) based on your needs.

TiE50 Presentations: This is a great opportunity to hear from the top startups and learn their secrets of success. TiE50 winners from the previous two years have already accounted for over $3B in valuation. The winners this year are no different.

TIE Youth Forum: Introducing the TiEYouth Forum at TiEcon this year. This special event will give the opportunity for high school and college students to become inspired by successful entrepreneurs who have plowed their own path and can now share what they've learned. Don't miss the 2 special sessions we have in store for you.

TiE Women's Forum: Building upon last year's success, this year's TiEcon promises 3 inspiring sessions for Women Entrepreneurs of today.

Hope this will be helpful in planning and maximizing the benefit from the two days of TiEcon.

Connect.Innovate.Prosper at TiEcon 2012


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Sam Pitroda - Harbinger of a Revolution

May 16, 2012

Satyaranarayan Gangaram Pitroda! The last name rings a bell. Yes - it is Sam Pitroda, the advisor to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovation. Sam Pitroda was single-handedly responsible for the Communication revolution that happened in India and the reason behind why the Indian economy went on a hockey-stick curve of growth, technological leaps and bounds evolution, opening up to globalization and for being where it is today. Meaning while the US and the world go through economic recession, India is still booming, salaries still sky-high; despite the 1 billion+ population, the job economy still booming and the Indian stock and real-estate markets on a steady growth curve every year.

The Rajiv Gandhi era

In 1987, when Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime Minister, he brought with him young blood and filled the key roles around him with eager, go-getting ministers and executives who wanted to change the world - well, India. Among them was Sam Pitroda, who Rajiv Gandhi appointed as his Technology advisor. And with that began the modernization and globalization of India. As technology swept like a wave through banks and universities, railways and government offices, telephone booths spread through the country with a viral vengeance and telecommunications became affordable and accessible to the common man even in the remotest of villages. As technology became more accessible, penetrating the poorest strata of society, Rajiv Gandhi was hailed as the young hero of the nation and Sam Pitroda, the father of the Communications Revolution.

During this time, Dr. Pitroda headed six technology missions related to telecommunications, water, literacy, immunization, dairy and oilseeds and became the founder and first chairman of India's Telecom Commission.

The Early years

Sam Pitroda had lived in the US since 1964. He did his MS in Electrical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. It was here that he founded C-SAM and Wescom (later acquired by Rockwell International). He did research on telecommunications and handheld computing, invented digital switching and in 1975, invented the Electronic Diary. In 1983, he designed his own computer-themed card game called Compucards, which used binary numbers instead of decimals.

In 1984, he was invited to return to India by the then Prime Minister, Smt Indira Gandhi. He came back and founded 'The Center for Development of Telematics' (C-DOT), which triggered the Communication Revolution in India.

The Decade of Innovation

Dr. Sam Pitroda's excellence has been revered by one and all. This was self evident when in 2004, the newly elected Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh invited him to head the National Knowledge Commission of India and appointed him as Advisor to the PM of India.

In 2010, the President of India declared this as 'The Decade of Innovation'. The PM approved setting up of a National Innovation Council under the chairmanship of Sam Pitroda. The mission of this council is to develop a national strategy on innovation with a focus on an Indian model of inclusive growth.