e-India: Seething with creativity, but full potential untapped

17 Jan,2013

By A Correspondent

 

Day one of the 7th Digital Summit 2013 saw much participation from the industry leaders who debated and participated in ‘Creating the World’s Largest Free Market Digital Economy’. Organized by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the summit focussed on five elements of creating this economy: Infrastructure, Regulatory Frameworks, Services and Content, Entrepreneurship/Innovation and Business 3.0.

 

Chief Guest Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, said, “To a large extent, the internet and mobile industry of India is still untapped. There has to be a concerted effort to make people aware of the size, scale and scalability of the industry.” Commenting on e-entrepreneurship, he mentioned that internet and mobile is an industry which has a phenomenal spread of access and should “encourage risk taking young talent and inculcate the spirit of entrepreneurship” to expand the footprint.

 

R Chandrashekhar, Secretary, Telecommunications, reiterated that broadband is the third wave of telecom revolution in India. Emphasizing last mile connectivity, he said, “Pure clicks-based model has led to some set of problems. It is important to look at sound business fundamentals since it is also a part of national transformation. We stand at the threshold of an exciting era.” Hitesh Oberoi, Chairman, IAMAI & Co-Founder, CEO, Info Edge India talked about the digital opportunity that exists now and would grow in the next five years. “The opportunity, however, lies in addressing the current challenges of the ability to provide: low cost connectivity, universal access, usable content, secure networks, affordable devices and enabling policy.”

 

Creativity in Digital Era

At ‘Importance of creativity in digital advertising’, Vikas Tandon, MD, Indigo Consulting said, “It is important to note that digital advertising has three core pillars when it comes to creativity: interactive since it not just sends messages, technology is integral to what is delivered and digital has put creativity at the hands of the consumer.” Representing FMCG view, Aditya Save, Head, Media & Digital Marketing, Marico, said, “FMCG companies still look at creativity with a very traditional view, which means communication emotionally,” where Arun Sharma, VP Marketing, Head Media & Rural, Bharti Airtel explained how Airtel used digital media to create the innovation of a friendship band.

 

Vineet Gupta, Managing Partner, 22 Feet Communications, noted how the digital media is seeing significant increase in media spends and how some campaign break only on digital platforms now. Mohit Hira, Sr VP & Regional Business Leader – Airtel, JWT, said, “Mobile is not the second screen, but the first screen for youth. For them, mobile is not a private but a public device. Even though for mobile screens, which are smaller, you cannot put in too much production detailing but it is no-brainer that mobile will be the game-changer when it comes to digital economy.”

 

Neville Taraporewalla, Sr Director, Emerging Markets, Advertising & Online, Microsoft, said, “What I am amazed at is that Cannes still does not receive an entry from India in digital category even though the digtal creatives are amazing the world over.” The panelists agreed that while digital advertising was on an upswing, it would still take time for digital to become a primary choice of media, and creativity and production detailing would increase with increasing spends.

 

Peter Panait Lojmand, Senior VP, Opera Software, pointed out how browser surfing can bring many changes in the mobile internet landscape of India. He said that entry barriers in India for internet browsing are high, which includes technical, trust, cost, educational and accessibility factors.

 

All-Inclusive Growth

Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, UAIDI, and Sam Pitroda, Chairman, NIC, talked about how they are working towards ensuring all-inclusive growth with the help of technology. Mr Nilekani asserted, “Through Aadhar, which we are undertaking on huge technology and cloud-platform is a digital initiative for massive societal inclusion. And for this, we are working with many sectors and industries.”

 

Mr Pitroda spoke about ‘Bharat Broadband (National Optical Fibre Network): Going extra mile with public investment.’ He said, “We are essentially at the tipping point in India. What you see in media is totally opposite of what reality is. Thus, we need democratization of information so that everybody has access to information that we need. But we do not get that information, from any quarter including administration, judiciary, and politics because they resist information and flexibility. The idea of NOFN is to integrate collaboration given the multi-disciplinary and multilingual complexities of the country. We will be connecting 500 campuses and talk to 25000 students at the same time on January 23.”

 

“While connectivity is one piece, you need application and infrastructure as well. We want to computerize each and every governing and administration body of the country, and when it happens, will be a new day in India. That is why I said that we are at a tipping point,” he said.

 

The last session of the day discussed ‘Social Media – freedom, moderation or regulation’. Rajesh Kalra, Chief Editor, Times Internet said care is taken not to do or write anything that puts them on the wrong side of the law. “Of course, the law needs to be changed since it continues to get misinterpreted,” he noted.

 

Shivam Vij of Kafila.org said that he was a free speech fundamentalist and “it is important that media or social media is not ashamed of free speech. You have to have the right to justice redressal if the media has to be regulated.” R Sukumar, Managing Editor, Mint said, “We do not need a social media regulator. When you are dealing with a political establishment which is trying to clamp free speech, a regulator cannot be the answer.”

 

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