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Desi flavour, international brew

Qualcomm's new initiative will go a long way in empowering the rural folks, writes Puneet Mehrotra.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2006 15:34 IST

"It was black and the storm was really starting to brew..." Christopher Brooks

Chrisptopher Brooks probably had another thing in mind when he said that. But a storm is actually starting to brew and this storm could be one of the greatest initiatives by a new economy MNC in the rural development of India.  But first a little background.

Brew my cuppa

A die hard tea and coffee addict I am. I prefer the smell of brewing tea to burning nicotine. It stimulates my right brain much better. But right now of interest is a brew of a different kind.  I am talking about Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless.

BREW is an application development platform created by Qualcomm for mobile phones. Accelerating wireless data and more importantly, driving the discovery and delivery of advanced data services, is integral to the future of wireless - and the core idea behind the BREW solution. With a flexible array of implementation options, BREW addresses specific market needs while allowing customers to create their own differentiated solutions using underlying BREW technologies and services.  With BREW, Qualcomm is providing an open and adaptable approach to meet the distinct, individual needs of the wireless marketplace.

BREW from a developers perspective

From a developers perspective think of it this way. A series of API's that allow the developers to create applications for wireless devices and delivering it to the end users.

The first part about the set of API's being available is common to all other development environments like Symbian, J2ME (JAVA), Python Flash Lite, Net Compact just to name a few.

Where BREW really differentiates from others is the BREW Ecosystem. A set of applications that allow the delivery of the developed applications to the end customer. Now BREW Ecosystem consists of Marketone, UIone and Deliveryone. From an entrepreneurial point of view, the BREW Ecosystem ensures the commercial viability of an enterprise by getting a return on investment on the development costs. 

Qualcomm Wireless Reach initiative

Remember the storm I started with. Well Qualcomm has taken a beautiful initiative which if successful can literally start a sort of a storm in the right direction.

Qualcomm's Wireless Reach initiative empowers underserved communities through the use of third generation wireless technologies (3G). The objective of this initiative is to strengthen economic and social development with a focus on education, government, healthcare and public safety.

Wireless Reach creates sustainable 3G projects through partnerships with non-government organizations, universities, government institutions, development agencies and other private sector companies. Qualcomm has also involved the developers in this initiative through a series of rewards and benefits.

The Wireless Reach initiative isn't just plain talk about development or a PR exercise. The fact is it has worked in countries that have similar problems to ours like China, Congo, Peru, Mexico, Vietnam and Indonesia.

For example, in a rural province in Indonesia an area with minimal telecommunications infrastructure, the Wireless Initiative has created computer labs in five high schools with wireless broadband access to broaden IT skills and enhance education opportunities through telecommunications access.

Imagine what the same initiative could do in India. Imagine the impact of this initiative on the rural folks of the country.

The last word

Now Qualcomm 3G model isn't something I am too fond of simply because of its monopolistic nature. Even though here too 3G is a component in the overall picture but that aside Qualcomm definitely deserves kudos for this initiative.

It's really a beautiful initiative and will go a long way in empowering the rural folks.  I certainly wish in times like ours, with widening social and economic divides, more organizations would come forward and take initiatives such as this one for the under privileged that empowers and strengths them with knowledge with which they can create a better life for them and their families.

Qualcomm definitely deserves kudos. I am sure Saraswati has smiled too. Knowledge is in our air now. Literally!

Puneet Mehrotra is a web strategist atwww.cyberzest.comand editswww.thebusinessedition.comyou can email him onpuneet@cyberzest.com