Huawei Tech­nolo­gies, �Bruce Ein­horn, with Bhuma Shri­vas­tava

95%

Bloomberg Businessweek (North America) - - Technology - By com­par­i­son,

think­ing goes—what users need is a big­ger pipe.

Much big­ger. From 2014 to 2019, Cisco Sys­tems es­ti­mates, In­dia’s monthly mo­bile data traf­fic will swell 13-fold, to 1.1 bil­lion gi­ga­bytes, and by 2019 stream­ing video will ac­count for three-quar­ters of to­tal In­ter­net use, up from about half to­day. Netflix launched its In­dia ser­vice in Jan­uary.

Among the com­pa­nies propos­ing piece­meal so­lu­tions are Google, Mi­crosoft, and the Chi­nese maker of wire­less equip­ment. Google is in­stalling free Wi-fi in 100 rail­way sta­tions through­out In­dia this year, be­gin­ning in Mum­bai. Mi­crosoft is test­ing whether un­used slices of the TV spec­trum can re­li­ably de­liver Wi-fi in­stead. Huawei is work­ing with mo­bile oper­a­tors to im­prove the ef­fi­ciency of their ex­ist­ing net­works. Huawei says it’s been able to in­crease speeds for clients by as much as 30 per­cent, in part by re­plac­ing out­moded equip­ment.

For com­pa­nies that of­fer stream­ing video, that prob­a­bly won’t be enough. Yet some providers are find­ing ways to cope. Vu­clip, a Sil­i­con Val­ley sub­sidiary of Hong Kong tele­com com­pany PCCW, de­liv­ers videos to 9 mil­lion cus­tomers in emerg­ing mar­kets, more than half of whom are in In­dia, where net­works may of­fi­cially be 3G but in re­al­ity “vary all over the place,” says Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Nick­hil Jakat­dar. “It’s like it de­pends on the phases of the moon.” Be­cause un­re­li­able net­works can eas­ily lead to long buffer­ing de­lays, Vu­clip’s sys­tem au­to­mat­i­cally ad­justs the res­o­lu­tion of its video stream to match the con­di­tions of the net­work so there are no in­ter­rup­tions. In one three-minute video, Jakat­dar says, Vu­clip may change the qual­ity about a dozen times. The goal, he says, is to “pro­vide a buf­fer-free ex­pe­ri­ence for the con­sumer.”

Other com­pa­nies are us­ing sim­i­lar strate­gies. Star In­dia, part of Rupert Mur­doch’s 21st Cen­tury Fox, launched a video stream­ing ser­vice called Hot­star last year that the com­pany says is de­signed to play “on mo­bile net­works with in­con­sis­tent through­put.” Sony, Warner Bros., and Sin­ga­pore Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions last June rolled out HOOQ, an­other video ser­vice, with an off­line mode and a band­width in­di­ca­tor that tells users how good the con­nec­tion is. In Novem­ber the In­dian arm of Nor­we­gian mo­bile op­er­a­tor Te­lenor in­tro­duced a stream­ing ser­vice that makes it easy for users to down­load con­tent dur­ing off-peak hours and watch it later with­out Net con­nec­tions.

To re­duce de­lays, some com­pa­nies are turn­ing to data cen­ter oper­a­tors such as New York-based GPX Global Sys­tems. GPX will ex­pand its Mum­bai cen­ter to help cus­tomers in­clud­ing Ama­zon Web Ser­vices con­nect with In­dian con­sumers lo­cally rather than via servers in lo­ca­tions such as Sin­ga­pore. “The pace has picked up be­cause cus­tomers are now de­mand­ing a bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Manoj Paul, pres­i­dent and chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer of GPX in In­dia. By us­ing lo­cally based servers, he says, “the pipe is big­ger and cheaper.”

One ques­tion is whether In­dia’s govern­ment will al­low the traf­fic to flow. Cloudflare, a data cen­ter op­er­a­tor based in San Fran­cisco, avoided In­dia for years be­cause of wor­ries about govern­ment poli­cies to­ward for­eign com­pa­nies. “We heard hor­ror sto­ries,” says CEO Matthew Prince. “For a very long time we saw a huge amount of cus­tomer de­mand, but we were spooked a lit­tle bit by the reg­u­la­tory risk.” The pro-busi­ness rhetoric of Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, who took of­fice in mid2014, en­cour­aged Cloudflare to put those wor­ries aside. Over the past seven months the com­pany has opened three data cen­ters in the coun­try. Prince says In­dia’s re­jec­tion of Free Ba­sics has in­tro­duced new un­cer­tainty for for­eign com­pa­nies. “A lot of peo­ple are try­ing to fig­ure out what will play out given what hap­pened to Face­book,” he says.

So far, the govern­ment isn’t pro­vid­ing much re­as­sur­ance. Al­though it’s al­lowed Google and Mi­crosoft to pro­ceed with some tri­als, Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Depart­ment spokesman N.N. Kaul says the reg­u­la­tor isn’t ready to say whether it will ap­prove their plans to ex­pand In­ter­net ac­cess in the coun­try­side. “Let the tech­nol­ogy be ready for adop­tion by the coun­try,” he says. “Then we’ll de­cide.”

10% Roughly the share of the world’s 1.4 bil­lion An­droid phones that are en­crypted, ex­perts told the Wall Street Jour­nal for a March 14 re­port

bil­lion

In­dia’s es­ti­mated monthly mo­bile data traf­fic in gi­ga­bytes

by 2019 of iphones are en­crypted, the

ex­perts said The bot­tom line In­dia’s mo­bile data traf­fic may grow 13-fold by 2019, so for­eign tech gi­ants are learn­ing to live with reg­u­la­tory un­cer­tainty.

into a dump­ster on her street. A ro­bot also warns Mascitelli about a pos­si­ble gas leak and later brings her a glass of wa­ter and a bot­tle of vi­ta­mins.

Th­ese scenes are from a video pro­mot­ing the Euro­pean re­search pro­ject Ro­bot-era, which re­cently con­cluded the world’s largest real-life trial of ro­bot aides for the el­derly. About 160 se­niors in Italy and Swe­den tested the ro­bots dur­ing the fouryear pro­ject, which re­ceived €6.5 mil­lion ($7.2 mil­lion) from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and €2.2 mil­lion from part­ners in­clud­ing Ital­ian man­u­fac­turer Robotech and Ap­ple sup­plier St­mi­cro­elec­tron­ics. Now Ro­bot-era man­ager Filippo Cavallo and fel­low pro­fes­sors at the Biorobotics In­sti­tute at the Sant’anna School of Ad­vanced Stud­ies out­side Pisa have started a com­pany called Co-ro­bot­ics to com­mer­cial­ize the tech­nol­ogy. “The ro­bots in the video are ready” for more test­ing, says Cavallo, who plans to start sell­ing them as soon as next year.

As part of a plan to strengthen the re­gion’s ro­bot­ics in­dus­try, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is in­vest­ing tens of mil­lions of euros an­nu­ally in tech­nol­ogy to help the el­derly. The projects may not be as sen­sa­tional as Toshiba’s an­droid, Chi­hi­raaico, which re­sem­bles a Ja­panese woman, or Honda’s hu­manoid as­sis­tant, Asimo, but the re­sults are on “the same level or even more ad­vanced,” says Uwe Haass, a for­mer sec­re­tary- gen­eral of Eurobotics, a non­profit ad­vo­cacy group in Brus­sels that works with the com­mis­sion.

Backed by €4.3 mil­lion from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and part­ners such as Siemens and Tele­com Italia, a pro­ject called Acanto launched in Fe­bru­ary 2015 to make robotic walk­ers that en­cour­age se­niors to ex­er­cise and so­cial­ize. About 100 se­niors in Spain, Italy, and the U.K. will test the devices be­fore the ex­per­i­ment con­cludes in 2018. The goal is to have a ver­sion of the walker for hospi­tals and a less ex­pen­sive one for fam­i­lies priced for less than €2,000, says Luigi Palopoli, the Univer­sity of Trento com­puter en­gi­neer­ing pro­fes­sor over­see­ing the

“The com­mis­sion has very clear goals around the use of ro­bot­ics in the field of ac­tive and healthy ag­ing.” �Andy Bleaden, ex­ter­nal eval­u­a­tor for projects seek­ing Euro­pean Com­mis­sion fund­ing

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