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Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Rajan Nagarajan, CIO, Mahindra Satyam (Part 7)

Posted on Wednesday, Oct 20th 2010

By Sramana Mitra and guest author Shaloo Shalini

SM: The idea of a private cloud within a public cloud is a good one, actually; somebody should start and do it. Do you have any more ideas to share about entrepreneurship in the cloud?

RN: Well, I have to think of something more before retirement. I have to start doing that now, and I have been thinking about such initiatives. For example, take travel, business travel, I mean. When I travel, I am out on the road for two or three weeks at a stretch. I get all these receipts, and I go nuts because I don’t even remember what I did to get them. It’s not an easy task to remember whom I had dinner with and so on. Now, let’s imagine I am able to tap into my camera or the BlackBerry with a camera and keep track of receipts that way

SM: Well, this one exists; there is a large public company in the cloud that you may want to look at for Satyam – Concur is the company that is addressing this issue very well.

RN: Is that right? Do they have an application that is up and running?

SM: Oh, yes. They are a large company, Concur. They are heavily into enterprises. You should take a look at them!

RN: So, what I was saying that I will definitely look at it, but right now I am just exchanging ideas about retail, airline travel, hotels and all that. Now Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa, at certain airports they have converted the entire travel experience to paperless travel, where you don’t need a boarding pass.

SM: Right.

RN: What it does is you take your mobile phone, and the location-based cloud service that is running can track you. They don’t have it in all airports. They are setting it up at other places as well. I think Singapore airport has this service operational – there is a location-based cloud service running at the airport. It captures a traveler through the mobile phone and it knows the traveler’s identity. Through the phone you are carrying and the telecom provider’s link, it knows you have arrived at the airport. From then on, all you need to do is make sure that you are carrying your phone, and there is a camera at the check-in counter and one at the boarding gate. The camera can tally the information, confirm you are the passenger, and let you through.

SM: So, what is the opportunity here there you are envisioning?

RN: What I am saying is this kind of opportunity must be extended, so somebody needs to be able to take that kind of application and move it into opportunities in, for example medical records and hospitals. I am just thinking of extending the idea.

SM: Right. It can be productized such that for one, it can be sold into all the airports so that the airports and the airlines can get into a seamless paperless transaction mode. Second, you are looking at potentially applying this paperless transaction business model to other industries.

RN: Exactly! I would say, particularly in the health industry. It applies well to the health industry today. With people becoming mobile, we are moving so often, they go to one doctor, and then they relocate and move to another doctor. The other doctor needs to know what the previous doctor diagnosed. I think that the cloud enables us to be able to move this kind of medical record information rapidly for the benefit of many.

SM: Yes, there are a lot of entrepreneurs whom I’m in touch with who are looking at electronic medical records today and trying to come up with solutions in that space. There is this whole work floor on health care. Healthcare IT is an area where I am seeing a very large uptake in entrepreneurship in the past couple of years.

RN: The last but not least area I think that can benefit from cloud-based solutions is education.

SM: You think so?

RN: Yes, I think it may be happening already, but as I look again closer to where I am located, I look at India because India is ripe for something like this. What I want to know is, how can I enable bite-sized education models to be delivered in remote areas through the cloud, make it affordable, and take it to the villages. With clouds, why can’t I do that?

SM: Yes, that is a big field that can be explored.

RN: For example, I can take a typical classroom in a Don Bosco [Catholic] school and do a simple webcam recording of the classroom, say what happened during a term, and offer an entire semester to a village remotely where people don’t have the means and afford quality education.

SM: There is this other aspect, though, that has got to do with the telecom issues involved, and then there are viability issues from the structure point of view and viability issues from a cost structure point of view, because the schools have no budget to buy any technology.

RN: True, but you have to realize that all that will change, right?

SM: Yes, eventually it will change, and I think it is a question of timing and when those become real opportunities, because as an entrepreneur if you are too far ahead of the market you go about of business.

RN: Correct.

SM: Very good, this has been an extremely interesting conversation, Rajan. Thank you for taking the time, and let’s keep in touch.

RN: The pleasure was mine, but I would love to get together with you one of these days.

SM: Sounds good, and you may want to check out my Vision India 2020 book because some of the things that you are talking about from an Indian context I discuss, too; you will find a lot of resonance with that.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Rajan Nagarajan, CIO, Mahindra Satyam
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very informative and i would like to see more discussions on IT surveillance on Airport issues..

Madhusudhan Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 10:11 AM PT