Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cloud Computing in South Asia: Still Miles to Go before We Get It

I have been trying to write about cloud computing in another blog of mine for the last one week. I hope to do so for the entire month. What I realized is that it is a new technology and still limited mainly in USA and some other rich countries. It will take quite some time that South Asian people will get real taste of cloud computing.
Cloud Computing is the future technology and realizing its potential, big companies are investing on it. Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, HP- all are in this race to be the market leader. All these countries have strong presence in India and it is natural that Indian consumers will get cloud computing services first in the region. In fact, Google Apps have started to become popular in India mainly because of free emails attached to domain names of the companies. Anyway, cloud computing is yet to flourish in India in a decent level. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer a few months ago predicted that India would become a leader in cloud computing. I am going to write a long entry about cloud computing in India after a week or two.
As for my own country Bangladesh, cloud computing is yet to make any impact among the business community. Well, Microsoft opened an office in Bangladesh in 2004. I could not find any information about cloud computing related services in the website of Microsoft Bangladesh. Right now, it is Eid vacations in Bangladesh. I hope to contact to them next week. One of the major challenges for Bangladesh in adopting cloud computing is the lack of high speed Internet facility.  
After India, Pakistan has good potential for cloud computing because broadband Internet expanded in the country in a decent level compared to the rest of South Asia. As for Sri Lanka, some people are interested about cloud computing and Microsoft has been promoting it there. I will try to contact Microsoft Sri Lanka in this regard. I just hope that they provide adequate response and information to me.
I could not find any information about cloud computing in Maldives.
When it comes to Nepal, " Computer Association of Nepal organized live video conference with CAN-USA in San Francisco on 11th April, 2009. The video conference was done for Transfer of Knowledge “TofK” on Cloud Computing."
I feel that there are some common problems in the region in adopting cloud computing. The first problem is that high speed Internet is not available to most people living in South Asia. Well, South Asia is one of the poorest regions on earth PC penetration is still thin. May be mobile phone based cloud computing has very bright future considering the size of the user base in countries like Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Then again, smart phone usage is insigficant.
Despite all these, certain factors are for India and the future of cloud computing looks to be very bright in India. I will talk about these things in my entry about Cloud Computing in India within the next 5-10 days hopefully.
Another problem for South Asia is that there are not that many big companies and many business owners do not have any idea about the benefits of cloud computing. It is often said that cloud computing can bring a lot of benefits for SMEs (Small and medium enterprises). However, many SME entrepreneurs of South Asia are not either enough computer and Internet literate or they do not use computer and Internet much in their business activities.
On the other hand, the cloud computing vendors or service providing companies have to learn the market realities of South Asia and customize their offers according to the needs of South Asian companies.
South Asian bureaucrats and decision makers are still largely unaware about the potentials of cloud computing in government activities. Of course, they will be worried about the security and privacy of government data.
In the end, I am not frustrated about the future of cloud computing in South Asia. My prediction is that within 10 years there will be a sizeable market of cloud computing in South Asia. I am also predicting that governments of at least 5 of the 8 countries will shift a large portion of their IT activities to cloud computing. While there are miles to go before we get it, still I am hopeful.  

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