Sunday, May 15, 2011

ICT4D Movement or Industry?

Indian ICT4D sector is developing but has it matured? The sector calls it the 'ICT4D Movement' which makes us all the foot soldiers of the movement. But aren't foot soldiers supposed to work together? To collaborate and take the movement forward? But what I see in India is that the foot soldiers are fighting amongst each other for a bigger share of the pie. I agree that the organisations do need to be sustainable for the obvious reasons, but what do you do when it is at the cost of the movement?

Do we think about the movement itself when we are busy with the petty rivalries among the many organisations that happen to be working on similar issues, within the same geographical area?

Oh, and then there are those who are purely in this sector for development (of their own bank balance). I know some people who think that e-Governance is a space where they can try and earn kickbacks by introducing a technology vendor to a government agency that is scouting for a company that can bring in technology in their operations and if the vendor get the deal, the organisation will get a share.

Now, I guess this is all normal and it happens everywhere and I am just over-reacting to all this but sorry, I do not accept this as the way I would want this sector to function. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

India launches energy-efficiency labelling programme for laptops

The Indian Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) today launched an energy efficiency rating system for laptops, netbooks and printers on the lines of the existing 5-star rating system (National Energy Labelling Programme) used for home appliances in India.
The 5-star label for home appliances as seen on my refrigerator

The event was organised jointly by the BEE and the Manufacturers’ Association of Information Technology (MAIT). The National Energy Labelling Programme was launched on May 18, 2006. The aim was to provide a common energy-efficiency benchmark which makes it easier for utility companies and government agencies to offer consumers incentives to buy energy-efficient products. The programme was initially launched on voluntary basis for two appliances, frost-free refrigerators and tubular fluorescent lamps. Today this labelling is mandatory for these two appliances in addition to air conditioners and distribution transformers while being voluntary for direct cooling refrigerators, industrial motors, pumpsets, ceiling fans, domestic gas stoves, storage water heaters, televisions and washing machines.
The label for IT equipment as displayed on a placard at the event

The new IT equipment labelling programme has been launched on voluntary basis for laptop and netbook manufacturers with a plan to eventually expand this programme to include other IT devices. The programme will eventually be made mandatory. A decision has been taken to not include desktop computers in the programme at the moment owing to the vast unorganised industry in the country of assembled desktops which would be very difficult to regulate. Representatives from Dell, Canon, HCL and HP have already joined hands with the BEE to start making products that adhere to this rating system, laptops and printers with the labels were also unveiled at the event.

The reason behind selecting the relatively expensive laptops for this programme is that over the past few years laptops have been selling at a higher proportion than desktops owing to the lower price points at which netbooks and laptops are available in India.

Though India is still energy deficit but the government is now rapidly electrifying all Indian villages and once that aim is achieved the nation foresees a manifold increase in the demand for electricity once all the villages are electrified across this vast nation with over 6,00,000 villages. Another reason for the surge in demand is the fact that soon, India will become the country with the highest number of young people in the world, as was said during the event, ‘Young and affluent people means an increase in the number of gadgets they own that leads to more demand for electricity’

An interesting aspect of this initiative is that all members of the IT association, MAIT, have agreed in principle to work towards making their products more eco-friendly and energy efficient and will be working towards making the consumers realise the benefits of opting for these efficient IT equipments that they will be manufacturing. Kudos to Dell, Canon, HCL and HP for taking the first steps towards a greener more efficient IT environment for the nation.