The Internet’s positive impact

by rohit on February 28, 2008

Here are five more ways the Internet is going to positively impact our lifestyles.

1. A Website for senior citizens is planned by insurance regulator IRDA for senior citizens that will enable them to easily lodge their grievances with their health insurance providers. The background to this development : health insurance companies seem to be taking the short way out when it comes to meeting seniors’ insurance needs.

Not only have they of late doubled the insurance premia but – reportedly – often do not accept new proposals or accept proposals for a low sum insured. Over and above, these insurance providers pussyfoot when it comes to clearing insurance claims.On the ground that many claims are for diseases with a “pre-existing” condition.

I should know. My late dad didn’t get his claim passed on the ground that the claim he lodged was for a “pre-existing” heart condition : hence not admisible. So he put some of his hard-earned, public sector career savings to engage a lawyer. And fought – against a very Big Insurance company – for over 10 long years. And their attitude all along was : fight us if you can.

2. Domain names in Devanagari (the Hindi language script) will be available by year end. Currently, even Hindi domain names like Nai Duniya are spelt in English. An important psychological move forward in taking the Internet into local languages, I would say.

So far we have had language fonts for the HTML content, language keyboards as also limited availability of OS in local languages. The slow availability of Indian language OS is a mystery. Especially since it is local language OS that helped IT & Internet penetration grow in China, Korea and Japan.

3. The government proposes to set up a National Knowledge Network costing Rs. 1oo crore (Rs. 1 billion) that will connect major education & research institutes at 100 Mbps to enable them to share knowledge. This will also include portals on education, health, water, natural resources as well as online lectures on various issues. Public sector telecom behemoth BSNL is being roped in to set this up.

Expect an announcement in tommorrow’s Union Budget.

4. Mumbai city has been looking at various upgrades to it’s infrastructure, notably its transport system. The city is currently examining Seoul’s Bus Rapid Transit System (BRIS).

Seoul has 10 million population vis-a-vis 14 million of Mumbai. It has 627 area while Mumbai has 468 sq. km. And it has 2.8 million vehicles as against 0.7 million of Mumbai.

In the late ’90s, when Seoul had about 2.3 million vehicles it was able to decongest the city by, among other things, introducing dedicated bus lanes with buses leaving every 2 minutes. Currently, Seoul has 10,000 buses (Mumbai currently has 3,400) operated by 170 private bus operators.

5 million of its 10 million population use this bus network.And only 25% of the population take cars to work, down from 40% who used cars in the late 90s.

The important thing for a Neophile (that’s my own term, by the way) like me is that the bus schedules for these 10,000 are available on the Net.

That’s something that should be done here in Mumbai as well – leaving aside the bigger need for a dedicated bus corridor et al.

5. While on urban transport woes, the local car pooling site has been getting some positive press. There are other sites too.

One issue preventing popularity of these sites is safety i.e. security concerns in travelling with strangers. For which one answer is the creation a social networking car pool site. This can work either standalone or be a widget that works with existing social networking sites.

For more on this idea, see my previous post on “Social Networking : Learnings & Opportunities”.

Wishing all readers of Marketers Kaleidoscope a Happy Leap Year Day and a favourable Union Budget !

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