Technology for Social Transformation

India, Egypt, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Africa, Algeria — We call them emerging economies and rapid growth markets and we get excited at their projected GDP growth rates. EMC, like most, dream of growing revenues there at a steep curve. However, when I look at the systemic problems that these economies face, I find that there is a great risk that this rosy picture may not come to pass.

In India alone, the mortality rate of children under five years of age is eight times that of the U.S.; the number of doctors per person is one sixth that of the U.S.; the number of universities for a population of 1.2 billion is a meager 650. These are alarming data points. The much touted demographic dividend will not yield its expected rewards if the majority of the population is uneducated and of poor health. This situation is familiar across many other countries in South Asia, Africa and Central America.

Healthcare in Emerging Economies

Now, where am I going with this? I think that there is a real opportunity for EMC to develop insights, be a thought leader and find solutions to transform areas like education and healthcare in these emerging economies. Our comprehensive Cloud and Big Data portfolio puts us on the path towards commercial success in these areas.

Take education for example. Conventional methods like building more schools and training more teachers do not scale. Early indicators like the success of Khan Academy, point to technology as a savior especially in underserved regions (rural and semi-urban) in rapid growth markets. The rapid adoption of mobile phones and the availability of tablet computers at lower price points (Aakaash Tablet) are encouraging trends. If end-user devices are available and affordable to the population at large, then EMC has the right portfolio to have impact on education, as outlined below:

  1. A cloud platform that can deliver educational content to remote devices and classrooms
  2. A search and management platform that can bring a wide variety of educational content under one umbrella
  3. Edge devices that can serve to accelerate the user experience as well as insulate the students from disruptions in connectivity
  4. Analytics to push the right content to the right people at the right time

Addressing Education Challenges via Technology

Healthcare is another key area that’s ripe for technology answers. Monitoring of health services delivery, disease tracking and preventive healthcare does not exist in most of these markets. Using Big Data tools to incorporate social media data into existing health records will complement traditional forms of disease surveillance, allowing officials to better predict public health emergencies, be more prepared to treat the ill and more accurately staff hospitals and ERs to respond to an outbreak. As the next step, we can bring the entire weight of EMC’s storage, security and analytics portfolios to bear to solve complete use-cases.

Addressing Healthcare Challenges via Technology

The promise of technology is that it can make life better for everyone. The serious problems that emerging economies face are opportunities where companies like EMC can make a real difference and, at the same time, become a stronger player in these economies.

About the Author: Sarv Saravanan