Datawind is focused on empowering the 4 billion people with connectivity to the internet. The digital and internet divide can be addressed through technology interventions at an affordable price. All of Datawind’s products come bundled with one year of free internet browsing. DataWind breaks the affordability barrier with the world’s most affordable tablets, phablets and smart phones.
Much of the globe still has to rely on antiquated mobile networks which are unable to deliver access to the internet. Using patented technologies, DataWind continues to driving the cost down to a level where access to technology becomes ‘universally affordable’. This technology allows for a rich, fast and affordable experience on existing networks without any new infrastructure.
DataWind is a leader in low-cost internet connectivity with a vision to bring the internet, which has the ability to create tremendous social and economic benefits to billions of unconnected people. The company’s Internet Delivery Platform offers affordable Internet connectivity solutions by bundling an affordable computing device with an inexpensive one-year pre-paid internet browsing service plan. DataWind intends to offer INR100/200 a year tariff for unlimited Internet browsing across any site. Also, DataWind has earmarked an investment of INR100 crore for the MVNO foray.
Following the Dream to ‘Bridge the Digital Divide’
Mr. Suneet Singh Tuli and Raja Singh Tuli are the Co-Founders of the DataWind, Suneet is a civil engineer graduated from the University of Toronto and Raja a computer engineer graduated from the University of Alberta. While Suneet is principally responsible for sales, marketing, support and manufacturing operations, Raja manages the research and development activities of the Company, as well as the supply chain operations.
There are billions of people around the world in this digital age that are unable to take advantage of the power of the internet, simply because they can’t afford it. Most of them are living at less than a USD5 per day, not able to educate their children. Datawind’s focus is to empower these people with affordable technology and with better quality of education by breaking the cost barriers.
Three key elements have helped cause the mass adoption of tablet computers in India. These are affordability, awareness and connectivity. In 2011, the average tablet cost more than a personal computer, and remained a multimedia toy for those that already had computers and smartphones. Today, tablets have become essential mobility tools at the price point of an average feature phone. To determine the correct price-point for the Indian market, DataWind studied other markets to understand the price at which mass adoption was triggered. The analysis showed that for the PC market in the US, this happened when the average cost of a PC dropped below a week of salary. This meant that in order to reach a billion people, to break the affordability barrier and deliver product within a week of salary for an average person in India, the price needed to be brought below Rs.3,000.
The third ingredient of the tablet revolution is connectivity. Access to the internet is the killer app for tablets, and mobile cellular networks are the delivery platform. Due to the lack of fixed broadband deployment in India, connectivity is primarily delivered on cellular networks. The result is that most tablets sold in India are now combinations of phones & tablets, i.e. phablets. Network congestion and high data costs are solved by a unique patented web delivery platform created by DataWind’s founder Raja S. Tuli, which reduces bandwidth consumption by over 30 times, resulting in a faster and richer web experience at a lower cost.
The impact of affordable and connected internet devices cannot be underestimated. An empowered citizen will result in greater transparency in all aspects of the government. Quality of education will no longer be related to one’s income class, as millions of students in rural India are now able to access the world’s best teachers and infinite content on the web. Today, powerful tablets with cellular connectivity (phablets) at under Rs.3,000 have made it possible for every child to have a personal computing device. These devices have dual-core processors, and the latest operating systems, yet are one-tenth of the cost of devices from just a couple of years back.Technology has leveled the playing field, and eliminates mediocrity in teaching. The ability to self-learn can continue beyond the classroom and for the rest of our lives.
Achievements Speak Louder than Words
The awards and achievements are earned with incessant efforts. And the list follows as:
DataWind bags Young Turks Award: DataWind, makers of the Aakash tablet, has won the CNBC TV 18 and Mercedez Benz Young Turks ‘Innovation of the Year’ award for 2011.
Technology Achievement Award for DataWind Founders Raja & Suneet Tuli: The Aakash tablet has already become a household name in the tech world, which can be attributed to the painstaking efforts on part of the Tuli brothers, Raja Singh Tuli and Suneet Singh Tuli. In recognition for all the hard work they have put in the venture, Raja Singh Tuli and Suneet Singh Tuli have been awarded the Technology Achievement Award by the Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce in a glittering ceremony held at the Metro Toronto Convention Center.
DataWind bags UK’s Most Innovative Mobile Company award for making the USD35 Aakash tablet: DataWind has won the Smart UK Project award from UK government for nation’s ‘Most Innovative Mobile Company’, beating competition from the other three finalists-Blippar, P2i and QRpedia.
DataWind continues rackingup international awards as Finalist for Global Mobile Awards 2012: DataWind, the inventor of the Aakash tablet, named a finalist for the Global Mobile Awards 2012 (GSMA) in the category for the Best Mobile Innovation for Education. DataWind’s innovative solution at breakthrough pricing was chosen from six hundred applicants, and the recognition validates the critical need to break the affordability barrier for devices and network access in bridging the digital divide for the next 3 billion internet users.
In September 2012, Forbes magazine named Suneet Singh Tuli among the “Impact 15” list of education innovators.
Future Plans: Breaking the Affordability Barrier
The main focus remains on providing affordable internet access to the low-income segments. With the patented Internet Delivery Platform, Datawind offers low-cost Internet connectivity solution by bundling an affordable computing device with an inexpensive one-year pre-paid internet browsing service plan. They also intend to offer bandwidth cost advantage to consumers in rural area. They will be launching it as a virtual operator and intend to deliver INR 100/200 annual data plans.
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