Shripal Gandhi, Founder and CEO of Swipe Telecom: Yes You Can!
How Swipe is eliminating the barriers to tablet technology adoption
January 1st, 2015
Scores of Indians in small towns want to be part of the ongoing tech revolution. Their technological aspirations drive us. Our single minded focus is to provide them affordable and effective tablet technology.
Price is commonly thought to be the major barrier to technology adoption for the economically less privileged. As we see it, technology effectiveness also stands in their way. I’ll explain with an example: Academicians and technologists want to apply technology to education to improve learning outcomes, which is great. Tablet technology certainly can make learning more enjoyable and effective—provided the tablet holds suitable e-learning content and features a student-friendly interface. Simply offering parents affordable tablets for their children does not fulfil their need. Where will they find the content for their children to learn? Further, just having a tablet loaded with content offers no surety of it being accessed because the key to usage is an engaging interface. Mere content is dull—even if the content is digital, it is perceived as a book on the tablet. An engaging interface brings content alive, it makes the user want to explore. Adding gamification to the interface makes learning fun. It inspires the user to compete with peers and promotes learning.
Tablet technology effectiveness from parent’s perspective must also address their concerns about giving young ones internet access.
We make tablet technology effective by addressing all these links in the value chain. Swipe stands apart from other tablet providers because it recognises users’ complete needs—spanning affordable technology (hardware), content and engaging user interfaces.
Starting with tablet design, we invest a great deal of thought in each product. This includes choosing appropriate materials for the target audience—such as using food grade material for the outer sheath of tablets pitched for young children.
Next follows content. Education is one of our focus areas. To ensure we provide high quality learning content, we have brought onboard professionals with a sound understanding of experiential learning and kinesthetic learning. Such pros head our e-learning department. They identify partners whose educational content will add the most value to our products. Some of our partners are Edutor, Embibe, UTS, MedRC, Bansal classes for IIT JEE.
A lot of localisation and customisation is needed to truly serve every sub-market of India’s huge education market. Just school children’s need for e-learning content varies by geography because of language and school board diversity.
To design the best interface, we take guidance from professionals with expertise in user experience and user interface. Our products for young ones include a monitoring system for parents.
Owning this entire value chain has enabled us to launch outstanding products as well as reduce the bring-to-market time for new products to 45 days.
So far we have provided affordable and effective tablet technology to the education, entertainment and enterprise verticals. Our consumer play products are co-created and co-branded with MTV, a major provider of entertainment content in India. It is a win-win partnership—in Swipe, MTV found the perfect digital platform to distribute their content. We are on the threshold of releasing a new multi-channel entertainment product with the tagline: read, watch, listen, play.
Our enterprise vertical is positioned for SMEs in the banking, logistics, pharmaceutical and retail sectors. We are developing tablet-operated Micro ATMs to drive the concept of financial inclusion. We are developing mobile billing terminals to enhance retail experiences. We are helping medical representatives make effective presentations to potential customers with tablets loaded with details of pharmaceutical products and featuring engaging interfaces. And so on.
We have even worked on the UNICEF-backed e-Asha project of the Rajasthan government. In a pilot, Asha Sahyoginis, grassroots health workers, were trained to create health awareness by making use of tablets with a user interface in Hindi and preloaded with rich content about pressing medical concerns like infant and maternal mortality. Each worker was made responsible to train 2000 women. They reported very positive teaching experiences. Imagine the ripple effect across the state when 14000 Asha workers get going.
Swipe has cornered 7% share of the tablet PC market in India in two years flat. During that time, we have grown from being a tiny team of four to 112 persons. Delivering effective tablet technology will inspire many first time buyers in small towns to leapfrog from owning no PC straight to owning a tablet, and spur further growth. Gradually we will leave no Indian behind. Yes We Can!
Shripal Gandhi is founder and CEO of Swipe Telecom. Gandhi dreams of an India that dominates the world in touch technology and revolutionary telecom products. His eclectic hobbies include conducting inspirational seminars, reading non fiction, travelling and outdoor activities.