In my recent trip to India, I spent time exploring Hyderabad. Spending time with family was a priority, but I also whipped out my antiquated “smartphone” (Blackberry Torch) and started plugging in on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and other social streams. I learned a lot in a short period of time…in addition to my need to upgrade to a real smartphone!
1. The 3G access across Hyderabad was substantially better than what I get in Ashburn, Virginia or even downtown DC. I was blown away by the widespread availability, even deep in the concrete confines of office buildings and on the outskirts of town.
2. Foursquare was remarkably accurate in identifying my location. Clearly the user base has marked out the venues, but the information available at each site was quite robust. Restaurant reviews, hotel info, wi-fi pointers and such were readily available by jumping on to Foursquare. When I was in front of the Hyderabad City Jail, I thought it would be fun to check-in and post to Twitter so my friends stateside would get a laugh.
3. Everyone is on their mobile phone. EVERYONE. We all know that texting and driving is dangerous. Imagine all the motorcycle and scooter traffic in India using their phones and riding…crazy! Folks definitely rely on their mobile infrastructure.
4. I visited HITEC city where the IT industry has exploded in Hyderabad. I spent some time with a couple of social developer outfits there and learned quite a bit. Many of these firms are utilizing Facebook and LinkedIn to enable their hiring activities and recruit the best talent. Also of note, Facebook’s Hyderabad office has about 100 employees as of March 2011 – projected to be 1500 employees within 3 years.
5. With the rapidly growing consumer economy in India, geolocation is an interesting prospect. With the amount of detail already available in GIS data via mobile phones, the implications could be huge for India. Luxury brands are everywhere – Harley-Davidson, Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Jaguar, Audi, etc. Groupon has already landed and started proliferating. Predictive analytics could prove more robust in a large market like India with so much use of mobile.
When I was a kid, I used to spend my summers in India. About this time of the year, when school was wrapping up, I’d get on a flight and spend two and a half months struggling to find out who won the NBA Finals. Fast forward twenty-five years and now information is accessible everywhere…and possibly more readily available than when I’m back home in Northern Virginia. Today, I could simply watch the game live on my phone.