We do need more education
One sector that has seen rapid adoption of technology without attaining maturity is education. New formats of courseware and other content, innovation in delivery and technology for process automation have accelerated the pace of technology adoption in this segment and the same trend is likely to continue in the coming year.
Our belief is that content digitisation and its subsequent dissemination would remain a dominant theme that would drive technology investment in the education sector. A number of companies engaged in building education-centric tablets would enter the market more aggressively this year. We expect some products with the most optimised set of features involving form factor, display, interactivity and capability to run applications to succeed in the market. However, they will have to maintain a low bill of material (BOM) so as to qualify as a cost-effective alternative for traditional medium of education. Vendors may come to the conclusion that their offering may not necessarily be an e-reader, interactive platform and a personal mobile device rolled into one package. The requirement would drive the features and we see enough room in the market to accommodate at least a few different players in the long run. While innovative hardware would play a key role in shaping this ecosystem, there are a whole host of issues that need to be considered before the adoption of tablets becomes more common. Key among these are a clear strategy for ensuring that the cost of device and subsequent content becomes lower than paper-based education or at least converge towards a same price point. There is also the need for strategy level initiatives to steer the transition from a textbook-based model to that of digital content without any significant loss of content and knowledge.5 In the short term, we expect this model will rely on government support in the form of PPP and policy level guidance before it reaches a sustainable scale.
Digital content will definitely remain a key driver in this space. Three sub-trends that would be dominant here are digitization of legacy content, localization of existing digital content and creation of completely new and predominantly interactive content. While the first two would generate substantial traction in the short run, the third would create long term revenue prospects for the content providers. The dissemination of the content is likely to be more tilted towards an IP/Web-based delivery for the present, while its interplay with mobility would gradually evolve. Overall we see a structural shift in education from being a dissemination process to an experiential and interactive process.
Adoption of ERP platforms, especially by Universities is expected to drive up the technology spend in terms of value. While, so far, the ERP adoption and its application has been limited to automation of processes like admission, examination and result processing, scheduling, etc., Deloitte predicts that the real value of this segment will be realised once the collaboration among students and teachers can be established seamlessly for coaching, projects, examination and assessment. Also as universities move towards common best practices, technology vendors would be able to provide cost effective solutions requiring minimal level of customisation.6
With more than 8,000 institutions under AICTE, around 600 universities and an equivalent number of other professional institutions, this segment shall see a lot of action over the next few years.