Please share the genesis of iProf India.
It was in 2009 that I saw for the first time the form factor that we call tablets. I was impressed by the 7 inch form factor with a touch screen, and I realized that finally we have something, which can help in education delivery, because it is very easy to use and to carry, so we started working on it. We were the first company in India to launch Tablets for education. The iProf tablet came into being in 2009. During those days we were also creating the content for the tablet.
What was the response to tablets in 2009?
We had very encouraging response, everybody was thrilled to see that roduct. People were impressed by the audiovisual content, because those where the days when mobile devices had very small screen, and the computers were too expensive and also too bulky to carry.
Revolution of low cost tablets started with Aakash1. What are your views on Aakash 1 tablet?
I tested the Aakash 1 tablet and found technical specifications were much lower. Today’s younger generation is habituated to much powerful device, so they are not going to accept such mediocre performance. Although the cost was cut to bare minimum it was great, but usability s too difficult with the very small processer. Specification of Aakash 2 is pretty good and is omparable to tablets like Pantel and Wistel and others, which are pretty good and are in the range of Rs 3000 to Rs 5000. Thanks to government of India for huge publicity of Aakash, students and parents have accepted that tablet is a way to learn.
When do you see tablet boom coming in education?
I am expecting quarter four of this year to be a big, because UP government is planning to give outh 25 lakh tablets for free. They made provision for the same in budget for 2007 for 21 crore. Tenders are likely next month in July. I expect by Q4 this year, Indians will start seeing a big explosion in the market for tablets.
You have approached many schools. What kind of response have you received from them?
We are having very encouraging response from schools. About 80 percent tudents have opted for tablets. We started approaching schools this year only when tablet came effective. As of now around 250-300 schools are evaluating it and 21 schools have already signed the agreement so in July 2012 we will start deploying it. In places like Maharani Gayatri Devi School, Jaipur 79 girls out 100 girls have opted for tablets. Schools in Boondi, Sawai Madhopur and other far flung towns have also started using tablets for educational usage.
How can we ensure that the educational content available on the tablet is of good quality?
There are three ways to assure the quality of content. One way is that if there can be a quality monitoring institute that certifies the content from one star to five stars. For instance, the Government of India, has developed the Shakshar website where they are putting lot of digital content, which can meet the basic requirement of students. Second way is the community driven. People can themselves comment on the content. If twenty thousand people like that content it means that it is of good quality. Market itself drives some winners. Those who are providing good content will become stronger and stronger as market is liking their product.
Please share with us your plans for offering new solutions to the learner community.
We are coming up with a new product next month called digiLibrary, which is the largest collection of tablet content in online space. So it will become a destination point. Online it is free, but download incurs charge. Lot of people have tablets, but they don’t know where to go therefore, we are offering them a destination point. We are also launching 24X7 Teacher on Call. We are targeting to become100 crore company by 2014.