Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Intel India : New Business Initiative

Intel India plans new businesses surrounding new technologies, markets & models

BANGALORE: Bringing a successful global practise to its Indian operations, chip major Intel is planning to spawn entrepreneurial ventures within its India technology centre. The core idea is to create an environment of innovation and business-building apart from pure technology. The added upside is that such an initiative has the power to retain some of its top performers from logging out of the company to jump-start ventures.

Intel’s internal business incubator, New Business Initiative (NBI), is currently executing comprehensive pilots in low-cost technology platforms and commercial launches are expected in the middle of 2008 in India. For time, NBI has been extended out of US in 2006 to India.

NBI is conceptualised around building new businesses surrounding new technologies, markets and models. Globally, the group has been incubating new businesses for 10 years with achievements such as WiMax.
Intel Capital, part of the Intel group, invests and supports several startups and ideas outside of the company. So, the internal business incubator backs those ideas that are not in the same space as those supported by the VC arm of the chip maker.

Talking to ET, Intel India President Praveen Vishakantaiah said, “We have got very good responses to the initiative internally.” Successful businesses either stay internal and complement Intel’s offerings or could be spun out as new entities. Currently, NBI is incubating two businesses in India in retail technologies and low-cost rural networks.

Engineer-entrepreneurs in Intel are working on a low-cost technology platform for kiranas and pharmacies by building point-of-sale and marketing devices like digital signage, coupons, and loyalty programs. These devices could be loaded with value-added services like billpay, mobile recharge, tickets, courier on the same platform. It is expected that service providers and consumers would be attracted to online service delivery model with offline cash payments. NBI is partnering with FMCG companies, service providers and Intel’s channel partners to support retailers.

At the same time, Intel is also looking at tune these ideas from the employees to demands of the marketplace. Mr Vishakantaiah said it has the “blue buddies” programme where it encourages its engineers to go and interact with the potential customers to understand what technology they would really require.

The other pilot is on building a rural network with low-cost, long-range WiFi technology developed in Intel’s Berkeley Laboratory. This network aims to bridge the link between villages and nearest wired network, often in district headquarters. NBI is partnering with many financial institutions and communication companies for this venture.