Strategic Initiatives

SRITNE is a multi-disciplinary research centre aimed at fostering rigorous and relevant ICT centric research, with focus on ‘management of ICT’ and on the ‘enabling-capabilities of ICT for businesses, governments and society. Research in these areas are aimed at leading to a better understanding of how ICT creates and can create value for business and society.
Use of data analytics is highly relevant to all the research streams of interest to SRITNE.

In many digital commerce contexts, data is created in real time, at high velocity and at very high volumes. Thus, research questions like measuring the value of having multichannel shoppers depends on econometric analysis of relevant data. Another example is the analysis of training data generated from in-house corporate training to optimize the training design for employees.
Smart Cities Initiative
In India, urbanisation is a rapidly growing trend fuelled by the government’s emphasis on the manufacturing and services sectors as engines of growth and the transition thereof to these sectors from agriculture. As per the 2011 census report, more than 600 million Indians will be living in urban areas by 2031, and the contribution of urban India to her GDP is expected to rise from 52% in 2011 to 75% in 2031. Yet, the current state of infrastructure, human capital and services in Indian cities is an important constraint in accommodating the pace of urbanisation. A plan for rapid development of 100 smart cities by the Government of India intends to address this challenge. A smart city is commonly defined as one that leverages technology to integrate and optimise its limited resources towards better habitability, sustainability and citizen empowerment. But there is limited understanding of how technology-enabled solution(s) will help cities evolve into safe, secure, and efficient habitats. In order to address this gap in our understanding, the Srini Raju Center for Technology and the Networked Economy (SRITNE) is engaging in several research studies that examine the impact of technology solutions on urban transformation and the nature of such solutions. We describe below some of the key projects at the center in this research area.

 (a) The Impact of Public WiFi on Information Consumption and Diversity: An ambitious initiative of the newly elected Government of India, titled the “Digital India” program, aims to close the digital divide by providing digital infrastructure as a utility to every citizen, thereby, ensuring government services are available to all citizens electronically. As part of this program, the newly elected Government of Telangana will provide free public Wi-Fi services to the citizens of Hyderabad. As a prelude to the citywide deployment, the Government launched a pilot deployment in October 2014 across 17 locations in Hyderabad that impacts nearly 40,000 citizens.

 However, does providing affordable access to broadband services indeed lead to their increased use? Towards answering this question, we aim to work through the pilot as well as the citywide implementation to: (a) assess the impact of free Wi-Fi services on the quantum and diversity of information consumed by citizens, and (b) identify subscriber demographics that affect these consumption parameters. 
 The results will guide policy on how to enhance the information capacity of populations. In identifying the latent information and communication needs in different groups of users before the Wi-Fi deployment, and providing insights into the magnitude and patterns of Internet use within these groups after the deployment, we are able to identify whether the digital divide in the developing world is an outcome of affordability, motivation or ability. A critical next step would be to identify relevant and sustainable opportunities for innovation and development, facilitated through enhanced information capacity of the population to estimate the full magnitude of impact.

 (b) Design of a Smart City Maturity Model: The second study aims to develop a smart city maturity model (SCMM) for benchmarking and effective design of smart cities. The framework will help a region (city or district or state) assess its technology readiness in absolute and relative terms, and consequently, implement a solution that is uniquely aligned with its resources and capabilities. SCMM will help governments grow and expand their cities as urban centres by identifying technologies, processes and structures that help the cities deliver citizen services in a reliable, sustainable and efficient manner.

The SCMM Framework (see Fig. 1) broadly consists of two parts – anAssessment Framework and a Solution Framework. The Assessment Framework, which draws on a range of archival data on development parameters at the district or state level, helps a city or state assess the condition of its social, physical and technological infrastructure to identify its readiness for implementation of smart city solutions. The Solution Framework, which draws on detailed case analyses of several canonical implementations of technology solutions for smarter cities as well as stakeholder interviews, helps the city design a technological solution that is uniquely aligned with the state of its infrastructure or smart city readiness.

The SCMM framework can also be applied to implementation of technology solutions for diverse sectors such as education, energy and surveillance. We have authored various representative white papers in these areas.
Technology In Education
 The Role of Technology in Education:
The objective of this study is to look at different features of technology mediated learning that can enhance learning outcomes for students in the K-12 classrooms. Recent advances in instructional technologies have features that allow students to have a more personalized learning experience.   A student with access to course lectures and adaptive learning system on computer may learn at her own pace and with flexibility of varying emphasis on different parts unlike the classroom setting. Some features of technology can also enhance teacher’s productivity, reallocating time from mundane activities like grading to spending more time on difficult concepts and focused tutoring for weaker students.

To measure the true impact of technology on learning we propose a set of carefully designed experiments where we randomly assign students and teachers to the computer mediated learning environment.  This study is currently being carried out in Borabanda School of AP Residential Schools Society where 80 laptops were made available to students of class VII and class VIII for both boys and girls.