Small print shops in India and other emerging markets often cannot afford to buy the software required for print and design services. Xerox researchers in Chennai in southern India are investigating the option of delivering the software to these businesses as a low-cost document service through a cloud computing model.
The research facility, called the Xerox India Innovation Hub, which was formally inaugurated last week, is also investigating the use of mobile phones in document management, Meera Sampath , director of the hub, said on Friday.
In rural markets, the ability to submit information and retrieve documents through mobile phones would do away with the requirement to go to remote Internet kiosks and update the information, she added.
The low bandwidth of communications in rural areas, the requirement for multilingual delivery of services, and the ubiquity of mobile phones are some of the key characteristics of emerging markets, Sampath said.
Some of the technologies developed in India may be relevant to other emerging markets as well, she added.
Besides developing technologies to address problems peculiar to the emerging markets, the Xerox researchers will also explore whether some of the technologies proven in developed markets can be used with appropriate modifications in emerging markets as well, Sampath said.
Xerox expects, for example, that some of its document management technology will be relevant for e-governance applications in India, Sampath said. Its multilingual technologies may also be relevant to this market, she added.
The company is teaming for research with Indian academic institutions, research labs and local industry. It is working, for example, with the Rural Technology Business incubator of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras to develop technologies to improve workflow at small technology-based businesses in rural India.
The research is in its initial phase, and there is no guarantee that it will result in products and services offered by the company, said Sophie Vandebroek, Xerox's chief technology officer.
Chennai was identified for the innovation hub about a year ago, and the company initially focused on identifying the right partners for the research, and on deciding on the projects, Vandebroek said.
The company said last week that it is also working with the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore on a project focused on how machine learning and game theory principles can be combined to improve the performance of online service market places.