Pakistan 2.0: Technology Drives Productivity, Economy
Abundance of historical data on educational attainment shows that young Pakistanis are more literate and better educated than their parents and grandparents. And recent data confirms that they are rapidly embracing new technologies. Technology, particularly ICT, is increasingly visible among consumers, industries and public sector. As a result, Pakistan today stands at the threshold of soaring productivity and rising standards of living over the next several decades. The basic requirements for it to materialize are maintenance of peace and security and increasing investments in education, health care, energy and infrastructure.
3G, 4G Mobile Broadband Rollout:
The launch of 3G and 4G networks has accelerated the growth of Internet users in Pakistan. More than a million subscribers are signing up every month since the 3G and 4G rollout in the country last year. These new users are generating more and more data traffic requiring rapid increases in available bandwidth.
Pakistan ended March 2015 with over 12.07 million 3G/4G subscribers, up from 10.34 million in February, according to data from Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA). Telenor led the 3G/4G market with over 3.53 million subscribers, followed by CMPak (2.95 million 3G/4G subscribers), Mobilink (2.86 million 3G subscribers), and Ufone (2.66 million 3G subscribers). Warid had 66,140 LTE network subscribers at 31 March.
Thousands of kilometers long fiber network is currently in place to deal with the growing domestic bandwidth demand. Several projects are underway to grow this network further.
Young entrepreneurs are developing and launching mobile apps for everything from sports and entertainment to education, ride-sharing and e-commerce.
Pepper.pk has topped BlackBerry’s Appworld with their game Ninja Fruit Bash, TenPearls won Nokia and ATT Innovators 2011 contest through their game Animal 101, start-ups such as PiLabs also made their mark with mobile games such as ‘Field Garfield’ which is an official Garfield game.
A ride-sharing app called savaree, photo-sharing app Groopic and custom shoes app Markhor have been making news lately in Pakistan and overseas.
E-commerce is taking off in Pakistan with companies such as Home shopping, Shophive, daraz.pk and Symbios are becoming popular for online shopping.
Spurred by a favorable regulatory and technology environment, Pakistan is witnessing dramatic growth in mobile banking. Four out of five cellular mobile companies currently operating in Pakistan have launched m-money systems in partnership with financial institutions. The m-money market volume reached 153 million annual transactions worth US$ 6.2 billion as of 2013.
Information and communications technology is being deployed in Pakistan's energy sector.
In addition to automatic reading of smart meters at the customer premises, smart meters have been installed with the support of USAID on incoming and outgoing feeders at all nine government-owned electric utilities. These will help move the system toward building of a smart national grid to better manage power generation, transmission and distribution in the country.
A captive power plant owned by Sapphire Group textile mill in Muridke Lahore is using hundreds embedded sensors and other digital instruments in power turbines, analyzing the data they collect, and using the information to improve the plant’s performance, optimize production and reduce unplanned downtime. US-based General Electric is paying for the sensors and the software. The company will be paid by splitting all benefits with Sapphire under a win-win scenario, according to GE Reports website.
Public Sector Applications:
IT projects ranging from automated meter reading and computerized land records management to online education and mobile banking are now at various stages of implementation across Pakistan. In a report released last year, the World Bank called these projects "unprecedented in the public sector in developing countries". The objective of these efforts is to reduce corruption, increase productivity and improve service delivery in both private and public sectors.
The Punjab government is deploying smartphone applications to crack down on absentee mobile government workers and their corrupt practices. As part of this project, the government employee must send his or her picture and a report of interaction with citizens along with GPS coordinates. For example, a agricultural pest control official required to visit farmers must file reports of his findings and actions in real time via a smartphone app.
Pakistan today stands at the threshold of soaring productivity and rising standards of living over the next several decades. The basic requirements for it to materialize are maintenance of peace and security and increasing investments in education, health care, energy and infrastructure.
High-Speed Fiber Optic Connectivity in Pakistan
E-Commerce in Pakistan
Public Sector Apps in Pakistan
History of Educational Attainment in Pakistan
Online Education in Pakistan
Value Added Agriculture in Pakistan
Upwardly Mobile Pakistan