Citizen service kiosks powered by IT, district level wiki-inspired online communities, open source tools to aid the visually impaired-Kerala is trying hard to stand out and woo investrors and technology enthusiasts alike. While some of the initiatives are modelled around common e-governance initiatives, others are truly unique in terms of results and processes. PCQuest does a roundup of IT in Kerala.
Technopark - Kerala's first IT destination
This is where you find the roots of IT in Kerala. Nestled away from the hustle and bustle of the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram's Technopark boasts to be the only tech park in the country with maximum green cover – surrounding the 177 odd companies spread across the various buildings in the campus. Technopark claims to have many unique propositions for investors, specifically targeted at reducing the time for setting up facilities and offices on ground. The 'single window' facility exclusively for the IT industry is a huge incentive since all infrastructure and operational aspects of setting up a company including power, lease contracts, water and sanitation facilities and others are handled by the Technopark management, making it probably the only technology park in the country that has the authority to procure, distribute and monitor power and water resources in addition to specific requirements of additional back up power for the IT industry. This has given rise to domestic biggies like Infosys and TCS rubbing shoulders with rather unique BPO and overseas service offering companies like UST Global, choosing Technopark as their operational base.
Encouraged by the success of Technopark for more than 10 years, the Government of Kerala set up the Infopark in Kochi in 2004, which is currently growing one and a half times faster than the Technopark. Taking this a step further, Kerala has started work to tap the third big city in the State – Kozhikode, by setting up a Cyberpark. In addition, the state plans to use the recent global slowdown as an opportunity to develop the smaller auxiliary towns around these three cities, besides consolidating the state capital as the premier IT destination. Two big projects are currently underway – Phase II of Technopark of 86 acres that has been earmarked for Infosys and UST Global – the Infosys facility is said to be the most 'aesthetic' structure of Infosys, shaped as a ship under specific guidance from the Infosys senior management. Phase III is modeled around creating customizable office space. Spread over 92 acres of SEZ land, with 1 million square feet of available land for which the Government has confirmed takers.