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Fabulous `Net' gain

Date: 04-08-1997 :: Pg: 26 :: Col: a

Internet has fantastically changed the career and fortunes of otherwise ordinary people, says G. Pramod Kumar.

The first time the three sons of an Advocate, Mr. Balasundaram, saw a computer was in November 1993. The brothers, the eldest in his late Twenties and the youngest still in his teens, had no inclination other than to help their father with his mounting consultancy work.

But it was a world of mindboggling proportions that the 386 computer led them to. Next year, they were receiving huge Internet files through a private E-mail provider, who ultimately paid much more than they gained from them, even when the Net was a fantasy confined to magazine pages. Three years since then, the brothers - Mr. Srinivasan (32), Mr. Kandasamy (26) and Mr. Parameshwar Babu (23) - are digging deep into the Net for their first million.

The Net also brought the family closer. Mr. Srinivasan's wife has a popular recipe page on the Net while Mr. Balasundaram offers legal consultancy through the web. ``The Internet binds us together''.

Operating from a least flashy office-cum-residence at Dasarathapuram, near Saligramam, they are the symbols of an enterprise unleashed by the Net. A cyberfriendly, market savvy intelligence and a sprawling, seamless world makes a winning combination.

The story of Mr. B. Vijayanallendran, Managing Director of the Q- Circle on Poonamallee High Road, is similar. Internet was the last thing on his mind when he thought of expansion of a successful data processing and communication business. A suggestion from his U.S.-returned cousin, Mr. S. Balasubramanian, provided the spark. Now he has a host of Net-related services which attracts people and corporate groups from all over the city.

It is mainly the working conditions and the hidden possibilities of the Net, unique to the country's technical and socio-economic conditions, that stirred the young cybersavvy minds like that of the Saligramam brothers to action. Their products precisely address the ground reality and offer ways to exploit the Net with minimum investment.

The PPPshar (PPP standing for Plans, Proposals and Projects), which has invited business enquiries from all over the world, is a classic example. The software which offers ``simultaneous multiple access using one Internet connection,'' distributes a single dial-up Internet connection to a network of computers. This software optimises usage time and reduces investment. The nervous system of Mr. Vijayanallendran's cyber business is PPPshar. According to Mr. Srinivasan, the software had instant buyers all over the world, most of them hearing about it through their site on the World Wide Web.

Other software packages created by PPP includes PPPftp, a client software to upload and download files. The software comes to the rescue of those who get ejected from the Net while downloading due to faulty communication lines. Usually, once thrown out, the user has to start downloading from the beginning itself. But PPPftp lets the user continue from where he stops. A huge saving on time and money. They also have packages like offline interface which allows Net E-mail users to type offline which again translates into substantial saving on usage time.

Creation and insertion of web pages and consultancy on various applications of the Net have created lucrative jobs for many in the city. For instance, several students at the IIT, Institute of Matscience and Anna University can create web pages for corporate groups and individuals and collate information on various subjects ranging from research to trade.

The services of Q-Circle is a pointer. Many leading corporate groups get regular trade information, collected from the Net, from the company. They also offer individual mail facilities. At minimum cost, the benefits of which is transferred to the customers, the set up offers an entire range of services.

Mr. Srinivasan and his brothers say that the opportunities are immense. The primitive conditions of the communication lines, the inherent hitches and economic and bandwidth constraints could be turned to one's advantage. ``It is a passion that makes good business sense''.

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