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Moneycontrol Pro Panorama | A small step for mobile chargers, but a big gain for interoperability

In today’s edition of Moneycontrol Pro Panorama: Employment in India grew during pandemic, startups battle against large incumbents, a habit that can improve your trading returns, and more

November 17, 2022 / 02:01 PM IST
(Representative image)

(Representative image)

Dear Reader, 

The Panorama newsletter is sent to Moneycontrol Pro subscribers on market days. It offers easy access to stories published on Moneycontrol Pro and gives a little extra by setting out a context or an event or trend that investors should keep track of. 

Industrial progress, till not long ago, meant mainly innovating to bring new products that gave customers something new. Think of automatic versus manual gear shift in cars, for instance. While new product innovation thrives and will continue to do so, there’s also focus on innovation that eliminates the wasteful or simplifies life for consumers.

Take something as simple as the act of charging an electronic device, something we do every day and often for multiple devices. Laptops come with different charging cables, with varying types even within the same company. Android and Apple cables don’t work on each other’s devices. Android phones themselves evolved from pins to the sometimes infuriating works-only-god-knows-which-side up B-type charger now to the easy-to-understand c-type cable. Even then, the c-type charger still does not work as well across brands.

Apple users, of course, may be smiling as Steve Jobs made it impossible to get it wrong. But forget their charger home on a train journey or while at work, and you can spot them desperately trying to find the Apple user—only around five in hundred mobile phones sold in 2022 was an Apple--asking if someone has a compatible charger.

Charging devices is about to enter a new era in a development that seems small but really is not. News reports indicate that India is headed for a uniform charging system for laptops, mobiles and even tablets, using the C-type pins. India is following the European Union in promoting this shift, and industry organisations appear to have agreed to the government’s request. Uniform charging for wearables is also on the cards, but that’s been assigned to a sub-group according to the news report. Will Apple fall in line, however? Apple has agreed to do so in the EU to comply with the revised directive, so there’s no reason for it to not comply in India. A key question that remains is if India will codify this requirement or rely on verbal persuasion to get industry to adopt.

It’s a move that makes life easy for consumers, by allowing inter-operability within multiple devices, and lowering the need for multiple chargers thereby lowering e-waste and demand for raw materials such as plastics and metals. Embarrassing images of a drawer or a bag in every household with a mess of old chargers and cables of varying vintage may become a thing of the past, eventually.

Interoperability is something that is appearing in different fields and deserves to be promoted by governments and regulators. In some ways, it’s an intermediation of sorts but one that simplifies life. If cars can fuel up at any pump should not electric vehicles be chargeable anywhere? But still, companies promote their own charging mechanisms, for instance using fast charging as an incentive. But charging infrastructure will be more efficient if it’s interoperable. Think ONDC for e-commerce, where a common protocol is used to give customers more choice? DTH was supposed to be interoperable on paper but in reality that has not been the case. Portability of insurance policies has been a boon for general insurance customers, as they can shift out to companies offering policies with more favourable terms.

A walled eco-system suits companies but for consumers it’s a pain. Moving to C-type chargers may seem like a small step in the overall scheme of things, but it’s a move that can make life simpler for companies and consumers in the longer run.

Investing insights from our research team

FMCG: Recovery in gross margins under way and investment in brands to continue

IPCA Labs: This tonic can keep investors in good shape

IRCTC Q2 FY23: Why this train ride may get boring for investors

Amber Enterprises: Muted demand weighs on Q2 numbers

Uflex: New opportunities unfolding with upcoming and new facilities

What else are we reading?

This one simple habit can improve your trading returns

Unlike the rest of the world, unemployment fell in India during the pandemic

Will robust equity markets fire up appetite for IPOs again?

How startups can battle against large incumbents

Global geopolitical outcomes are now dictated by Asia, not the G7

Bitcoin: An unregulated market is a good place for price support wheezes (republished from the FT)

TN political parties must not go soft on terror

Technical Picks: Bharat DynamicsUSD-INRNifty, HDFCCastor seed and Mawana Sugars (These are published every trading day before markets open and can be read on the app).

Ravi Ananthanarayanan​Moneycontrol Pro
Ravi Ananthanarayanan