View from India: Usher in a cashless world of opportunities

The catchword today is cashless. As the Government of India announced its move towards demonetisation in 2016, its impact is being felt across verticals and various segments of the economic pyramid. India’s march towards a cashless economy will open out new opportunities in the digital world in 2017.

Industries across verticals will innovate and tweak processes to integrate newer digital transactions. Banks and financial service providers have begun to lay the ground for what will be a complete digital transaction ecosystem.

Demonetisation has shifted the focus from cash transactions to electronics processes. Payments will happen through plastic cards like the debit and credit cards and e-wallets much more than before. People will increasingly use online apps, wherein the mode of payment happens though the mobile and debit/credit cards.

However, there are certain challenges that need to be met. “Infrastructure – the point-of-sale (POS) terminal penetration in India – is still very low in the country. Internet availability is also poor; thus a cashless economy or the growth of digital payment will probably be slow,” says Akhilesh Tuteja, global leader of cyber security services at KPMG. “Consumer behaviour and financial literacy are other aspects that need to be considered. That’s because Indians conventionally prefer to transact through cash. Basic literacy about setting up a bank account on the mobile, linking the account with the mobile, and setting up a PIN needs to be addressed.”

The demands and needs of consumers will push the boundaries of technology. The technology sector in the coming years will see greater advancements around telecom, IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), AI (artificial intelligence), robotics and security.

By 2020, the growing base of mobile and internet users in India will seek exceptional consumer experience and telcos will require efficient operations to fulfil this significant demand. The growth in IIoT devices will require vendors to have better and high bandwidth connectivity. All these factors will require telcos to bring ultra-fast 5G networks for better connectivity. Other advancement will be around Software Defined Network (SDN) and Network Functions Visualisations (NFV) deployments for agile network architecture. The software-defined architecture can help service providers to offer customised services at lower costs.

High-speed broadband networks and investment in digital infrastructure are essential to create a fully fledged digital economy – an economy that encompasses all sections of society. This can happen through private-public partnerships between the government and industry.

Nevertheless certain tech trends are expected to redefine and create newer opportunities in many verticals. Here’s a checklist of some forthcoming outcomes from many technologies.

Smart homes, smart cities and other wireless gadgets will be prevalent in the 2020 technology market. The Internet of Things (IoT) devices are expected to gradually experiment with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to deliver advanced behaviour and collaborate naturally with people, devices and environment.

AI will evolve beyond traditional rule-based algorithms towards learning, adapting and predicting models. AI and other cognitive applications will be integrated in all the existing software and machines to make them more ‘intelligent.’ AI could also be included in physical devices to have more autonomous vehicles, robots and smart electronics.

Amidst all connectivity and intelligent devices, adaptive security architecture is the one that will encompass all technologies interacting with devices, processes and humans. By 2020, the advancement in the technology sector is expected to uncover new vulnerable areas, which will require complex security measures to track, monitor and defend systems. The new adaptive and complex security framework can be a part of all digital technology platforms including IoT and AI to secure the entire ‘smart and intelligent’ ecosystem.

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