View from India: Businesses transformed by digital spread

Every decade witnesses a major shift in technology. This will bring great opportunities across the business world.

Digital Optimisation

Digital processes will be adopted rapidly across many industries. A case in point is pharma, which will evolve as smart pharma. With smart pharma, big data analytics can be leveraged to hone clinical trials. Predictive analytics can be used with big data sourced from the hospital records. It is possible to identify appropriate candidates for clinical trials based on genetic information as well as patient-centric information. The coming-of-age of personalised medical solutions is another pattern to look out for. This is expected to function like the Aadhaar Card (a government-issued card that provides proof of identity). Just as each individual’s Aadhaar Card has a 12-digit number, the medicine too will have a specific number or code for every person. This will enable pharma companies to digitally transform and manufacture medicines according to the requirement.

The smart journey continues. This time the thrust is on smart farming. We do have a few smart farms that use geospatial-based mapping. It monitors weather conditions conducive for the crop and to maximise the yield. The number of smart farms is projected to expand.

Innovative software will continue to drive almost everything. In this decade too, aerospace and defence (A&D) will be among the biggest users of technology to optimise costs and improve efficiency levels. There will be a demand for smaller, compact and technologically superior aircraft. With this, the requirement for surveillance and night vision devices will increase. Hence, the thrust will be on radio frequency (RF) and microwave technology. Artificial neuro networks will be used to balance aircraft engines.

Profit-based models will be created to open up space commercially. Space education centres are expected to gain popularity. They will broadcast space-related information to educate students and society at large. Satellites will be tapped for disaster management.

The unorganised segments of MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) businesses are expected to be regulated using technology. Big data and mobile technology can be leveraged to fulfil this. Virtual inspections will increase in all the levels of the MSME unit. Zoom cameras will gain prevalence, thereby factory ‘zoom-ins,’ will be possible. To that extent, surveillance cameras will become popular.

There will be new incubators and start-ups to meet upcoming requirements. The approach will be multidisciplinary and the focus will be on sustainable solutions.

Transformative Technology

The world we live in is being driven by transformative technology. All businesses are expected to shift to the cloud, sought after for being scalable and resilient. Cloud migration also means better security and an assurance of cost savings. Private, public, hybrid and multi-cloud are among the cloud options to choose from.

The accent will be on transformative networks, which will move to the cloud. Delivering a network experience will be a concern for all organisations. Large-scale machine learning (ML) tools will be integrated into networks to make them intelligent. Networks will be deployed on the cloud to track customer behaviour. There will be a thrust on the unification of network architecture. This will be required to improve business outcomes. Network adoption will also happen in campus. Flexibility will be the crux of this transition, as classrooms will be re-figured to do away with the risk of further infection outbreaks. Collaboration tools are expected to form the basis of the learning-teaching module.

Digital twinning will be optimised across sectors for system replication. This in turn, helps in detecting and predicting the possible reasons for failure. Digital twinning is a more cost-effective way of failure management.

Post Covid, digital smart will be the standard and an absolute necessity. Most companies will have to fast-track and automate to keep pace. Automation strategy is important, as there will be a greater thrust to optimise costs and lower the risk of errors. Automated hiring tools will help sift through thousands of job applications and identify the right candidate for the post. Queries to office intra email will be answered by chatbots. Night-shift representatives will be supported or even replaced by chatbots. Robotic process automation (RPA) will be tapped for scalability. The IT systems and infrastructure will evolve.

The dynamics of data will change. Data will be used to regulate the financial metrics in the organisation. This will determine the course of the workflow. Data will be leveraged for employee-customer interactions. Edge data, which is massive, will be both an opportunity and challenge. Data will henceforth provide intelligence. Data will be gleaned to determine insights.

It is clear that the spotlight is on intelligent data and its protection. This brings us to data centres (DCs), which are expected to increase in number and customise data protection. Innovative data centres are on the rise, and many of them are being designed for sustainability. A couple of DCs have won recognition. One such is CtrlS Datacenters, Asia’s largest rated-4 hyperscale data-centre provider. The Hyderabad-based company has been awarded the Golden Peacock Award for Eco-Innovation, making it the first winner in the data-centre category.

Instituted in 1991 by the Institute of Directors (IOD) India, the Golden Peacock Awards is globally regarded as a benchmark of corporate excellence, involving a transparent five-step evaluation process.

CtrlS has focused on right-sizing of equipment and operations combined with 80 innovations in energy efficiency resulting in industry lowest PUE (power usage effectiveness) of 1.36. Besides energy efficiency, the company has also focused on reducing toxicity and carbon footprint by exercising control on usage of hazardous substances, adoption of eco-friendly chemicals, and optimum consumption of water.

The entries have been judged on parameters such as innovation, environment, health and safety, energy conservation, and impact on climate change. The winners in other categories include Tata Motors (ERC), ITC, JSW Cement, and ITC Life Sciences & Technology Centre.

Tap on AIML for accurate outcomes

Though work from home will continue, some professionals will return to their workplace. The smartphone will be used extensively to track the movements of people. The data generated from this will be used to determine the user’s behaviour. All this will bring additional intelligence to provide a superior work experience and safe work environment.

This decade, remote or telecommuting jobs and flexible workplaces will be integral to the organisation’s growth. Besides building a talent pool, it will also help reduce the real estate footprint as organisations will become small and compact in size. Flexibility will cut across verticals and be a norm for companies of different sizes. The future work model will be characterised by new regulations, and levels of security will scale up.

Electronic delivery of public services includes e-governance and digitisation of land records. All this is being facilitated by a host of technologies like big data and analytics, machine learning (ML) artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things. Many more services are estimated to leverage AIML.

Individuals from semi-urban and rural segments can look for employment in e-commerce companies as well as food delivery services. With competency in English, they can morph into delivery service personnel.

The human-machine interface is at an interesting juncture. Technology gives a value add for safety features as well as mass scale functions. It’s a known fact that functional safety on shop floors is of paramount importance. Robots will increasingly perform many manual tasks on shop floors.

There will be something new to look forward to in the case of the semiconductor chip. The differential is that Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular will all be integrated through one piece of silicon. It means that the system cost of building a chip will be lower than before, Seen from the radio point of view, the value of the silicon will go up and system value will come down in radios. Appropriately, the industrial mass market will prepare for the production of radios.

Crypto currency, fintech, AIML and blockchain technologies will be used for deriving outcomes like accurate results and streamlining processes. These technologies will also help companies move towards a cleaner environment.

In retrospect, when SaaS (software as a service) applications became prevalent in 2011, people thought security concerns would be unmet. But that didn’t happen. Likewise, corporate emails continue to be on Google. Hence in all likelihood, this decade too may pack in quite a few surprises.

Here’s Wishing You a Happy New Year.

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