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Column: How the 'Fantastic Four' technologies are propelling business growth in India

Column: How the 'Fantastic Four' technologies are propelling business growth in India
Baskar Dhandapani

As digital increasingly gains momentum in the modern day workplace and consumer market, businesses are exploring several combinations of advanced technologies to redefine their processes. The fantastic four of the technology world -- Internet of Things (IoT), fifth generation data networks (5G), cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) – are already disrupting business opportunities worldwide. 

While IoT infuses intelligent sensors into everyday devices to garner real-time user inputs, 5G provides high-speed, more convenient and reliable wireless networks. Under cloud computing, data management services are facilitated through a virtual infrastructure in place of physical devices. Combined with AI, a powerful technology that can capitalize data or even predict future feasibility, these capabilities can create endless possibilities for any business organization.

From the Indian perspective, it is expected that these technologies will be key catalysts for the growth of the digital economy and is projected to reach US$1 trillion by 2025 as stated in a Deloitte report. Indian businesses are rapidly adopting these emerging technologies, finding their applications across industries and sectors – with several projects in development or testing phases.

As per a Nasscom report, India invested nearly $150 million in about 400 AI-based startups that developed rapidly over the period of 2013-2017. The report further estimates that AI will contribute a whopping $957 billion to the Indian economy by 2035. 

Implementing the Fantastic Four technologies

With AI-driven projects receiving generous funding, India stands third in AI implementation, only behind the US and China as per a BCG study.. Besides leading domestic companies investing heavily in the technologies for expanding their operational and customer support capacities, many smaller players and government functionaries are also taking keen interest in exploring the potential of these technologies across verticals like education, healthcare, agriculture, retail, manufacturing, mobility and governance among others. 

Companies are now beginning to prepare for Industry 4.0, as intelligence gets infused into machines, operational equipment, buildings and entire supply chains via smart sensors. Such devices can capture visual inputs to spot production defects, mechanical faults or human errors to help manufacture quality products and improve equipment accuracy. Many retailers are availing AI-driven consumer solutions to provide highly personalized experiences to their customers.

AI is further being infused into databases to make them smarter and enable them self-repair when required. AI-powered databases can deal with the volume, velocity and complexity of data. They can optimize the process of locating relevant information and perform analytics across storage platforms, saving ETL (extract, transform and load) efforts and visualizing outcomes in much less time than the traditional databases. 

Automotive is another sector deploying definitive technologies, continually aiming for more seamless and comfortable mobility. Self-driving cars acting as mini data centres and allowing near real-time data processing within the vehicles are the next big overhaul that experts are expecting. Fueled by intensive data on users, infrastructure and environment, predictive capabilities of these vehicles can help reduce carbon emissions, fuel consumption and road accidents.

This ‘smart mobility’ can be further accentuated via connected surveillance cameras, drones and other monitoring devices to prevent traffic congestion, enable intelligent navigation and increase public safety, laying the foundation for smart cities. Feeding visuals from emergency sites to police or providing details on optimal travel routes, nearby public services or local restaurants and events to citizens, real-time information centers will assist the government in building the cities of tomorrow.

What lies ahead for the Fantastic Four technologies?

With each of the four technologies carrying vast potential to empower a business to stay on top of the game, organizations can obtain immense value by bringing these together. However, there is also no denying the challenges that they will face along the way as these technologies are still in embryonic stages. Apart from questionable availability of required technical infrastructure or regulatory provisions, lack of skilled and knowledgeable professionals is a major concern. 

Also, cyber security, data privacy and reliability on AI recommendations are some issues that will only get resolved over time with maturation of the overall technical ecosystem. As government and industry bodies join hands to determine rules and policies for establishing trust among increasingly connected networks and initiate dedicated programs for promoting learning and training to build the necessary expertise in these fields, more use cases will thrive.

Eventually businesses will largely benefit from the rising applications of the fantastic four, having access to fast, highly accurate and advanced insights, which translates to greater operational efficiency, productivity and service quality. Powered by high-speed, greater capacity and lower latency networks, companies will experience increased reliability and enhanced performance with little to no downtime. 

Moreover, constantly feeding on data on a diverse set of factors pouring in from a variety of sources, deep learning capabilities of machines will evolve to predict outcomes, which will empower leaders to make progressive decisions. All in all, the forward-inclined businesses of the country, will thrust towards an intelligent data-powered future, backed by new-age hardware and software solutions that can sustain and mature, keeping pace with the advancements in these fast-evolving technologies.

Baskar Dhandapani is director, sales, at Intel India. The views expressed in this article are his own.

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