India and the connected world 2025
Voice and Data|November 2020
5G is expected to unleash unprecedented socio-economic transformation in the next five years. A crystal ball gazing by industry experts at V&D Webinar
AANCHAL GHATAK

As part of its three-series TLF Dialogue, to celebrate 25 years of mobile telephony in India, Voice&Data recently hosted a webinar on India and connected world 2025. The webinar focused on the long-term future goals as well as how the telecom sector, particularly the emerging new 5G technology, will drive social and economic transformation and help India become Aatmanirbhar.

The participants included Reliance Jio President and Group CTO Shyam Mardikar, COAI Director General Lt. Gen. Dr. SP Kochhar, RailTel Enterprise Business Executive Director Manohar Raja, Ciena Field Systems Engineering Senior Director Gautam Billa, and STL Chief Marketing Officer Manish Sinha, The session was moderated by CyberMedia Group Chairman Pradeep Gupta.

The three big changes

Delivering the keynote address Mardikar said that the one thing that we have learnt in the past six months is the relevance of the physical space. There is the relevance of physical space for work purposes. Now, that is reducing. Globally, there is no relevance of the physical space. So, at least 70% of the employees are not at work. They are remote working. People and things are always connected. We are very close to achieving that, for connectivity.

What happens after that? Beyond connectivity, there are three things coming together. There is hyper compute, hyper storage, and hyper connectivity. If you bring all these together, this whole concept of programmability and distributed computing are garnering big traction. Almost every work will now be stitched to an end-to-end digital fabric. The digital fabric will be stitched across Japan, Australia, Canada, etc., across geographies. It will be one single fabric. Regionalization of work and workforce will be part of one big digital fabric.

The other thing that will be built on this is networked intelligence. Nearly 60-70% of the work that we are doing, almost all this will start getting calculated by a mega compute and storage device, which will be distributed across. There will be whole, amalgamated wisdom. The collected and abstracted wisdom will get analyzed. Suddenly, there is a machine that will give us insights within seconds, which would have otherwise taken six hours with a team.

He also highlighted the emergence of three “Is” – intelligence will become artificial and big. The second is innovation; we will now have significantly larger amount of time for innovation. You are looking at the ecosystem, green initiatives, sustainability, devices that are getting on the digital divide, etc. Decision makers will now have the time to take initiatives and analyze all that. So, initiative is the third “I”..

Next, there will also be the platform way of working, thanks to the network intelligence. Your day job will become clearly defined, granular and sharper. The action could be digital, physical, etc. The focus and sense of priority will get very distributed. This will grow bottoms up.

Gupta said that over the last 15 years, this platform approach has transformed India. We had the Aadhar, GST, UPI, etc., that transformed the way we interact with the government. What are the three big changes that you see coming in the next 10 years.

Raja added that from a Digital India perspective the government has a wide and broad charter of how things will be going forward. With this confluence of technologies, 5G will disrupt many verticals. The network and the computing are growing. The Aatmanirbhar approach will be very significant. The government is stepping in and saying: how can we support Indian technology? For eg., for Indian Railways, if you really want to transform that, almost 70% of the revenues goes into salaries. There are geographically-distributed assets that have to be managed. This is the case with railways all over the world.

“With the confluence of technologies, almost everything will change and become smarter. The controlled management and the efficiency that these things can bring about can completely transform the way work is done. I can see the potential in railways. There are other fields, as well, such as mining, oil and gas. Digital transformation will be on steroids.”

In the last 30 years, the way we had interacted with technology is changing. In the next 10 years, the interface will be more between humans and technologies. The technology will become more pervasive. Because of the compute power and the speed of the network at the edge, we are going to see huge innovations. Each will enhance the other. That interface with technology will see dramatic transformation.

Billa noted that when we talk about the services sector, that is a broad range. Narrowing it down, in the next 10 years, the retail industry in India will transform. It is already USD 1,300 trillion now. If we look at how much of this is retail and how much is online, it is about a 90:10 split. Technologies, such as the cloud, connect, and storage is coming together. Convergence of these things will drive retail in a way we have never seen before. The online and e-commerce market split is going to change drastically. This will get driven by the rising middle class in India. At the backend, there will be deep tech, AI, cloud, etc.

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