How IT Giants Are Re-Shaping Their Focus Towards IoT in India
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As traditional outsourcing and system management starts to wear out in the IT sector, the amalgamation of big data and cloud fueled by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) is set to be the way forward for this multi-trillion dollar sector.
Although the domain remained limited to consumer-tech companies and tech startups ib the initial years, a significant shift is now being seen in the strategy adopted by the bigwigs.
Large Scale Investment and Dedicated Divisions
The first and foremost step to judge a sector’s intent for a new domain is the money they pump into it. The last couple quarters have been great for the sector as IT giants like Infosys, TCS, HCL and more have dedicated large funds for their IoT business.
While the IoT drive at Infosys was spearheaded by ex-CEO Vishal Sikka, TCS has set up an AI “Centre of Excellence” by collaborating with global leader Intel to prosper in this highly competitive market. As for foreign companies investing in the sector in India, Samsung took the lead a couple of years back as it dedicated much of the research happening at its R&D unit in India to IoT. Bosch also announced its plans to invest Rs 1,300 crore to develop IoT in India while Cisco’s venture capital arm, Cisco Investments, is reportedly increasing its investment in IoT startups in the country.
Talking about the need for dedicated IoT divisions and investments Deb Deep Sengupta, President and Managing Director, SAP India Subcontinent says, "Technology is transforming at a far more rapid pace than ever and organizations can no longer afford to wait and watch how the digital technology innovations will change things - they need to take control of doing digital now. Digital companies are achieving higher revenue and profitability, while simultaneously keeping costs low, achieving significant business value."
The shift towards a new domain for an industry requires the right training for the workforce. Unfortunately, right now there are not a lot of people who posses these in the country and a massive shortage in skilled workforce stands in the way of India establishing itself as an IoT superpower.
“The situation has improved than what it was a few years back, but the larger skill gap still remains. As implications of IoT scale up from startups to bigger players, there is a need to address the issue of skill development,” says Nihal Kashinath, founder and CEO of Applied Singularity, a platform for IoT and AI professionals. “I still do think there are people who do posses or are in the process of obtaining these skills, but it’s a matter of finding the right fit in the sector as well,” he added.
Kashinath further stresses on the need to imbibe these skills at an educational level, even though sub-domains under IoT like healthcare, lifestyle, industrial and more may be starkly diverse form one another.
B2B Segment Needs To Be The Focus
While consumer technology may have made terms like IoT and AI more prevalent, the larger implications will be on using these platforms for industrial domains, from healthcare to logistics.
“The focus is going to be the B2B solutions as we have always been active in that domain. Consumer Oriented IoT platforms are fragmented and cluttered with too many players, so we do not see a very high indulgence there,” said Sandip Dutta, IBM Watson IoT Platform & Solutions Leader, South Asia.