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Day Three – Indian Mobile Congress 2018

“3-day India Mobile Congress 2018 concludes; showcasing the latest and the best in digital communications technologies, products, services, and applications; and establishing the future horizons for the digital communications sector in the country”: Manoj Sinha

India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2018 – a marquee event which provided a peep into the exciting future in the rapidly evolving area of digital communications – ended today, with participants and organisers promising to be back next year. This year’s event, with its’ theme of “New Digital Horizons – Connect. Create. Innovate.”, established the IMC as a regular platform for global and local stakeholders in the sector to collaborate in the cause of exploring opportunities and leveraging possibilities, with specific focus on South and South-East Asia.

Addressing members of the press and media on the last day of IMC 2018, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Communications, Shri Manoj Sinha said – “Having participated in the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona earlier this year, I can assure you that IMC 2018 was no less – in terms of substance, scale, and style. The IMC is just a two-year old baby, and it has already acquired a personality of its’ own. It will now be an important annual event on everyone’s calendar.”

The mega 3-day event was inaugurated on October 25 by Shri Manoj Sinha, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Communications, in the august presence of Shri Suresh Prabhu, Minister for Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation; Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice, and Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Housing & Urban Affairs. Also gracing the inaugural function were captains of the telecom industry – Shri Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries; Shri Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman, Aditya Birla Group; and Shri Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Enterprises.

The IMC 2018 conference and exhibition was held over a total area of more than 50,000 square-metres, with more than 5,000 delegates in attendance. Delegations from 20 countries participated in the event, which saw more than 300 companies showcasing their latest and best technologies, products, services, and applications. According to the organisers, more than 50,000 curious visitors attended the various sessions and viewed the futuristic solutions on display at the exhibition stalls.

An extremely relevant addition at this edition of the IMC was the presence of high-level ministerial delegations from several BIMSTEC and ASEAN countries. Hon’ble Ministers from the European Commission, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal, and Lao PDR led their respective delegations, and participated in plenary sessions which were focused on the specific needs, challenges, and opportunities applicable to member countries of these regional forums. The presence of the high-level delegations also offered them an opportunity for bilateral meetings with their Indian counterparts, where topics of mutual interest were discussed, and possibilities of strengthening cooperation were explored.

Among the companies whose participation contributed to the success of IMC 2018 were global and local giants such as Samsung, Intel, Ericsson, Nokia, Cisco, NEC, Accenture, KPMG, E&Y, Facebook, Huawei, Sterlite, Vodafone Idea, Reliance Jio, Airtel, and BSNL. Several exhibition stalls set up by these companies attracted crowds of interested visitors, while leaders from the companies enriched the discourse through their participation in the various plenary sessions. The exhibition stalls covered a variety of interesting possibilities, hinged around 5G, Internet of Things, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Smart City Solutions, Fintech, Health-Tech, Autonomous Cars, and Cyber Security, amongst others.

An interesting feature of this edition of the IMC was the focused attention on the critical Start-ups ecosystem. More than 200 start-ups marked their presence at the event, with their booths displaying ideas and innovations which seek to leverage the potential of digital communications to create and meet ever-changing consumer needs – in areas such as artificial intelligence, integrated services, healthcare, pharma, security, safety, food, sports, social networking, travel, education, and disaster management, among others. As Shri Manoj Sinha, while inaugurating the simultaneous release of 250 start-up applications at the IMC 2018 today, said – “The sheer volume and quality of what I see here is amazing. Who knows, we may right now be releasing the WhatsApp and Google Maps of tomorrow!”

The event was also noteworthy for some very remarkable announcements which clearly established the direction of the Indian digital communications industry over the next several years. The Government of India announced the commitment of the industry to rollout One Million WiFi Hotspots in the Country by December 2019. The National Frequency Allocation Plan (NFAP) 2018 was also unveiled at the event. NFAP 2018 frees up a total of 605 MHz spectrum in the 5-GHz band for Wi-Fi services. Several spectrum bands for Short Range Devices and Ultra WideBand Devices have been made license exempt, benefitting the public as well as industry. As Smt. Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary (Telecom) and Chairman, Telecom Commission, Government of India said – “These initiatives provide an excellent launchpad for achieving the goals such as Broadband for All, which are outlined in our recently released National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) 2018.”

In his concluding remarks, the Minister added – “Our Government, under the leadership of the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, remains committed to make the digital communications sector a core part of our national infrastructure. The initiatives and reforms we have announced here will provide a strong boost to employment generation and digital economic activity – especially in the rural and semi-rural areas of the country. We are determined to succeed in our endeavours, in partnership with industry, academia, regulators, and startups.”

Shri Sinha thanked the Department of Telecommunications and the Cellular Operators Association of India for designing and successfully organising a best-in-class event.

The second day of India Mobile Congress saw an overwhelming response and was attended by more than 18000 people.

Sessions. The second day of IMC 2018 started on a high note with the Global CEOs Conclave, which included plenary sessions on subjects such as Networks of Tomorrow, Emerging Technologies, Power of Content, Open Source Technologies etc. Who’s who of the global technology arena came together to deliberate on the future of technology and how it will bring about paradigm shifts in the way we go about our day to day lives.

The conversational sessions were attended by global speakers such as Durga Malladi, Senior Vice President, Engineering, Qualcomm; Sanjay Kaul, President, Asia Pacific and Japan, Service Provider Business, Cisco; Dr. Jay Kim, VP, Samsung Electronics; Mr. Jay Chen, CEO, Huawei India; Dr. Anand Agarwal, Group CEO and Whole-time Director, Sterlite Technologies Limited; Nunzio Mirtillo, Senior Vice President and Head of Market Area, South East Asia, Oceania & India, Ericsson. The session was moderated by Balesh Sharma, CEO, Vodafone India Limited. They talked about how 5G would be the key drivers for new technologies and innovations. 5G is not just about speed but more about adaptability and flexibility. 5G will enable us to connect many new devices and this will be supported by AI. The next generation networks will be very complex for humans to handle and therefore AI and machines will be needed to manage.

Panelists included Pardeep Kohli, President and CEO, Mavenir; Jim Jefferies, President and CEO, IEEE; Phil Twist, VP, Networks Marketing and Communications, Nokia; Nivruti Rai, VP, Data Center Group, Country Head, Intel India; and Jimmy Mizrahi, GM Global Portfolio, ECI Telecom.

“Power of Content” was the session, which focused on how technology is driving exponential data creation and consumption and how content delivery is going to be paramount in the future. The speakers highlighted the growth in user-generated content, even from tier 2 & 3 cities, where the content is both produced and consumed by consumers themselves.

The panelists for the session included Matteo Maga, Managing Director, CMT, Accenture; Hiren Gada, CEO, Shemaroo Entertainment Limited; and Sameer Batra, CEO, Wynk.

IEEE-TSDSI 5G Technology and Standards Workshop. The IEEE-TSDSI 5G workshop brought together technology experts and stakeholders from the Government, Industry, Research and Development Organizations, Academia to discuss emerging trends in 5G technologies, the opportunities and challenges that these pose for a broad spectrum of verticals including tactical and first responder missions, and infrastructure and ecosystem preparedness. The workshop is expected to serve as a catalyst to help define various use cases, drive standards, and investigate deployment issues suitable for 5G networks.

Jim Jefferies, President, IEEE mentioned that, “Given the complexity of 5G technology, a successful implementation of this technology would require deep expertise ranging from semiconductor physics, Massive MIMO, Software Defined Networks, Shared Spectrum Access, Wireless Backhaul, Security and Applications to name a few.”

Jim added that “IEEE through its research and technical depth across its societies and through the IEEE Future Networks along with strong expertise in standards development through IEEE Standards Association will play a key role in driving this next generation technology globally. IEEE is also focusing on the region specific use cases and applications, including specific requirements for success of 5G deployments in India”.

 Attendees learnt about and discussed emerging trends in 5G technologies, and the opportunities and challenges that these pose for a broad spectrum of verticals including tactical and first responder missions, and infrastructure and ecosystem preparedness. Ultimately, this workshop will serve as a catalyst to help define various use cases, drive standards and investigate deployment issues
suitable for 5G networks.

 Innovation sessions. Similarly, there were sessions on pro-innovation regulation and privacy, The Emerging World of Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, E-tail – The need of the Future, HealthTech – Age of Cyborgs, Industry 4.0: Building Factories of the Future, M-Education, Value Creation through Digital Marketing, Future of Enterprise, Aadhaar etc.

Other sessions of Day 2 included discussions around The Emerging World of Analytics: Creating Business Solutions;  HealthTech – Age of Cyborgs, Value Creation through Digital Marketing; Artificial Intelligence: Innovation, Investments, Ethics and Responsibilities; Industry 4:0: Building Factories of the Future, Future of Enterprise – Serving the Millennials, Next Generation Devices. Panelists for these sessions included Sandeep Bhushan, Director and Head Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook; Praveen Chandra, Chairman of Interventional Cardiology, Medanta, Gurgaon; Sumili Chatterjee, VP and Head Brand, BCCL; and  Santanu Bhattacharya, Chief Data Scientist, Bharti Airtel Limited among others. – CT Bureau

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