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Exclusive Interview – Rajiv Gupta

India is currently the world’s second-largest telecommunications market with a subscriber base of 1.20 billion and has registered strong growth in the past decade and a half. The Indian mobile economy is growing rapidly and contributes substantially to India’s gross domestic product (GDP).

With more than 605 million internet subscribers, India ranks as the world’s second-largest market in terms of total internet users. India is also the second-largest market in terms of number of app downloads. The country has remained as the world’s fastest growing market for Google Play downloads. As of January 2019, India has witnessed a 165-percent growth in app downloads in the past two years.

Over the next 5 years, rise in mobile-phone penetration and decline in data costs will add 500 million new internet users in India, creating opportunities for new businesses using IOT and AI.

Advanced technologies bring in new business opportunities, more jobs, and better chances for nations to succeed. And that is the primary crux on which a nation is built and developed.

The rise of new digital industrial technology, known as Industry 4.0, is a transformation that makes it possible to gather and analyze data across machines, enabling faster, more flexible, and more efficient processes to produce higher-quality goods at reduced costs. This manufacturing revolution will increase productivity, shift economics, foster industrial growth, and modify the profile of the workforce – ultimately changing the competitiveness of companies and regions. Nine technology trends that form the building blocks of Industry 4.0 include Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), cybersecurity, cloud, additive manufacturing, augmented reality, big data and analytics, autonomous robots, simulation, and horizontal and vertical system integration.

New technologies have the potential to create 10–15 million jobs even as the IT services sector is struggling to create new jobs in the economy. A bulk of these jobs is being created not by large companies but by startups. The IoT space is booming in India with about 65 percent of Indian startups working on it.

According to IoT India Congress 2018, Indian IoT market is expected to grow from USD 3 billion to USD 9 billion by 2020 across sectors such as telecom, health, vehicles, homes, entire cities, manufacturing floors, and computers.

There is a huge opportunity for artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT to transform the methodologies in agricultural sector. Indian agriculture is losing its generation of farmers, plagued by the lower production, high cost of cultivation, and infertile soil. The Economic Survey 2018 predicted the downfall of agricultural workers to 25.7 percent by 2050. To boost the agriculture sector back to its glory, India needs to create a blueprint on integrated technology for agriculture.

Another significant area for applications of emerging technologies is healthcare. The proliferation of healthcare-specific IoT products opens up immense opportunities. And with the huge amount of data generated by these connected devices, IoT is undoubtedly transforming the healthcare industry by redefining the space of devices and people interaction in delivering healthcare solutions. IoT has applications in healthcare that benefit patients, families, physicians, hospitals, and insurance companies.

However, a lot needs to be done in terms of infrastructure. The amount of fiber in India is one-fifteenth that of the United States and one-tenth that of China, and while 80 percent of towers in China are fiber-connected, the same is only 20 percent in India. Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd. (TCIL), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ministry of Communications, Government of India, is also undertaking projects across India to provide backbone optical fiber network in collaboration with various state government bodies. TCIL is also cognizant of the benefits of investing in advanced IoT technology, which too would require significant upgrades to the existing infrastructure.

Advanced Technologies represent a paradigm that can overcome the deficits that India has been facing in terms of agriculture, healthcare, transportation, garbage disposal, and more. April 28 2018 was a historic day in the development journey of India when the last village, Leisang in Manipur, was electrified with smart loT technology. The Indian government can realize the dreams outlined in the Make in India and Digital India missions through sophisticated advanced loT and other emerging new technologies. The pace of India’s digital revolution is proof enough that India will continue to play an indispensable role in the emergence of new technologies for the benefit of humankind.

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