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India’s true digital makeover will hinge on connecting the last mile

We’re on the cusp of history being made. In the new year, we will see the actualisation of the technological advancements the industry has been striving for—an inter-connected economy of experience.

As we stand on the brink of the next digital evolution, a ‘super app’ or an ‘everything app’ is no longer a myth. The Swiss-Knife theory that super apps are convenience-led ecosystems will stand true when each industry witnesses one that meets the requirements of its customers.

This trending phenomenon—a response to generations of smartphone survivors that demand mobile-first experiences and conveniences—will transform the way businesses have operated over the years.

We are walking into this hyper-digital world with a strong sense of community, merging technology and people. It seems that every conversation we have about the future of our businesses centres around automation, artificial intelligence, chatbots et al. However, what has really changed is the thought of being digital-only.

The Advent Of Phygital
The word “phygital” provides the true meaning to the direction businesses are moving in. Take for example, the metaverse. What started as a virtual environment, now aims to take consumer experiences to the next level by providing an immersive playground that acts as a digital bridge between the physical and virtual worlds.

Although still in its infancy, the possibilities for the phygital metaverse are huge. The user’s experience will be elevated to another level with a combination of immersive story-telling and close-listening of the consumer use-cases. Advanced technologies such as AR, VR, and AI power the metaverse and serve as the basis for next-gen immersive, yet interconnected experiences.

The Importance Of Language
Another significant step towards connecting a billion people is through Indian languages, which can act as a major catalyst in achieving the vision of being an all-in-one platform.

The tier-1 markets have been the crème-de la-crème in the past. We have judged the success of a platform based on the results of these few markets which are inhabited by the high spenders.

But, the true sense of achievement will be connecting the last mile, the less explored markets, which hold the potential to connect India completely.

Travel super apps such as Adani One have moved in this direction and the government’s initiative of a DigiYatra will give the push required to connect this last mile. This too is a sign of an inter-connected ecosystem that brings the best of both worlds

The Potential Of Digital First
We are looking beyond our boundaries to curate and innovate an ecosystem that is holistic and integrated, helping establish deeper consumer relationships. These platforms need to meet the ever-rising expectations of a consumer in this competitive landscape.

Every business independent of its scale, needs to think digital first. The lines between B2B and B2C are diminishing fast. There is no differentiation as a consumer needs an experience that supersedes any other.

If these lines continue to vanish, every business in India will be a digital one starting 2023 itself. If we take a look back at the year that has passed, TravelTech, FinTech, HealthTech, EdTech, FoodTech, AgriTech, OTT and Ecommerce have all emerged across even the remotest of the cities. If this continues, we may see close to 100 new unicorns in just a few years and Tier-2 and 3 cities might overtake the premium markets.

Some emerging sectors such as renewable, electric mobility, e-commerce, healthcare, and financial technologies are all going digital. It will not only be a driver of jobs in the country but will also facilitate a smartphone-enabled ecosystem, which provides new and currently under-utilized conveniences.

India holds the potential to be a leader in digital evolution. The country’s initiatives such as UPI, Adhaar, ONDC, DigitalRupee, Aarogya Setu, DigiLocker, DigiYatra etc speak volumes about the approach it has been taking. UPI transactions account for a staggering 68% of the 260 Mn+ digital payments daily processed in India. It is remarkable to see the change through digitization. And this is just as we begin the true digital journey.

To conclude, 2023 will be less about businesses and profit making and more about the overall upliftment of these inter-connected experiences, which will set the base for the next digital evolution. It will be the renewal of digital and physical ecosystems alike.

The idea is to be present in the user’s journey as it unfolds from beginning to end and empower them through a seamless experience on a platform. This way, we can ensure our presence for the consumer’s needs at online and offline touchpoints.

The digital entrepreneurial mindset that we Indians have developed is dopamine for the country’s massive growth in digital. In its true sense, we can say that the India we see will transform into the Bharat we want, if the integrated platforms connect the last mile or every possible person in the country. Bloomberg

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