Manoj Tandon
General Manager – OSS/BSS
RailTel Corporation of India Ltd

Technology Trends

Creative imagination is what propels us forward, expands our worlds, and brings new ideas and inventions. With the scorching speed of digitization, most of the technologies are entering into an exponential curve and convergence of technologies is going to cause industry disruptions. The advances in computing are making many other advances possible like processing of information from sensors, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) in real time to realize amazing applications like driverless cars.

We have had flying toys for a very long time; however, when we added real time computing to them along with AI, they could keep track of all the data and objects around them; these drones are now ready for shipping goods! So delivery through drones may disrupt the entire logistics industry.

Electric cars are becoming cheaper because of advances in battery technologies and self-driving technologies driven by advances in AI. Imagine self-driving electric cars that are extremely cost-effective for running and are environment friendly. God knows what will happen to gods of today’s automobile sector! We will soon have flying cars.

Soon we will have virtual reality (VR) and augmentation reality that is going to disrupt the entire education industry, especially science, engineering, and medical streams.

With VR-based conferencing we will be able to have meetings giving the feeling like we are almost there at exotic places. Internet-based communication shrank the distance drastically but complementing it with VR will ensure the death of distance completely.

Internet of Things (IoT)

In the emerging digital era of a hyper-connected world, everything will be driven through software except human beings and the number of Internet connected devices will be over 50 billion by 2020. IoT is going to revolutionize communication, automation, and orchestration to enhance productivity logarithmically. It will have a great impact on the economy by transforming many enterprises into digital businesses and facilitating new business models, improving efficiency, and providing new forms of revenue. Increasingly, connected devices and machines will throw measurement data for cognitive analysis and automated response for favorable outcomes. CSPs are going to play a major role through IoT for connecting things over Internet/Cloud.

Virtual Reality and Death of Distance

Moving forward a couple of years, VR is going to become very powerful. We will soon have digital tutors who can show various VR-based videos and 3D holographic worlds to the students. Imagine wearing eyeglasses that turn dark and take you into holographic worlds and get enabled technologically for meeting people wherever you want to and allow conversing with them as if you were there. This may affect the aviation and hotel industry, severely.

Artificial Intelligence: AI Will Make the IoT Smarter and Intuitive

As more and more devices become connected and capable of speaking to each other, AI – deep learning, natural language processing, image recognition, and neural-network driven decision-making – will help them to understand each other, and us. AI is helping to bridge the gap – now we are seeing automakers and hotels and other companies trying to create more integrated experiences and using AI to better understand and interact with people.

Industry 4.0

The fourth industrial revolution will be driven by intelligent production enabled with IoT, AI, and cloud computing (powered by super computing power of edge devices). The integration of cyber–physical technologies and systems has introduced the concept of Smart Factory having Machine to Machine Communication (M2M). The rise of industry 4.0 is a transformation that makes it possible to gather and analyze data across machines, enabling agile and efficient processing leading to a Smart Factory. This revolution would enhance productivity and efficiency, enhance skills of workforce, and reduce costs leading to growth. Smart Factory is also referred as Smart Manufacturing wherein intelligence gets integrated with information. Smart manufacturing has real time machine performance monitoring leading to reduction in cost and increase in productivity and efficiency. This leads to synchronizing connected people and systems at a large scale for achieving a common business objective.

Cyber Security

In a hyperdata centric world, data centre is no longer a consolidated facility for housing high power computing and storage machines; enterprises would be forced to switch to the hybrid cloud DC model to ensure agility and cost-effectiveness; hence perimeter security alone will not be adequate enough. Cybercriminals are now carrying out significantly more sophisticated and low pointed attacks. The cyber security solutions need to be ahead of the curve and evolve beyond traditional rules and signature based limited point solutions, to quickly evolve for leveraging machine learning for behavioral pattern analysis, cognitive algorithms for anomaly detection and intuitive AI-based incident responses to security threats; extremely important in the emerging digital era of a hyper connected world where digital properties are no longer attached to physical Data Centre assets only.

Augmented Reality

VR creates a completely virtual world that users interact with using devices that isolate the user from the real world. Augmented reality (AR) improves, enhances, or expands real life visual images by inserting virtual objects into the user’s real world environment. Any smart-phone or tablet can be an AR platform to create a virtual shopping environment for customers. AR is gaining momentum in medical education where students will learn via a 3D holographic anatomy program that allows a HoloLens wearer to not only see virtual cadavers but also allow a deeper dive into the human body. This ability saves dozens of hours in the traditional cadaveric lab. Using AR to train employees or students at any level of education provides an immersive, multi-sensory experience that is more effective than traditional methods, such as lectures, flash cards, or textbooks.

Chatbots: Transformation of Call Centers

Also known as virtual agents, instant messaging bots and artificial conversational entities, chatbots are computer programs that can respond to text or verbal commands and questions, providing advice in place of a human staff member. Chatbots are opening up a new era of business–customer interaction. Today they are used mainly for messaging response for FAQs; however, over the next few years chatbots will become a ubiquitous component of the customer service experience. Call centers will go through a major transformation as customer interactions will replace digital interactions. Chatbots will enhance chat conversations by helping humans with micro-tasks and automatic replies, though it is unlikely that bots will replace humans entirely.

Disruptions: Rewards Must Overweigh Risks

The world has never been so chaotic and disruptive. Organizations that are adopting and adapting digital transformation will be able to seize new opportunities, while organizations that lag may not be able to sail through. Smart organizations are applying technology to open new digital channels with customers, build new business models, digitize their processes/measurements/systems, and encourage their employees to embrace digitization that brings connectivity, transparency, and visibility into every aspect of their organization.

Industry disruptions – despite what the optimists say, we may not have enough jobs for human beings. Yes there will be new jobs created, but they will not be enough due to high degree of automation and longer life of human beings.

What happens when the work would start disappearing? People do not just want money, people want a purpose in life; they want to contribute to the society. Today the race is for making driverless cars but tomorrow the bigger question will be about what drivers will do when driverless cars become common in all households? The technology has the potential to benefit everyone equally. Can we make sure that everyone gets reasonably good livelihood, clean energy, and good healthcare from it? The policy makers and governments need to make sure that everyone benefits from the technology so that we do not have people being left out and that the rewards outweigh the risks.

Data pricing will continue to be sliding; however, additional revenue would be generated through services. Telcos need to ensure that they stay relevant and are at the heart of digital service delivery, the digital economy, and the Fourth Industrial revolution. It is speculated that soon AI will do much more than mimicking human brains. The convergence of machine learning, AI, and robotics has huge potential to disrupt most of the industries… ready….Disrupt or get ready to be Disrupted!

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