National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) is a non-profit association of IT and BPO companies in India. The 8th edition of the 'tech series' of NASSCOM conducted at the Altimetrik office on 31st July was focused on IoT and its ecosystem in India, with participation from the industry, start-ups and academia.
NASSCOM is setting up the first among 5 Centers of Excellence (CoE) for IoT in Bangalore in a public-private partnership (PPP) model with 50% funding from the government, as part of "Digital India" initiative. PPP models have partial funding from the government and the rest from private companies.
The goals of the CoE are the following: i) to develop applications for in-country and export IoT requirements, ii) adoption of global standards given the multiple bodies developing IoT related technologies, iii) to create capacity and capability for IoT in terms of skill sets and the overall ecosystem.
In his key note address, Madhavan Satagopan, CTO Altimetrik spoke about how IoT should evolve from just being cool technology to alleviating real needs and challenges of the citizens. India should take a lead in IoT and not just follow the trends. Industry leaders such as Intel, Ericsson, Tyco and other participating organizations spoke about enablers and detractors for an IoT ecosystem. Some key points that were discussed:
- Implementation of IoT in a siloed approach where the data flow or integration with the rest of the enterprise is not implemented well. There are network infrastructure constraints such as limited or unreliable band width for connectivity. There is lack of a structured approach sometimes without waiting for industry standards to evolve.
- Long sales cycle for the vendor with challenges in defining the ROI jointly with the end user organization
- Multiple components to be put together. No one company can do it end-to-end. Each to define its own value add ensuring that the sum of the parts is more than the individual value add
- Government sponsored initiatives such as 'Make in India' and 'Digital India' backed by the funding opportunities available, developer base and penetration of mobile phones
- Awareness on adoption of emerging technologies such as cloud and analytics. There are billions of sensors out in the field. Connecting them to a central data storage with a mechanism to mine meaningful insights can give an exponential jump to utility of the data they generate today
- Local system integrators with global exposure and sound IT development practices in other traditional areas of technology, some of which can be leveraged for IoT
Startups felt that exposure to other global ecosystems would improve their operations. Academicians felt that even basic interaction with industry can help students to bridge the gap between what they learn in class and industry needs. Large enterprises can collaborate with both these bodies in the ecosystem for mutually beneficial results.
The technology pieces for IoT are definitely available today. Companies need to identify impactful and meaningful use cases that will be game changers in their business. The use cases should have business models that are acceptable by the market, with appropriate partners identified for the different pieces of IoT. Starting with pilots is an usual approach for IoT projects while planning for the levels to which the full implementation should scale upto in the near future. Waiting for the ideal situation can lead to missed opportunities. Companies that overcome constraints such as reliable infrastructure in the ecosystem can stand to gain from early adoption of this technology. It can give a competitive advantage in terms of new revenue streams and feedback about their products from the field.