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By VARINDIA    2018-02-05

Technological Innovations to Rock 2018

The year 2017 has been a remarkable year in terms of technology implementations and also few of the biggest cyber breach has taken place. It has seen emergence of innovative technologies like IoT, Cryptocurrency, AI, Virtual Reality etc but the biggest reform that has taken place is the implementation of GST, which has eased the daily operations of business.   

Worldwide IT spending is projected to be USD 3.7 trillion in 2018, an increase of 4.5 percent from 2017, as per Gartner. Global IT spending growth began to turn around in 2017, with continued growth expected over the next few years. Businesses will continue to invest in IT as they anticipate revenue growth, but their spending patterns will shift. Projects in digital business, blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to be main drivers of growth.

“2017 in definitive terms will be remembered as the year that saw the emergence and establishment of many milestones. The implementation of the Good and Services Tax (GST), introduction of the rural electrification scheme ‘Saubhagya’ and the increase in BCD taxes on consumer electronic items will further contribute towards enhancing local manufacturing, and improving the efficiency of business ecosystem in the country.  Favourable monsoons, taxation reform, hike in central employee allowance and a steady repo rate were some of the factors which pushed the consumer durable growth this year to 10%,” rewinds Manish Sharma, President and CEO, Panasonic. 

The spirits of 2017 will be continued in 2018 as more latest technologies are expected to emerge and rule the IT landscape. Let’s take a sneak peek into it.  


India is growing through digital transformation where every size of business is adopting digitalization in everyday work which makes their life easy but the core aspect of it is data. With digitalization, everyday data is being generated enormously and every company’s prime focus remains on data management. Understanding the requirement, NetApp has elaborated its Data Fabric solutions and services portfolio in India. Together with HCI and Data Fabric architecture NetApp is looking forward to simplify management of applications and data across clouds and on-premises environments.     

“Today, digital transformation is the key to success for enterprises, SMBs and start-ups. At the centre of this transformation is data making data management the prime focus for a company’s IT strategy. Recognising the need to properly manage unprecedented data that’s being generated today, NetApp recently expanded its Data Fabric solutions and services portfolio in India. We also introduced new consumption purchase models, improved all-flash capabilities and hybrid cloud offerings that simplify moving data to and from the public cloud. With HCI and our extended Data Fabric architecture, we wanted to simplify management of applications and data across clouds and on-premises environments,” says Anil Valluri, President, NetApp India and SAARC. 

Cloud will remain in trend in 2018 and adoption of public cloud will boost the need of hybrid cloud. With the increasing IT spend organizations will move to public cloud due to scalability, flexibility and convenience while on the other hand control on some sensitive data is also require which leads to the mix of two with hybrid cloud.     

“In 2018, public cloud adoption will drive the need for hybrid cloud. As leaders increase their IT spend, there will be a growing need to explore public cloud as an option. Organizations will want the scalability, flexibility and convenience of public cloud while they need (especially for government) to maintain control of some of the sensitive data and watch out for long-term TCO. The ideal approach to achieve this balance is to mix the two with hybrid. The idea of running all applications on cloud will be replaced with a more selective approach and having the hybrid cloud will help them to do just that. This trend has already gained momentum in the global market and has been well recognized by the analyst community. There will be a HCI first approach for any new purchases made by enterprises in the coming year, which will result in an increased adoption of HCI which fundamentally enables customers to do hybrid cloud,” explains Sunil Mahale, VP & MD, Nutanix India Business. 

On similar line, Lucy Kurian, Office Technology Principals, ThoughtWorks opines, “In the recent years cloud has become the preferred choice for infrastructure for both traditional and digital native organisations. We will continue to see increased adoption of cloud native technologies and techniques like, containerisation with docker, windows containers and similar, alongside public/ private/hybrid cloud with Amazon, Web Services (AWS), Azure and Google Cloud. Which also means, leveraging microservices, container orchestrators like Kubernetes will shoot up across all traditional and digital native organisations.


The growing need for AI and data driven applications will drive a much larger number of traditional organisations, than ever before to embrace digital and the cloud native approach as a way forward.” 


Customers are always in favour of building a private cloud on hyper-converged infrastructures and this trend will witness a major traction in 2018. It is expected that many IT companies will deliver enterprise cloud platforms. 


The ongoing shift from on-premise data centres to cloud model has opened up significant opportunities for service providers in India.

"By thorough understanding on the potential of India market, Sify has invested heavily into data centres, cloud and network infrastructure which brings 95% of our revenue generated from India.  Our services model based on “less hardware, less people and less licences” have struck the right chord with Indian customers," says Kamal Nath, CEO, Sify Technologies.


“Customers favor building a private cloud on hyper-converged infrastructures. This trend will see traction in 2018 and we are expecting many IT giants to now focus on delivering an enterprise cloud platform,” says Anshuman Rai, Director Sales, Converged Platform & Solutions Division, Dell EMC.


Every technology is now becoming software controlled. Software defined would be the next big technology in 2018. Likewise in Cloud, platforms like Software as a Service (SaaS) will be highly deployed across countries. Also, Software-defined WAN technology will come into forefront in 2018.     


“From DevOps, the focus will now shift to DevSecOps. SaaS solutions are expected to become the most highly deployed cloud service across the globe. Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) technology will move from being an emerging technology in 2017 to become mainstream in 2018. Netmagic aims to become the pioneer in SD-WAN technology in India and provide next-generation network solutions to Indian enterprises which can address the mass market; and thereby create a significant and profitable business. Indian IT sector employment prospects, both in the near and long-term are expected to be broadly positive and encouraging for the future,” predicts Prasenjit Roy, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Netmagic (An NTT Communications Company). 


As per Makarand Joshi, Area Vice President & Country Head, India Subcontinent, Citrix, “Cloud and cloud enabled SaaS apps are here to stay. Cloud opens a completely new facet for technology adoption and operational efficiency. Capabilities around analytics, AI, robotics that have been integrated into cloud based offerings are proving hard to emulate using traditional on-premise deployments due to cost, complexity, and skill considerations. Businesses, therefore, will have to evaluate the capabilities of the cloud offerings alongside on-premise offerings and accordingly implement an environment spread across cloud platforms that best meets their capability and productivity goals.” 

Another technology that is coming up in Cloud is Edge computing. Enterprises will adopt edge design in the infrastructure architecture to make the most of Cloud.   

“Edge computing improves the overall efficiency of the cloud by keeping technology resources like compute, storage, and networking, closer to users. We will see more enterprises use edge design patterns in their infrastructure architectures to better leverage the benefits of the cloud, without sacrificing speed or reliability. Adding the edge computing element will put processing power back in the corporate network for faster results that work, even if the cloud doesn’t,” highlights Bhaskar Agastya, Country Manager- Ixia, India.

Internet of Things (IoT) & Artificial Intelligence (AI)
It is expected that 2018 will witness the growth of IoT. Connected devices will be smarter and data will be used in a more constructive which will help organizations to have deeper insights and financial gain.  


“2018 is likely to be the Year of IoT everywhere. Connected devices will become smarter, more immersive and expectations will increase to convert data to insights and financial value. Also, algorithms and data visualization templates have evolved so that new use cases can take advantage of earlier ones. The exponential adoption of IoT will drive down sensor and acquisition costs, enabling more viable business cases that have previously been too expensive. From 2018, organizations will finally begin to take IoT security seriously, investing in training for their workforces and incorporating security teams from the start of their IoT deployments,” says Takayuki Inaba, Managing Director, NEC Technologies


Reiterating similar words, Robert Le Busque, Regional Managing Director, India, Australia and New Zealand, Verizon opines, “IoT will become part of the fabric of an organization in 2018 – the challenge will be how to integrate device management into overall IT infrastructure in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the organization. This is where AI and robotics will come into their own, offering intelligent automation of managed IoT deployments cheaply and efficiently.”

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become an important technology because of the consumer products. A combination of AI and humans will be of greater benefit to society.     

“AI became mainstream with consumer products like Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri, and Hitachi believes that it is the collaboration of AI and humans that will bring real benefits to society. Through tools like Pentaho Data Integration, our aim is to democratize the data engineering and data science process to make Machine Intelligence – a combination of Machine Learning and AI – more accessible to a wider variety of developers and engineers,” views Russell Skingsley, Chief Technology Officer, Asia Pacific Hitachi Vantara


Another disruptive technology called Augmented Reality will revolutionise the retail and logistics in 2018.  

“Augmented Reality (AR) will be another big time change agent. Retail and logistics will be disruptively revolutionised by AR in this year. 2018 will be the year of the bots going far beyond the present field of airline reservations or to confirm bank account details,” says Asoke K. Laha, President and Chief Executive Officer, InterraIT

Cyber Security & Cryptocurrency
Cyber threats have grown manifold with the growing dependence of internet among people. In 2017 we have witnessed few major cyber attacks across globe where important data has been compromised. The defenders of the cyber world are continuously evolving their defence machanism around new technologies like machine learning, deep learning, and artificial intelligence but the attackers are also not lagging behind. The only winning factor for the defenders will be technology supported by human intelligence.      


“The evolution of ransomware in 2017 should remind us of how aggressively a threat can reinvent itself as attackers dramatically innovate and adjust to the successful efforts of defenders. We must recognize that although technologies such as machine learning, deep learning, and artificial intelligence will be cornerstones of tomorrow’s cyber defenses, our adversaries are working just as furiously to implement and innovate around them. As is so often the case in cybersecurity, human intelligence amplified by technology will be the winning factor in the ‘arms race’ between attackers and defenders,” opines Steve Grobman, Chief Technology Officer for McAfee, LLC.

On a positive note Zakir Hussain - Director, BD soft, Country Partner of Bitdefender says, “As far as IT is concerned, IT is an ever-growing industry where every day is dedicated to upgraded gadgets and new technologies. As a matter of fact, IT products such as digital payment and rest of the daily needs are also digitalized, making transactions and deals at our fingertips. However, recovering from the Ransomware and DeMon, threats which are a challenge for networks across the globe, we are persistently advancing the cyber-security.” 


With evolution of technology cyber attacks will also get modified. Cyber criminals may demand payments rather than ransoms to unlock data. Email will remain the common form of attack for the criminals. Social engineering, targeted campaigns, spear phishing etc will be leveraged by cyber criminals for attacks.   


“Ransomware attacks will continue to impact businesses. Attackers will continue to look for new mechanisms (like botnets) to deliver ransomware. We also expect the evolution of ransomware to “protectionware”. Cybercriminals may evolve from demanding ransoms to unlock data to demanding payments to avoid being targeted. Email will remain the most common delivery vehicle for advanced threats. In addition to delivering malicious payloads, email-borne attacks will continue to become more sophisticated. Attackers will leverage social engineering, targeted campaigns, spear phishing and whaling to steal credentials, exfiltrate data, commit business fraud and more.


As organizations become more dispersed and adopt cloud platforms, they also present an expanded attack surface for cybercriminals to launch multi-vector attacks. Web applications will be increasingly targeted by hackers to steal data and disrupt businesses,” views Sanjay Ramnath, Vice President Global Marketing, Barracuda Networks.


Another area which is smart homes will be compromised for ransom by cyber attackers. They will exploit the security loopholes of the internet connected devices for attacks.  

“In 2018, we’ll begin to see smart homes held for “ransom” and an uptick in personal data being accessed for theft and blackmail purposes. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated in exploiting security vulnerabilities in internet-connected devices. Experts have projected there will be anywhere from 20 to 30 billion of these by 2020, greatly increasing the overall “attack surface” and creating constant security challenges,” says Jason Hart, VP and CTO for Data Protection, Gemalto.


To have a robust cyber security framework organizations primarily have to identify ineffectiveness of security-based, and rules-based, defenses on modern attacks and finally adopt MDR. On the other hand, organizations must also consider technologies like AI to protect itself from cyber attacks.  


“In 2018, Cybersecurity must also evolve. First, organizations must recognize the ineffectiveness of security-based, and rules-based, defenses on modern attacks and finally adopt MDR. Second, organizations must adopt AI as a standard layer within their security posture. Our own AI offers the only way to collect, analyze, and process the massive volume of data produced by AI-driven cyberattacks,” suggests Sunil Gupta, President and Chief Operating officer Paladion Networks.  


India as a country is advancing from detact to respond when it comes to cyber security. Data is of outmost importance and regulators are also forming data security and privacy regulations. AI based security applications will fortify the defense mechanism as it offers deeper insights by analyzing huge amount of data. 

“In India, the market trend is moving from 'detect' to 'respond'. Data privacy is becoming paramount in India, and Indian regulators are also in process of coming out with data security and privacy regulations.


With cloud services being the key platform for companies to scale up and transform their customer experience, cloud security and AI driven security services are going to be the defining trends for 2018. AI based security applications can read and understand security - they analyse every incident, identifies root causes, methods, trends and predict the next pattern even before it happens. Because of the huge volumes of data and information to be dealt with there will be a lot of automation using AI also. Cognitive and AI technology strengthens our defenses across the system by infusing deep insights derived from crunching huge amounts of data, into the defense and response systems. IBM for instance, has trained Watson in security and then integrated the technology in QRadar, our security intelligence platform, with results that found 10 times as many incidents, 60 times faster,” suggests Kartik Shahani, Integrated Security Leader, IBM India/South Asia.


Puneet Gupta, Chief Digital Officer, ITC Infotech is of similar opinion and says, “On the enterprise front Security industry will be get disrupted with new AI driven solutions and players challenging existing security models. Crypto industry will potentially see new roadblocks, especially regulatory but will finally begin to become more real with the likes of Amazons seriously looking at Crypto as payment options.” 


Another trend which is making its way to mainstream is cryptocurrency. Digital currency like Bitcoin, introduced in 2009, runs on a peer-to-peer network called the blockchain. This kind of digital money is gaining momentum as also provoking negetivity like gambling. Presently, 1 Bitcoin is valued at 277.60 Indian Rupee Bitcoin. There are at least 15 bitcoin exchange forums, with the majority being set up over the past two years. Like many other countries, India has not yet legalized this form of digital money. 


“With the use of crypto-currencies increasingly associated with criminal and illicit online activity, we will see international government and law enforcement agencies to take action over the abuse of crypto-currencies, which will in turn adversely affect the value of the currency itself,” opines Bhaskar Bakthavatsalu, Managing Director, Check Point, India & SAARC. 

Personal Computers (PC)
PC industry holds high hopes in the year 2018 in terms of revitalization of PC growth. The industry is banking on technologies like IoT, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence which will act as a catalyst to boost the PC sales. Not only this, as per statistics the consumer PC market is growing quarter on quarter. Moreover, the market share of commercial PC market has also improved due to large education projects introduced by different sates and increased IT spending in BFSI and IT/ITES segment. 

“2018 seems a year full of many interesting developments specially for the PC industry. Many trends are like IoT, Virtual Reality, and Artificial Intelligence will definitely go a long way in improving the PC  user experience. We also see huge progress in gaming PCs with laptops becoming more powerful and more thinner rivaling desktop gaming performance. Virtual/Mixed Reality will enhance the gaming experience and make it truly immersive. On the enterprise business front, year 2018 looks even more postive for PC industry. According to leading research firm, business PC shipments are estimated to return to growth by 2018, driven by faster Windows 10 replacement in many regions. The consumer PC market was 1.51 million units in Q3 2017, which was 9.5 per cent higher compared with the same period last year and a growth of 85.4 per cent Q-o-Q. The commercial PC market registered 1.52 million units in Q3. Large education projects improved the commercial PC market share. Moreover, major deals in the commercial segment, backed by education projects across various States and spending from BFSI and IT/ITeS verticals, will aid the increasing contribution of the commercial segment.” says Chandrahas Panigrahi, CMO and Consumer Business Head, Acer India.


With the rise of popularity and interest in esports, the gaming landscape is gaining momentum in the PC industry. Consumers are now looking for high-performance, sleek and lightweight, thin, yet powerful laptops which will in turn leads to the growth of the ultra-thin and light segment.  


“In terms of trends for 2018, we expect PC gaming industry to gain greater momentum this year. The gaming landscape will evolve further owing to the rise in the popularity and interest in esports amongst gaming enthusiasts and adoption of advanced gaming technologies, like Augmented and Virtual reality. In addition, a growing preference amongst consumers for high-performance, sleek and lightweight, thin, yet powerful laptops, will pave the way to the growth in the ultra-thin and light segment,” describes Alen Joe Jose, Director – Product Marketing, CSB, Dell India.

3D Printing
A new revolution has arrived in the world of printing technology- 3D printing. The printer vendors are believing that it will empower manufacturing and transform industries. India is also considered as an improitant market for this new technology. 

“We believe that digital transformation of manufactuing will be a key enabler of the next Industrial Revolution. 3D Printing will contribute to democratizing manufacturing and transforming industries, including the $6 trillion Asia-Pacific and Japan manufacturing segment. India is a strategic hub for this significant shift and we are excited to bring the cutting-edge Multi Jet Fusion technology to Indian customers across a variety of vertical markets,” views Sumeer Chandra, Managing Director, HP Inc.  


Restating similar words, Ritesh Gandotra, Director, Global Document Outsourcing, Xerox says, “The rise of 3D printing is likely to lead to re-invention of many old products, as well as the introduction of extraordinary new innovations. I believe 3D printing, is on track to move beyond a mere emerging technology into a truly transformative one."

In printer segment the latest trend that is prominent is the adoption of Inkjet printers among the Enterprises and government segment and Canon has a wide range of offering in it. Depending on the printing requirement, the customers choose their printers.      


“The trends that we have seen are the consumers have more choices to make. The biggest trend that we have witnessed is that Inkjet is taking a place in Enterprise and government segment and that is the reason Canon has launched six new models this year. This gives us the range to approach to our consumers. 

Second is consumers are very focused on return on investment (ROI). Based on the volume of printing they decide which range to go for and fortunately we have around 80 model in Laser and Ink printers together,” C Sukumaran, Director, Consumer System Products, Canon.    


The growing number of startups will boost the demand for Multi-functional Printer (MFP) as they will be offering new trending technologies. Konica Minolta is also planning to expand its solution business by introducing DMS and Dispatcher phoenix solutions.   


“The demand for MFPs will also soar as new startups emerge catering to future technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things. Our focus will be to increase market share both in Office MFP in Black & White and Colour segment. We are also planning to take our solution business to new heights by introducing DMS and Dispatcher phoenix solutions to the Indian market. 


We will continue to expand our range of products this year along with participating in national exhibitions and local events focused on the printing industry,” highlights Kuldeep Malhotra,Vice President Konica Minolta Business Solutions.


The digital printing industry is undergoing a transformation with new and evolving technologies and applications which is offering cost-effective and customized solutions. 2018 will observe more similar application as mobile printing, cloud, advanced security features etc. are gaining grounds. Moreover, with groing number of SMBs in India, office printing has widening scope and demand for MFPs will increase. Another factor that will boost the segment is the introduction of GST which cannot be overlooked.    


"Taking a look at the overall printing industry and business, despite the slowdown across the globe, India’s printing industry promises to grow significantly. The digital printing industry especially is seeing significant transformation with new technologies & innovative applications providing cost-effective and customized solutions. Xerox has been at the forefront when it comes digital printing and 2017 further strengthened our hold in this segment with huge acceptance seen for our digital presses across categories. In 2018, with mobile printing, cloud, advanced security features etc. becoming more popular, we will see more such application development gaining importance. Such apps will allow users to control their MFPs remotely and transmit documents to fax, email and cloud hosted services like Google Drive and Dropbox. The launch of ConnectKey-enabled printers and multifunction devices was based on similar lines/trends and we hope to see more traction as on-the-go businesses becomes a trend and there is an accelerated movement towards more integrated work flow solutions.


Also, considering that the SMB market in India is given prime focus and is the backbone of our economy, office printing segment has immense scope. We believe that there will be an increased demand for MFPs as companies look for innovative solutions to simplify business processes. Additionally, we must acknowledge the government’s digital initiatives and other reforms like the GST. It is surely a game changer for our economy which aims to bring us at par with the other developed nations.” Balaji Rajagopalan, Executive Director- Technology, Channels & International Distributor Operations, Xerox. 

Mobile phone has become an indispensable aspect of human life as it is an age of connectivity. To better connect the people with each other mobile companies come up with various features for an enhanced customer experience. Many handset companies came up with all-screen devices in 2017 and replace the Touch ID with Face ID. To further improve the experience, manufacturers may work on developing Fingerprint Sensor under the screen.       


“This year, several mobile companies unveiled their products with a full screen. However, having a real all-screen experience means no home button or fingerprint scanner on the front. Some brands replaced the Touch ID with Face ID while some moved the fingerprint scanner to the rear of the phone. In 2018 we will see many manufacturers working on developing a Fingerprint Sensor under the screen,” says Sachin Batra, National Head of Marketing and Sales, ZTE.


On the other side, it is also true that we have witnessed a renaissance in feature phone industry. It has made its come back among the consumers in a big way. Features like 4G and bundling strategy with telecom service providers have triggered the growth.    

“This year was also the ‘year of the feature phone’, as we saw its resurgence in a big way. In fact, we launched several feature phones like the Navratna Series that included out maiden 4G Feature too. We also adopted the ‘bundling strategy’ by partnering with Vodafone and Airtel, both of which worked really well for us. In 2017 has been a defining year as we launched 29 models. Our Mobile Accessories division also saw some tremendous growth as we sold as many as 300K power banks in last three months alone,” highlights Nidhi Markanday, Director, Intex Technologies


Talking about the telecom service providers, in 2017 telecom industry was undergoing a consolidation. We have seen mergers and acquisition in the past year. In last few months, operators are facing huge financial burden but the industry has seen growth in mobile data consumption and it is expected that 2018 will be a year of innovation.     


“2017 was a transformational year for the Indian telecoms sector. The much awaited consolidation set-in, altering the sector landscape significantly. It was primarily triggered due to the deteriorating financial health of the sector, rather than being voluntary. Over the past 12 months, operators have been facing huge financial burden. Unless the growth comes back to the sector, long term viability is at stake. At the same time, mobile data consumption in India has increased manifold, propelling India to the top of the data consumption league worldwide. The latent demand for data has fuelled the digital economy. 2018 is touted to be the year of rapid innovation for operators, riding the digital wave. Operators have the chance to transform from a pure telecom to a larger ecosystem player through strategic adjacent market partnerships. Adoption of newer technologies, reinventing operating models and a larger participation in the sharing economy is set to pave the way for India to dominate in the ‘4th Industrial Revolution’ and bring the much awaited ‘Digital Kranti’,” explains Prashant Singhal, Global Telecommunications and TMT Emerging Markets Leader, EY. 


5G is another upcoming technology which will make its way in a much faster pace than expected. A lot of investment has already been done into 5G.  
“5G will come faster than predicted and it will cause big disruptions as it becomes the beginning of a new era for connectivity. Even in its early stages, there has been heavy and widespread investment into 5G, with many providers and organizations already committing resources to test the new equipment, technology, and uses for 5G. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by Ixia, it was revealed that 96 percent of large technology companies plan to leverage 5G and 83 percent will have 5G solutions deployed within the next 24 months. The transition from 4G to 5G will present numerous business opportunities across multiple verticals. It will ultimately make connectivity much easier and will usher in a new wave of technology and growth for many organizations that otherwise would not be possible,” thinks Bhaskar Agastya, Country Manager- Ixia, India

To Conclude…
As technological innovations are taking place with time, the demands of the consumers are also undergoing change. These days, customers desire for transformation and innovative solutions powered by latest technologies. But on the other hand skilled employees are on a deficit in new technologies to meet customer requirement.  


“The customer requirements are going through dramatic changes. The customers are demanding digital, transformative, and innovative solutions with application of new technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, IoT, 3D Printing, Drones, AR/VR/MR etc. The adoption of new technologies is growing at a pace faster than what was anticipated by the industry. On the supply side, there is a serious challenge in reskilling/upskilling employee base in new technologies to meet new customer demands. Sizing up to new customer expectation in providing innovative solutions is yet another area of concern,” says BVR Mohan Reddy, Founder and Executive Chairman, Cyient. 


At the end, it quite evident that few technologies like IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality will drive innovation in the segments like Cloud, Cybersecurity, Personal Computers, Printers, Mobility. 

Aparna Mullick

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