The first ever digital summit in Kerala “Techspectations 2016”, organized by Manorama Online to commemorate two decades of its existence, saw influential digital czars lending an ear to innovators, product visionaries, designers, mobility experts and programmers. The august gathering was addressed among others by Wipro, executive vice-chairman T.K. Kurien, Facebook India and South Asia MD Umang Bedi, Inmobi India VP Vasuta Agarwal, Amazon Internet Services Start-up Ecosystem head Gauruv Arora and Business Blogging CEO Kiruba Shankar.
In his address, Chief Guest Kurien said he envisaged a tectonic shift in the way enterprise function in the future. “There are nearly 130 million white collar jobs now, of which 30-40 million jobs will vanish,” he told a packed audience. Citing the example of Nestle, Japan, where there are 3,000 employees and 2,000 robots that run the show, he said five years from now, the job environment would undergo a massive change when machines join the workforce. In a gig economy, independent contractors and temporary positions would be common in businesses, he said.
Facebook's Umang Bedi hailed demonetization as a giant leap in curbing black money in the country and noted that the idea need to be supported more than the process as it can enhance the technological and digital development. The era of large bulk content has trended out but publishing and television are not witnessing any fag ends, he said.
Bedi said by syncing television with digital, there will be immense growth in content production and circulation across almost all media forms. “Live videos are creating magic on Facebook. It is a hopeful sight finding people generating countless units of live digital video content on Facebook,” Bedi said. And the next big bet is virtual reality and augmented reality, he said.
The demonetization drive by the center has hit the online cash-on-delivery businesses with a 25 percent dip in business in the first week, Inmobi's Vasuta Agarwal told the gathering. Video advertisements have gained significant traction among mobile users, she said, adding food and travel videos are the most popular. Re-marketing techniques are gaining more significance in e-commerce websites as the need to retain existing customers increases, she said.
Gauruv Arora of Amazon Internet Services listed some tips to budding entrepreneurs. “Think big, start small and scale your business gradually,” he said, underscoring the trajectory start-ups should try to emulate. Invoking Amazon’s own inventory of tales, he said there were many instances in which the e-commerce giant itself failed and hence, start-ups shouldn’t hesitate to experiment. As a principle, aspiring entrepreneurs should put customers first, then dare to invent and later on simplify their services, he said.
Cab aggregator Uber's Nitin Nair said it would launch carpooling services in Kochi early next year. Uber sees personal cars as competitors and aims at “washing out the concept of personal cars”, he said. Uber also hopes to bring a driver-less car in the country within a decade or so, he disclosed.
Malayalam channels on YouTube are growing by leaps and bounds, its entertainment division head Satya Raghavan said. “YouTube videos have been growing at a rate of 80 percent. More and more users are taking to YouTube to circulate their own videos, a major shift from the television clips-dominated content just two years ago,” Raghavan said.
A video to commemorate two decades of Manorama Online was launched by Wipro executive vice-chairman T. K. Kurien, along with IT Secretary of Kerala M Shivasankar IAS, Chairman of Skyline Builders K V Abdul Azeez and Manorama Online COO Mariam M Mathew during Techspectations 2016. The video showcases Manorama Online's stunning growth trajectory to emerge as a leader in the digital domain.
In the grand finale held as part of Techspectations 2016, team Madlabs won the first prize. Madlabs introduced Ava, a concept, which integrates a news app via Facebook messenger. The winning team was selected from 200 applicants out of which 30 teams were shortlisted.
The three finalists then pitched their products to a three-member jury comprising Prabhakar Reddy of Accel Partners, Mohan Thomas, co-founder of HiFX IT and Media Services and Siji Joseph, senior general manager of Malayala Manorama.
Manorama Online and the South Indian Bank also announced the launch of Business Idea Contest, Season I. The grand finale will be held by mid-February and preliminary registrations will close on December 20. The announcement was made by Thomas Joseph, executive vice president of South Indian Bank, in the presence of Mariam M. Mathew, chief operating officer of Manorama Online, during Techspectations 2016.
Techspectations 2016 will give a boost to the tech community, digital branding and start-up ecosystem, Business Blogging CEO Kiruba Shankar said. He said the broad vision of the summit is in sync with the reality that technology and life have become inseparable. “Technology has become part of life and is no more a separate entity. It has considerably reduced human effort,” he pointed out.
Speakers at the summit also dwelt on start-up funding, building the tech community, approaches to ideas and the groundwork needed for these.