How COVID-19 has put tech revolution on the fast track in India

Guest Column: Niraj Ruparel, Head of Mobile and Emerging Tech at GroupM India, shares more on the tech trends of 2021

e4m by Niraj Ruparel
Updated: Sep 22, 2020 10:29 AM
Niraj Ruparel

COVID-19 is a great example of something invisible can turn out to be a killer that we cannot control. The best way we can control it is by staying united and doing what is right so that we could have the freedom we deserve. 

The digital world today is just a ‘rectangle’ in your pocket but soon enough it will be everywhere around us. We, as humans, are already insignificant, outnumbered by computers. The comparison is almost 1:3. Even though we are living in a world that is powered by technology, we should still always have the power to choose. Choice is important. 

With the advent of the pandemic and the impact it has had on us, people will now take their lives more seriously. India is on the cusp of disruption with billions pouring in and the focus shifting to the younger east. A technological revolution is about to hit India.

Let's talk about what's going to happen in 2021:

  • More people are going to talk about science and technology
  • Telecoms will race to reach every corner of the country
  • World-class manufacturers can now deliver products customised for India
  • More people will get educated, thanks to the internet.

A huge part of how or why this is happening is because of emerging technologies. They drive change. Consider technology a science, and our future, a coalition of that science. A whole lot of new technology is gearing up to come to India. Now more than ever, an India-focus is required to provide for both the uplifted and the unreached.

Technologies coming to you this year:

  1. Immersive Conferences - Even though there are a lot of new hardware and software tools that address the technocrat to be ‘immersive capable’ the idea is to give the same value to clients who are either not comfortable or can't reach such technologies. You can be immersed through a television screen. The idea of immersion, in general, is just a I/O (input-output) mechanism. Allowing users to pause their favourite TV show is also a level of immersion. The carbon footprint of an MNC AGM was analysed in 2017 — a total of 5 metric tonnes of carbon emission was saved using immersive conferencing. Let's keep the private jets for when we actually need them.
  2. VR Training & HR Onboarding - VR training has been one of the best markets for adoption because it had a 10X impact on the overall stake pool.

    HRA: The management of a company had to do these “mundane” tasks only once.

    The candidate: Got more knowledge and connections with the company they are joining.

    Productivity: Immersive technologies have a way to create an illusion of space, this allows companies to take advantage of this person's time and deliver to him all the information they need before being onboarded. With backend analytics, it becomes easier to take an unbiased call over the effectiveness of the hire.
  3. Virtual, Augmented & Mixed Reality Workshops: WFH now is the new norm. More companies are quickly adopting to this new normal. But there are fundamental differences of working in an office than working from home. One of those is teamwork. Even though we are connected constantly on the internet, it’s still hard to ideate in collaboration with a multi-disciplinary team. Extended Reality workshops allow a seamless transition to this new normal without having to compromise on your projects. At GroupM, we use these tech interventions to conduct engaging workshops.
  4. Broadcast Augmented Reality: Advertising is no longer on billboards, advertising can take over everything that a user sees in the frame. The reason why a sports team has only one brand endorsement on its T-shirt will be a thought of the past. Now, your favourite footballer will sport your favourite brand through targeted advertising and Broadcast AR.
  5. Volumetric Captures & Photography: Now that traditional 2D screens are going to cease to exist, we need a new capture method as well. Volumetric Capture allows you to capture every voxel of space-time so you can manipulate to fit your needs.
  6. Interactive OTT: Users should be able to buy the dress they see on their favourite celebrity in real time. Interactive OTT allows you to do just that. There are other creative problems in storytelling that Netflix is solving with formats like in ‘Bandersnatch’ where the user determines the flow of the story and also gets to make choices. Gamification of content is on the rise and interactive OTT is driving the bus.
  7. NAVIC-powered GPS (at least 4 times better than GLONASS): The GPS that we use to hail our cabs, our food, or look for partners to meet in our vicinity was made in 1984. India launched a satellite for the same purpose, but home-grown, in 2017.
  8. Cheaper, faster data: With data becoming cheaper, it’s obvious that the reach to the next billion is taken care of but these billions are unlike the last billion. We will have to craft forward-looking strategies that allow us to stay on top of the game. If data becomes cheaper, value from that data has to increase 10X.
  9. Virtual avatars that are finally not a gimmick: Thanks to the push over the past several years and machine learning and computer vision research reaching its own milestones, it's safe to say that beyond 2020, virtual avatars will make more sense than before. While the tech giants are busy making these avatars more human, we are busy making them more efficient. Robots are not humans, we should not misdirect the masses about that.

With single-point data coming in from immersive consumers, you’d be able to learn more about the needs of your consumers and target your advertising efforts with no doubt. Immersive adoption allows us to create a 1:1 ratio amongst consumers. As these devices are capable of acting like your phone, laptop, TV, theatre, video game, fitness coach, etc., promoting products that augment the human capabilities is going to be the new talk of the town.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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