Industry 4.0: Is India ready for the change?

Experts discuss how the digitised world is moving towards a smart Industry 4.0 at the Akamai India Edge 2018 conference

e4m by Apeksha Mishra
Updated: Aug 14, 2018 8:49 AM

India is one of the biggest Internet market with around 500 million Internet users. Banking on India’s strength in technology, a massive digital transformation to Industry 4.0 has already begun in the country. While few Indian companies have started exploring applications of Industry 4.0, some are yet to get access to technologies like IoT, cloud, artificial intelligence, big data, advanced analytics and simulation. The ability to understand and identify business cases involving these mechanics still remains a challenge. While Akamai Technologies has helped users, companies and organisations to harness the power of Internet, can it also contribute towards a smart Industry 4.0 in India?

Moderating the panel at Akamai India Edge 2018 event was Unmesh Deshmukh, Regional Vice President, Cloud Security, APJ, Akamai Technologies who started the session by speaking on the state of media consumption where demand for online and video viewership seemed to be soaring. Reacting to this Kawaljit Singh Bedi, CTO, NDTV & MD, Gadgets360 said that NDTV over the last few years witnessed a large jump in the audience count wanting to access data over Internet. He further added, “We have witnessed fast growth not only in users but also in revenue. This is probably because of the lowering cost of Internet and a new set of Internet users who are logging in for the first time. There’s a huge demand for consumption on video because of several reasons. In video we have grown by 5x in a year. With respect to viewership, we have larger figures in digital than on TV.”

Internet- the future of News vs TV?

Kawaljeet spoke about how Internet could be the future of news vs television. He said, “Who watches what on TV is determined by one person in a house. In such a scenario, how do others consume what they want? They use their personal devices be it a phone, iPad or laptop. The choices that these gadgets are providing a user with, are determining the changes in audience behavior. Even news consumption is changing by the day. I personally feel the trend is slowly moving towards Internet as the future of news.”

Commenting on Akamai’s role in scaling technology to enhance growth Sidharth Pisharoti, Regional Vice President, Media, said that Akamai has played a critical role as a tech platform. One key technology that we are working on is to bring ultra low latency. This glass-to-glass latency is helping us bring Internet at par with broadcast or make it even faster. Ultra low latency enables companies to look at real time audience engagement, which isn't the case with television.”

Risks to Data Security

With Internet speeding up, there’s also a lot of risk associated with all the data and information that one has access to. Speaking about what retailers in India need to do in order to bring in personalised customer experience Jason Hatch, Senior Director Product Management, Web Experience, APJ said, “With high growth comes higher number of users and even more interactions. In this scenario, controlling the offload and managing what is delivered is really important. While expectations of users grow with our performance, we need to start measuring trends in customer behaviour, which will help us stay informed about their expectations. That is when we can personalise customer experience by giving them a lot more than what they expect.”

Role of IoT, Cloud, digital payments in a cashless India

Speaking about how digital payments, IoT & OTT lead the road to a cashless India, Hatch said, “It isn’t just about opening a website or making transactions through mobile browsers, what is crucial is to maintain a cashless society. Millions of IoT devices have high requirements to be able to push or pull data from diverse locations. All of this requires the same platform as that of video.”

Hatch also mentioned about IndiaChain, a Government of India, NITI Aayog initiative, which is aimed at building the country’s largest block chain network in order to reduce frauds, speed up enforcement of contracts and increase transparency in transactions. He said, “Every time you need to have an agreement, which can’t be doubted later, it’s an opportunity for block chain, be it with banks, landlord or any form of transaction. Suddenly the level of efficiency and independence from other infrastructures shoots up. One can do things in remote locations without having to worry about authenticity.”

Role of cloud

Discussing the role of cloud, Aseem Ahmed, Senior Product Manager, Cloud Security, Asia-Pacific, Akamai spoke on the lines of how security is non-negotiable. “Internet is volatile, hence it is important to have a multi-layer security for your business. Awareness regarding cloud is still growing in the market. Once organisations figure out the strategy to use cloud, it will definitely bring in that additional layer of security.” This seems to save not only expansion cost but also helps to embrace the same technology for security.

Need for Zero Trust Model

In a tech savy world, sadly there’s no end to incidents of data breach, especially by some of the internal users themselves. In a situation like this, operating under a Zero Trust model might provide some respite, but the big question is if India was ready to adopt a model such as this. Commenting on Zero Trust Model, Nick Hawkins, Senior Director, Product Management, Enterprise Security APJ at Akamai Technologies said, “The threats we are talking about are attacking internal applications. An HR database can be a gold mine for someone focusing on identity threat. With users everywhere, there’s more reach to applications, hence the limit to security needs to evolve and be pervasive enough. Zero trust is looking at creating a security environment where you trust nothing and verify every single transaction. It is about going beyond just authentication and creating an authorisation. Cloud and Akamai both can help companies achieve a security pervasive platform which will prepare India for an Industry 4.0.”

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