As far as startups go, Cube26 has done some interesting initiatives already. Tying up with academics and research may be just what the industry needs, and this cognitive intelligence company has realized this early on. Cube 26 has created a partnership with IIIT-Hyderabad to initiate research on cognitive intelligence. Nurturing resources that are skilled in both industry and research will be a smart game for its own growth. However, the future of a cognitive intelligence startup is tied strongly to policies of the government. With its enthusiasm for everything Smart, the government policies and sops for smart technology companies, has a huge role to play in the future of companies like Cube26. Here is what Mr Saurav Kumar, CEO & Co-founder, Cube26, has to say about the support from governance, the plans for the growth of his company, and what he sees as the future of smart technologies.
Do you think the governance has done enough for encouragement and development of smart technologies in India?
It is encouraging to see the government’s continued focus to boost smart technology. In fact, programs such as Digital India, Start-Up India, Stand-Up India, Smart Cities and Skill India require strong technological infrastructure with adequate budgetary support. We therefore expected the focus of this year’s budget to be on smart technologies and improved connectivity. The policies announced regarding ease of doing business will further propel the growth of start-ups.
Furthermore, we also expected the government to lay down a descriptive roadmap and implementation plan for our transformation into a smarter world, embracing new smart technologies and people friendly applications.
What do you see as challenges to this development and adoption?
It is important to understand that the adoption of smart technologies across the country will take time and while the government has certainly laid down the foundation, there is lack of a proper implementation plan and guidelines. The special patent regime with 10% rate of tax on income from worldwide exploitation of patents developed and registered in India is a step in the right direction to boost innovation, however there is a lot left to be done. We hope the patent process in India for indigenous companies become simpler as well to boost a culture of innovation and research which will further boost the smart technology ecosystem.
What more do you think can be done, to speed up adoption of Connected and smart technologies.
The Government of India has already created a draft policy on Connected Devices and it will be great if that can be brought up to speed and moved to an act. It will be interesting to witness its implementation. It should certainly lay down the norms and further facilitate the adoption of IoT. It is also important to increase awareness of IoT and smart technologies. The trick here lies in making tech easily available and accessible for the consumers. While many know and have heard of it, very few people understand the concept, how it can benefit and the need to adopt it.
There is big talk of Smart Cities; do you think the budget has provided support to it?
The government has allocated a sum of about INR 7,290 cr for two central schemes of urban transformation, AMRUT and ‘Smart Cities’ Mission. The union budget 2016-17 earmarked an amount of INR 3,205 cr for the development of 100 smart cities across the country by 2020. The mission will further encourage the investment in IT sector to help the government’s plan of making cities smarter and safer. While the focus on is on supporting and optimizing infrastructure requirements such as water management, smart grid etc., it also stresses on making a robust transport infrastructure. So definitely, the budget has provided a strong support to smart cities.
Do you think the industry is ready with security solutions, since smart technologies and smart cities will be driven by Connected Devices, a completely new paradigm in IT applications?
With the growth of connected devices at large, security is one of the major concerns. Multiple security challenges like upgrades and patches, encryption, data protection and privacy, storage management have been a roadblock to the widespread adoption of smart and connected devices. Every single device and sensor in the Connected Devices ecosystem represents a potential risk.
While we are discussing concerns around security in the Connected Devices ecosystem, we are still not fully ready. We are talking about a scenario, where every device will be able to communicate with each other and take necessary action without any human interference. But this will also have an impact on privacy expectations. If data collected by connected devices is compromised, it will undermine trust in Connected Devices. The industry needs to develop universal standards for designing safety, privacy into connected devices. Security challenges can be addressed by development of a combination of interoperability, education and proper design. To keep up with growing demand for connected devices and ensuring security and privacy, there is an urgent need to establish consistent standards and incorporate security and privacy measures proactively going forward.
What more do you think enterprises need to do to be as secure as possible in this new connected world?
There are billions of connected devices around the world and as a result, security measures are really important in a world where data is critical for businesses across sectors. We live in an era where everything right from our devices to homes is connected. Major elements to connected devices that can help enterprises ensure security are secure booting, access control, device authentication, firewalling and IPS, and updates and patches. Beyond that, however, security must be addressed throughout the entire lifecycle of every smart device, from the initial design to the operational environment.