While elaborating on the emergence of ‘mega cloud,’ Rajesh Janey, MD & President, India Enterprise, Dell EMC, spoke to Amit Singh on how technologies like AI, IoT, VR/AR, and Big Data and analytics will shape businesses in 2018
How do you see IoT transforming IT landscape/businesses in 2018?
India is currently undergoing a massive transformation to become a digitally enabled nation; and technology is at heart of this digital transformation. As per NASSCOM, the global market for IoT in 2020 will be worth $373 billion, with India accounting for $10-12 billion of this revenue.
We see it as a complete, interdependent ecosystem spanning edge, core and cloud. We believe that the true potential of both IoT and AI can be unlocked when these two are seen as one complete, interdependent ecosystem, spanning across edge, core and cloud. We call this ‘IQT’ which is the combination of IoT and the practical application of artificial intelligence.
Further, the upcoming Data Protection Act will prioritize the implementation of cyber security tools and technologies to effectively protect data and prevent threats. One impact which I foresee here is that organizations will be driven to increase security budgets, and will also look at business-wide efforts like employee awareness. IoT security will also make it to the top of the list of security spend priorities in the region, to address potential issues from edge to core to cloud as innovation in IoT picks up pace.
AI has massive potential to enhance decision making, reinvent business models and ecosystems, and remake the customer experience. What are your observations around how AI is transforming the way businesses are done?
We see emerging technologies revolutionizing the way businesses are operated. Over the next few years, AI will change the way we spend our time acting on data, not just curating it. Businesses will harness AI to do data-driven “thinking tasks” for them, significantly reducing the time they spend scoping, debating, scenario planning and testing every new innovation.
Some theorists claim AI will replace jobs, but these new technologies may also create new ones, unleashing new opportunities for humans. For example, we will see a new type of IT professionals focused on AI training and fine-tuning. This will become the home of these skills, with AI dominating the skill-sets of future talent. There will also be examples of AI’s thinking tasks in healthcare, agriculture and financial services. The challenge will be for organizations to prove the business value of AI technologies and make sure they have the right infrastructure and talent in place.
VR and AR are dissolving the boundaries between the digital and physical world. What is the adoption of AR/VR you see in India?
Over the next decade, globally and in India, emerging technologies such as VR will help people find and act on information without interference from emotions or external prejudice, while empowering them to exercise human judgment where appropriate.
In the short-term, we will see AI applied to hiring and promotion procedures to screen for conscious and unconscious bias. Meanwhile VR will increasingly be used as an interview tool to ensure opportunities are awarded on merit alone, for instance, by masking a prospective employee’s true identity with an avatar. By using emerging technologies to these ends, ‘bias check’ could one day become a routine sanitizer, like ‘spell check’- but with society-wide benefits.
What are the trends you see in the Big Data and analytics space in 2018? How is it changing the life of businesses?
As organizations continue to transform themselves rapidly, massive amount of data is being generated. Most of this data is in unstructured form. This is primarily due to the new-age technologies such as IoT and AI. Now, this data is rich in information which will help organizations understand their customers better and cater to their needs/demands in real-time. However, presently, Indian organizations are struggling to manage this information overload as they are not yet equipped with right kind of infrastructure that will help them not just store but also understand this data.
Few trends that should be looked upon in 2018 are:
- Looking beyond legacy infrastructure solutions: It is pertinent for the organizations to revamp their big data storage tools to make the best use of this data influx. New age data storage solutions like Scale Out Isilon will help businesses to real time analyze this unstructured data and then give quick solutions
- Manufacturing & healthcare sectors to lead in unstructured data generation in India: Presently there are two verticals in India that are likely to be early adopters of scale-out storage. One is manufacturing – the future will be about gathering data from sensors and making the customer experience better. Healthcare, on the other hand, is rapidly utilizing the information stored in unstructured data, to provide precision medicine, which will be the future of medical care in India. Hence, this is another vertical we should keep a lookout for.
How is cloud expected to change the way businesses are done over the next 12 months?
Cloud strategies will need to balance enabling new and emerging technologies like IoT and AI, but still drive the operational and cost-efficiency issues of today. As new challenges and opportunities emerge in the APJ region, organizations will require an integrated view of how cloud infrastructure, whether public, private or hybrid, can meet business needs. Some markets like ANZ and Japan are already leading the way in this approach.
Organizations must realize that cloud is not a destination; it’s an IT model where orchestration, automation and intelligence are embedded deeply into IT Infrastructure. In India, there is a rise in the adoption of cloud by customers. In fact, customers are looking for a combination of on-premise and cloud solutions to meet their requirements.
However, in 2018, businesses will overwhelmingly move toward a multi-cloud approach, taking advantage of the value of all models from public to private, hosted, managed and SaaS. Hence, as a next step, we will see the emergence of the ‘mega cloud’, which will weave together multiple private and public clouds to behave as a coherent, holistic system. The ‘mega cloud’ will offer a federated, intelligent view of an entire IT environment.
To make the mega cloud possible, we will need to create multi-cloud innovations in networking (to move data between clouds), storage (to place data in the right cloud), compute (to utilize the best processing and acceleration for the workloads), orchestration (to link networking, storage and compute together across clouds) and, as a new opportunity, customers will have to incorporate AI and ML to bring automation and insight to a new level from this next generation IT environment.