IESA Articles

Tech foundation for India’s transformation journey: Nivruti Rai, Intel

By Aanchal Ghatak & Pradeep Chakraborty

Delivering the keynote address at the IESA Vision Summit 2019 in Bangalore, India, Ms Nivruti Rai, Country Head, Intel India & VP, Data Center Group, Intel Corp. called for the industry to be in the need to drive innovation, and drive with scale. We have to work together to drive the global economy. She outlined her goal: how to fuel the industrial revolution 4.0 for the world, from India.

History teaches us lot. India has been driving innovations around the world, whether it is finding fire, learning how to cook food, agriculture, or the steam engine. The industrial revolution started with the United Kingdom’s steam engine. What happened with steam engine? Locomotives, trains, and all of that infrastructure got created. Look at the United States. They drove an agriculture-driven economy. But, as the country was very large, they focused on communications. Graham Bell and phones happened. Then came electric machines, Tesla, and Nikola Tesla.

Europe emerged with electricity, and Faraday and Ampere. Germany France, and the UK led. Then came Japan with manufacturing. How fantastic was the quality of Japan’s manufacturing process. The Toyotas and the Honda’s started ruling the world. Every time an innovation was driven, it created an ecosystem of innovations around it. One innovation drives an ecosystem of innovations.

Japan was busy driving excellence as part of their culture and excellence. However, they missed out on the Internet-driven economy. They missed out on what is a digital-driven economy. Now, they are shaping up. One needs to understand how a particular driver of innovation creates an ecosystem of innovation around it. Only then can you be leading the revolution that the industry’s driving.

Look for collaboration

When you don’t stay with the flow, it is important to be looking outside, not be just internally. You should be focused on what is the rest of the world’s needs. What is it that the world is gearing toward. While, this industrial revolution is about digitization, it is built on the Internet. What it needs is the collaboration across the globe.

How does the collaboration begin within our country? It has to begin with the academia partnering with the industry, and the industry partnering with the government. The government, in turn, partners with consortiums. Unless all of us come together, this dream of leading the world is not going to happen.

If you look at academia to drive a product development, they can only drive the technology readiness and a fantastic product design. But, to look at product manufacturing, product scale, you have to look at the industry. And, leading the development, you also have to look at policies. You need to have a government partnership and create value out of it. You have to think business. The need of the hour is for all of us to come together and create the 37.8 million additional productivity that the country and the world needs.

Tech challenges

Some of the technologies are blockchain, cloud, edge or fog, and 5G. Some of the analysts are looking at 5G as an opportunity to literally double the world’s economy, and most certainly, double or triple India’s economy over the next decade or two. The next few years will see technologies such as AI, connectivity, blockchain, memory, quantum compute, clean energy, and genomics, rule.

India will certainly benefit from what is called GIG economy. We are limited by space and by infrastructure. The gig economy is something that should and will thrive in India. India houses smart technology, smart mathematicians, and smart analysts. Data analytics, which is the critical part of AI, gives India an opportunity to contribute significantly. Some of these technologies also need to be thought through clearly regarding their future roadmaps.

Role of AI

Intel has partnered with the Government of India, and come up with a concept called ICTAI — International Centre for Transformative AI. AI seems to be the buzzword everybody is talking about. AI is going to double the world’s economy However, not everybody has full understanding of AI. AI drives the intellectual property and R&D. AI has two kinds of development – use case and actually, building AI engines. We definitely need to contribute in both. We need to be creating AI solutions. It is essential that we drive AI R&D, IP, and training. AI is not as complex as we think.

AI has also become a buzzword as the compute capability has increased significantly, as has the memory capability. We hope to accomplish this with the PPP. Among others, 5G is very important for connectivity. The ask is to improve the dense connectivity, across towns and cities. Blockchain is critical, but extremely energy hungry. The use case is now happening. Quantum compute is already there in China. India needs to invest in quantum computing. Clean energy is very important. Genomics – anything that we manufacture tomorrow, has to be intelligent and smart.

Everything intelligent

Today, electronics and software is enabling everything intelligent. We want to augment anything with intellect. For drones, Intel has partnered with the Government of Maharashtra.

There is Amara’s Law – we often think of technology in the short term, and less in the longer term. Every technology has its pros and cons. We need to be thinking of AI/ML, blockchain, quantum computing, etc. India has fundamentally got it. We need to do some reskilling. It’s all about reskilling people to the newer technology, and leveraging it with what they have already learnt. Academia also needs to look at what trainings are there for AI/ML, blockchain, etc.

Intel has trained people on AI/ML. Collaboration is essential. We need to build a vision larger than us. We also need to involve women. 13.6 trillion is the additional GDP that the world can see if  women come to the force. Intel has a program called WISE – Women for Women driving Social Entrepreneurship. We have a framework called WISE ready, or WISER.

We also need to encourage talent immigration. Wherever, there is a smart person missing in a venture, bring that person in. We also need to look at solving big problems. We need to come together and bring all the little efforts to solve visionary problems. We need to think big for India. We also need to work in tandem with the Government.

BMW says, anybody sitting in its autonomous car is the most important person. All those ethical policy requirements also need to be looked at. Intel has also made an effort with the Kerala Government, UST Global, and KELTRON to develop Coconics PCs. There is a need to work together and create a scale, to enable manufacturing out of India. We also need a thriving ecosystem. Memory is important, as digital revolution needs storage. In Karnataka, we have built memory modules. We need to drive scale in India.

India has the world’s second largest start-up ecosystem. They are involved in AI, fintech, blockchain, and IoT. There are around 1500+ MNC R&D centres, with about 3.8 million developers. There is also a National Policy on AI. There are use cases across domains – road safety, agriculture, healthcare, and 5G trials. India has a very large market. It is time to power our ambition. People who think big have very large telomeres.

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