Internet of Things(IoT) today

“If the outside temperature is more than 350 C, turn on AC at my home when I am about to reach in 15 minutes”. Internet of Things (IoT) has grown at a higher pace like many experts predicted few years back . Today, IoT extends from smart homes to wearable watches to healthcare instruments.

IoT

The smartphones are multiplying and the electronic sensors are getting cheaper and smarter. At the same time on the infrastructure side, many are adopting cloud with high speed networks. The connection between millions of devices and sensors has become cost efficient now.

These are facilitating the rise of IoT and indicate that many industries are adopting it. Manufacturing, Health Care and Pharma, Heavy machinery, Energy and Utilities, Agriculture, transportation, aerospace industries get greatly benefited with IoT. Also this is helping them to give customers altogether a new experience.

Energy & Utilities:
We would have seen the ads in TV for Philips where lights in home are switched on/off automatically based on our needs.

Manufacturing:
There are companies like JBL, heavy machinery that uses IoT to monitor its vehicles and gets alerted before a break happens in any of it equipment. The cost of fixing the break is way higher than fixing before it occurs.

Aerospace:
Virgin airlines recently implemented IoT for a set of its airplanes, that most components on the planes are connected to internet, making the it more live and reducing the maintenance costs.

Agriculture:
IoT can enable agriculture by creating a network of connected devices, providing real-time information on weather, data and alerts on soil condition for a type of crop, monitoring for floods etc. There are applications like identifying a sick animal in the cattle and remove them before they infect others

Healthcare:
There are already IoT applications that reminds elderly patients to remind the time to take pills, give the cups with prefilled medicines with push of a button. There are devices that monitor the body temperature, urine flow etc and can alert before a heart failure, kidney injury happens.

More work to do:

Like any other evolving technology, IoT has its own obstacles. Some are concerns on data security and privacy – and others at core is skill or expertise to design and implement the IoT. Reports and surveys show there are not enough skilled professional to implement the IoT that meets the current demand. IoT is still as of now complex in nature to implement. However, with many advantages of IoT and need for it, we are sure it will be used widely across globe!

Changes in Indian IT industry

There are couple of articles recently in ET, Business Line on the challenges our IT industry is currently facing. Due to a steep fall in the crude oil prices in previous fiscal, IT investments by clients in the energy vertical have delayed, reduced and some are cancelled. Telecom services providers are also not doing well and hence the revenues from those accounts had a hit. Also there is this cross currency impact While there is stagnation/decline in the incremental revenues of IT majors like TCS, Wipro, Infy, HCL for the last year we should also understand the drastic changes in the way IT business is undergoing.

IT Companies

Unlike previous times, there are many small firms who possess consulting capabilities and are able to sustain in the market by having a kind of conversations clients want. While all IT majors have strong consulting capabilities, the technology is changing at a drastic level where IT majors are having challenges to go to customer and say “this is what your business problem is, and we can solve with this ‘new’ technology”, says Forrester Research.

Let us speak about Cloud. Well, Cloud is not a new technology at least when we see time vs technology changes, but the business strategies associated with cloud are changing. Cloud is gradually disrupting the enterprise software and hardware industry by being easy to scale up the infra and being cost-effective. It is making computing services / resources available on internet. Cloud makes infrastructure like Storage, Servers, networking as a service. This reduces the infrastructure maintenance needs, and, hence, infrastructure services will reduce. Mid-range clients who don’t have huge infrastructure prefer cloud-based systems. This will hamper the sections of infra business in IT companies.

At the same time automation and robotics are also booming along with cloud. With burst of new technologies and delivery models there is high competition in pricing too.

However, there is still time to adapt, experts say, irrespective of new developments though the changes are drastic. At the same time client relationships matters over the price. Again IT majors have their plans in place. Wipro and Infosys has already made large acquisitions/investments in automation companies, and in startups. ET says Wipro is planning to improve the efficiency and bring the reduction of 30% in it headcount in next three years by investing in automations and artificial intelligence and digital technology. Infy CEO Sikka too mentioned “New areas in Infosys of automation and innovation will constitute a tenth of total revenue by 2020.” TCS has its own innovation Labs.

How Indian IT market share doubled in past 5 years

This article mentioned in Economic times today provided a good insight on why out Indian IT companies are doing well against the global IT markets. For the past 5 years, the Indian IT market share has doubled.

Indian players like Cognizant, Wipro, TCS, Infosys, HCL have been outperforming the global players Accenture, Cap Gemini, IBM..

indian it

Pricing Strategy: The greatest strength Indian majors has is their lower prices compared to the global players. To reemphasise the IT service provided by Indian majors are value for money. Also Indian companies have thinner layers of management; that can make them more aggressive when they need to drop price points to win business.

Client Understanding: Many global players do not take up small projects. Taking up these small business help Indian players to gain confidence and help them to get bigger scope of work from the customers.

Confidence: The Indian players are equally confident with the global players. The existence of IT in India from the same time emerged globally help indian companies gain this confidence.

Innovation: Though global players are good at innovating offerings, some of the Indian companies are also equally good at ideas and capabilities. Sometimes beating client expectations with innovation is more important than selling innovation at a high rate!!

Good Relationships: Indian providers have done a great job of having senior executives available for clients at client places, when requested.

 

A note on Wrist Watch Industry

Though India has high potential, the current infrastructure in India is challenge. The economic slowdown has added to this making the things worse.

Buying habits of customers are shifting – customers are buying from online retail like Flipkart etc.

wrist

Mobile phones are definitely not a competition for the watch industry. Wrist watch is a style statement. Once a person is capable of earning he or she is interested to buy a watch which shows that he/she is focused on time. Every occasion demands a type of watch. Fashion watches, sports watches, digital watches, luxury etc.

Watches like Samsungs watch still need the cell phone along with them. The Samsung watch’s positioning is more on connectivity, gadget pro. Where as a wrist watch is all about focus on time sensitive person

Is China a threat to Indian IT companies?

Studies show that Chinese software outsourcing firms are unlikely to catch up with Indian and other global software services firms anytime in the near future, despite a major policy push towards outsourcing from China’s central government in recent years. Language barrier has also played a huge role in China’s inability to attract large outsourcing contracts at a time of increasing commoditization of IT services. According to a survey 79% of IT services firms in China have been in business for less than 10 years. On the other hand, top US and Indian IT firms have been around for the better part of the last three decades, in some cases, even longer.

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China has also faced the problem of attracting the best talent, with the country’s engineering graduates not looking at IT services as a primary option for employment, instead focusing more on manufacturing firms. China currently trains 1.1 million engineers annually, according to a recent report by Kotak Institutional Equities. Since 2006, the Chinese government has tried to build expertise in software outsourcing. It identified 20 cities where such firms could be developed.

 The average profitability of Chinese IT services firms went down from 10-15% to less than 5% over the past two years, while that at most large Indian firms was in the 15-25% range

Experts say China’s focus on the domestic market and Japan may have hindered its ability to gain market  share in other growing economies.

To be sure, China’s IT industry was never considered to be a serious threat to traditional multi-national and Indian outsourcing giants, such as IBM, Accenture, TCS, Infosys, Wipro Etc.

What is a Bitcoin and how it works?

Bitcoin is virtual currency. Once you have installed a Bitcoin wallet on your computer or mobile phone, it will generate your first Bitcoin address and you can create more whenever you need one. You can disclose your addresses to your friends so that they can pay you or vice versa. In fact, this is pretty similar to how email works, except that Bitcoin addresses should only be used once. It is a peer-to-peer currency with no central bank, based on digital tokens with no core value.

Bitcoin1

Balances – block chain

The block chain is a shared public records on which the entire Bitcoin network relies. All confirmed transactions are included in the block chain. This way, Bitcoin wallets can calculate their spendable balance and new transactions can be verified to be spending bitcoins that are actually owned by the spender.

Transactions – private keys

A transaction is a transfer of value between Bitcoin wallets that gets included in the block chain. Bitcoin wallets keep a secret piece of data called a private key or seed, which is used to sign transactions, providing a mathematical proof that they have come from the owner of the wallet. The sinature also prevents the transaction from being altered by anybody once it has been issued. All transactions are broadcast between users and usually begin to be confirmed by the network in the following 10 minutes, through a process called mining

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How does Bitcoin work?

Bitcoins are sent (or signed over) from one address to another with each user potentially having many, many addresses. Each payment transaction is broadcasted to the network and included in the block chain so that the included bitcoins cannot be spent twice. After an hour or two, each transaction is locked in time by the massive amount of processing power that continues to extend the block chain. Using these techniques, Bitcoin provides a fast and extremely reliable payment network that anyone can use.

WhatsApp saving lives!!

Couple of articles these days have caught my attention – felt good about the use of WhatsApp in hospitals.

Doctors started using the personal technology – the smartphone to speed up diagnosis patients with suspected problems.

They started using WhatsApp to send pictures of patient’s electrocardiograms to each other to cut time spent on reaching the emergency. Lack of proper diagnosis and treating the patient within the first hour – the crucial golden hour results in major cardiac arrests. Some patients come from suburbs. In most cases this golden hour is lost as the patient walks into the hospital. By this system, it can be ensured that there is no further time loss once the patient is inside the hospital.

WhatsApp and Doctors

In Mumbai, nearly 250 patients are benefited through this technology. The moment a patient comes with a chest pain or related problem, a specialist takes the ECG and sends the image to the group of doctors. This process helps the patient to reach out for immediate response.

Also Orthopaedic surgeons both from the government and private hospitals have formed a group, Orthopods, on WhatsApp for sharing live images of surgery, X-rays and scanning results, so that members could exchange their views, help in diagnosis, and suggest the best treatment options.

Google Glasses and Education ?!!

Most of us might have heard of Google Glasses. Augmented Reality (AR) is finally been in live. AR merges the physical and digital worlds in making the real world more interactive to the user.

Mobile AR

Mobile continues to be the preferred device for AR application and is expected that, by 2017 2.5 billion mobile AR applications will be installed.

AR offers an innovative learning experience by merging digital learning material over the physical space. Each learner can control his/ her own learning, manipulating digital information and objects for better understanding.

For example when you and your niece are walking across a park, your niece can point the AR browser in the smartphone to a seasaw in the park and understand the physics behind how it works.

In subjects like physics, chemistry or biology, where it is difficult and time taking to understand the concepts in class, AR will be of great aid in Education. Even in complex tasks like firefighting, let it be surgeries, AR can be used for training easily.

Risks of failure in AR is minimal as compared to practical real object based training i.e. a heavy fall while demonstrating firefighting (happened in some cases in India), can be avoided using AR based training programs. Researchers have found that with AR based training its takes shorter time to understand and the performance of the trainees are good compared to conventional training.

AR in Indian Education:

Though there is still a challenge of reaching the digital resources to majority of school going kids in India due to financial challenges of their parents, most of them posses mobile (low end smart phone that starts from Rs. 3999) – thanks to domestic manufacturing, high competition that lower prices.

Mobile AR provides students access to key digital information right from their homes without the need for any other device to supplement their textbooks. Parents can use mobile phones to help their kid’s educational needs!!

However, quality of broadband connectivity is still a challenge in India, for Mobile AR to reach common man. Hope the spectrum issues are solved soon for grea

FACEBOOK = MARKETING!!

Facebook is no longer a social media; it’s a mass media. It’s more than likes, fans and followers.

Initially it is about acquiring fans and followers, but later it is about engaging them and turning into customers and finally into loyal customers.

Facebook Marketing

  • L’Oreal India has been using social media effectively!! To create advertisement for its premium hair color Casting Crème Gloss, it has created an app in Facebook where customers have to scan a unique code on the product. Then the customer has to upload an image with two of her best friends to get a shot at starring in an ad with Sonam Kapoor.
  • One of the top FMCG company found that some fake products are sold on its prestigious brand name. The brand joined Facebook community. Guess what, in no time, the fans have reported 250 locations where the fake products are sold.
  • ICICI bank recently launched a Facebook app ‘Pockets’ which enables its customers to carry out some striking banking services on the social media like booking tickets for a group of friends, transferring money to friend, mobile recharge etc.
  • Shoppers stop has about 50 lakh fans. On hitting a million like, it ran a coupon offer. Within 2 days 10,000 fans has shopped on various outlets, and resulted in incremental revenues of 2 crore rupees

Social Media helps companies to understand what customers actually need. One the customer likes a page of a company; it shows he likes the brand or product. It is important to make him/her a loyal customer.

Facebook also in interlinked with Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest etc. For instance Star TV that has 18 million fans and followers ensures that a dynamic response mechanism through tweets (twitter) is followed if there is a concern from its customers.

Starbucks in some areas is offering a gift card “Tweet a Coffee” to a friend by linking the Twitter profile to its own profile

The final goal of any company is to solve the business and marketing challenges through Social media marketing as above. It is all about service and experience!!

Refer to Brand Equity, 4th Dec 2013 for more details

The Raise of ‘Tablets’

Though PCs and laptops rule the world of ‘personal’ computing – now Tablets are the future.

While the laptop clearly made the personal computing more portable, the design is still delicate in many ways as compared to Tablet. This means that while Laptop is portable, it is not a great design for while sitting on a couch or in bed. Laptops are optimized for productivity mainly for work and these days in colleges. In the home, they were mostly used for things like paying bills, IRCTC ticket booking!!, shopping, e-mail and for watching movies.

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Stats say that this year we will be selling around 300 million PCs and laptops while we will also sell just over 300 million tablets globally. By the end of 2015, we will be selling less than 300 million PCs and laptops and will be selling nearly, over 350 million tablets. Some market researchers think that by 2017 we could be selling 500 million tablets a year around the world. This shows that the growth has accelerated in the tablets share.

One interesting point to note is most of our homes has either a PC or a Laptop. But by 2016, we may posses about three tablets per home globally, making them in many ways the most important computing tools in the family. With tablets pricing from Rs. 3800/- and with the revolution of internet and online services everywhere it’s not too exaggerated to suggest that every middle class person in the home can own a tablet of their own by 2016. In emerging markets, we could have at least one tablet per home as well.

Although the smartphone is one which can compete with the tablet, its small screen makes it difficult to serve as a fully-functioning personal computer. Yes, it has the same features and options like that of a tablet, but it fails to be very optimized for movies and videos and surfing the web. On the other hand, tablets with 7- and 8-inch screens make great media devices for the customers who want both communication and computing power of tablets.

PCs and laptops will never go away, since they still has a good role to play in our current digital world, coming to the fact that portability with good personal computing is required – tablets are preferred.