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SapientNitro’s Indranil Mukherjee on the IoT wave

Internet of Things (IoT) has redefined communication across devices and people. India may still be in the nascent stages of witnessing this development but information technology stakeholders are dedicating their efforts towards embedding devices with connectivity to lead communication across the domain. In conversation with Digital Market Asia, Indranil Mukherjee, Vice President and Global Practise Lead at SapientNitro shares how the agency is foraying into the IoT space.

Increasingly IoT is emerging as a platform for engagement than communication. Mr Mukherjee reiterated the sentiment and said, “Many believe that going forward IoT will emerge as one of the main channels for engaging the customer. We subscribe to that view as well. Apart from the exploding proliferation of connected ‘things’, the main advantage that IoT brings to the table is in-context communication.”

Mr Mukherjee added that emergence of management platform fosters seamless integration and experience delivery. In order to manage communication across hundreds and thousands of individual devices, dedicated specific software platforms are crucial for growth if IoT is implemented in the country. “There are companies already out there, rapidly developing these platforms and we expect these to pave the way for large-scale deployments of sensor driven experiences,” he said.

At a global level, a research by Gartner forecasts 4.9 billion connected things to be in use in 2015, which is 30 per cent higher from the number of 2014. The number of connected things by 2020 is expected to jump to 25 billion, globally. Revenue-wise, Gartner estimates that the IoT ecosystem will support services spending of USD 69.5 billion in 2015 and USD 263 billion by 2020, at a global level.

According to SapientNitro’s estimates, 30 billion connected devices are expected by 2020. With the rise in data volumes, Mr Mukherjee is looking forward to computing capabilities at the edges of the networks instead of data-centers. “Analytics will thus move closer to the end-points. Companies like Cisco are already espousing this idea in a big way,” he pointed.

The India story
Outlining the Indian IoT story and SapientNitro’s outlook on the same, Mr Mukherjee said, “SapientNitro is indeed playing in the space and we expect to get deeper with every passing quarter. This is still largely focussed on the West though. The Indian story will still take some time to develop. The Indian marketplace has been somewhat slower in adopting IoT. Concerns around cost, security and reliability of internet connectivity continue to dog the Indian scenario.”

“But a whole bunch of brands are actively experimenting with IoT and we do expect some of them to get out in the public fairly soon. There have been interesting developments among companies trying to play in the IoT infrastructure space too. There are firms in Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad that are trying to build the infrastructure to make IoT more accessible to Indian brands,” he added.

Challenges on the way
If you look at the IoT story in India closely, certain deficiencies in the space will emerger despite the advancements in the technological space. Users complain of being haunted by incessant notification and irrelevant noise in the system. Mr Mukherjee said that such challenges are common to many data situations but as analytics mature and repeatable patterns emerge, firms will be able to eliminate these completely, for all practical purposes.

India is behind its western counterparts in terms of embracing these developments and using it as an integral part of its business procedures. “IoT players in the Indian marketplace will adopt standards such as Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) standards framework from Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) in time and that will pave the way for deployments that will work as intended,” said Mr Mukherjee.

Defending SapientNitro’s strong foothold in the IoT space Mr Mukherjee added, “The vast majority of the work around IoT will be in customer experiences. Agencies that will lead here will not only be able to bring the best front-end experience design skills to the table but also a lot of the traditional integration and data handling skills.”