The India Growth Story Continues Tech Predictions for 2016

VARINDIA Magazine, 20th January, 2016

2016 would have been just like any other year, if it was not for some of the ambitious projects of the government which has held hopes of the economy high, and that which is going to lay the foundation for some of the future projects. On the technology front, things are going to remain more or less the same. Top technologies, from Cloud to IoT, to Wearables and Smart devices are going to rule the roost, while making an impact on Indian tech users. The technology predictions by different vendors this year show an aligned and an interesting picture of the overall Indian technology landscape. A quick look at some of the hits & misses of the year –

The IT Enterprise Industry
Digital transformation, smart cities, cross modal IT, multicloud, and skills shortages will be some of the key trends that will continue to shape both the IT and business landscapes in Asia Pacific for 2016. Enterprises will experience major digital transformation in the coming years as they strive to improve a host of key tech and non-tech functions. Traditional enterprises will transform into digital natives. There has been resurgence in confidence among CIOs that they will see more of their revenues flowing through digital channels.

“The C-suite increasingly understands the value of digital business and the data it produces, but they have yet to bring new executives permanently into the room to drive a digital agenda across their company. That’s about to change. Increasingly Chief Digital Officers will be appointed and tasked with utilizing the latest and greatest technology to make products smarter and create frictionless service experiences for customers,” opines Jeremy Burton, President, Products and Marketing, EMC.

Cloud, Data, IoT
According to Andy Stevenson, Managing Director, Fujitsu India and Head of Middle East and India, Internet of Things will continue being a prominent technology being evaluated by large corporations. In the Cloud space, Hybrid IT will drive cloud evolution – and cloud services will see a continued uptake throughout 2016. “Hybrid IT helps connect and manage internal IT infrastructure including private cloud and external public clouds which in turn facilitates easy movement of data and applications. Companies would find an increasing need to navigate and manage these two worlds – one of traditional ‘slow’ process orientated IT, and the other of the ‘fast’ IT required to maximize benefits of Big Data, Public Clouds, and IOT, etc.,” he says.

“2015 observed a strong adoption of trends favouring hybrid cloud for backup and recovery in the Asia Pacific and Japan region, and we expect this to follow through in 2016. Also, there is an increased interest from customers in understanding the risks around managing unstructured data. In fact, in general, companies are beginning to understand that just having massive amounts of data is not good for business. Today, only 1.5% of the zettabytes of data backed-up is actually actionable information. In order for data to have real value, enterprises need the ability to get the right data at the right time. Lastly, the Internet of Things will continue to create significant impact and that is a massive opportunity for us as data proliferation and data governance are at the core of our solutions,” adds Balaji Rao, India Sales Leader – Veritas.

According to Ettienne Reinecke, Dimension Data’s Group Chief Technology Officer, social, mobile, cloud, analytics, Internet of Things, and bimodal IT are all hot topics in the IT industry which divide IT functions and teams in organisations worldwide. “Where organisations prioritise their budgets and resources, all of these trends and technologies serve a larger purpose, because they enable the transformation of an organisation to become a digital enterprise. In other words, the business uses IT to respond faster to market opportunities and threats, and prioritises the experience of the people it works with, whether they’re customers, employees, or business partners.”
Datacenter business

The Indian datacenter market is soaring and is expected to reach a whopping $2billion in 2016. The Internet of Things (IoT) will not only impact future data center architectures by increasing the volume of data that must be processed, it will also change data center management—and the latter sooner than the former. “Today’s data centers include thousands of devices that speak a host of languages, including IPMI, SNMP, and Mod Bus. But with innovative solutions built with the capability to make these data centers communicate in a common language, this gap can be met,” explains Ankesh Kumar -Director – Product Management (Channel, IT Solution) & Marketing, Emerson Network Power India.

While data center technology plays an important role in ensuring efficiency and availability, data center operators are focusing less on technology and more on the architectures in which those technologies are deployed. Companies will now see customers using traditional Tier 3 and Tier 4 architecture asking for help in defining the right architecture for their environment.

In the coming years, bigger transformations will take place in the storage space that storage administrators must prepare for. In 2016, converged infrastructure will minimize the drudgery of hardware integration and free up customers to experiment with software innovation. “The All-Flash Data Center will become a practical reality. In the last few years, one can see a steady increase in the usage of flash. Flash sales are poised to double due to aggressive price cuts as large enterprise storage companies stake out claims on this bright spot in the market,“ states Lee Caswell, VP of Product, Solutions & Services Marketing, NetApp.

2016 will be the year when organizations will take IT complexity by storm, using containers and microservices to simplify the current software architecture and development process. Container technology is set to shape the future of software development standards, making it easier and more efficient for developers to move an application from one system to another. “Microservices will focus on enabling smaller services to be deployed independently, delivering new features continuously without the need to wait until a new version of an entire application is ready. These technologies will completely transform how we build, deploy or upgrade applications today, and are a perfect response to organizations’ increased focus on the need to keep pace with changing market demands,” says Kenneth Arredondo, President & General Manager, Asia Pacific & Japan, CA Technologies.

Smart cities have been a topic of interest for a long time in Asia Pacific, with many countries in the region rolling out their own initiatives to tackle everything from public safety to improved transportation. “However, it has become apparent that few governments have the experience or the financial means to build and run these initiatives on their own. Instead, they are partnering with major industry players who are investing deeply in the Internet of Things (IoT). By bringing their own intellectual property, assembling ecosystems of technology providers and integrating them together, they can develop the solutions needed to make these cities a reality,” remarks Adrian De Luca, chief technology officer of Hitachi Data Systems Asia Pacific.

The Devices Industry
“As things stand today, 2016 promises to be the year when the IoT “connected” story develops further. The other new trend on the block in the mobile communication space will be VoLTE. Multi-utility gadgets that will help save space and yet maximize utility are the ones that will leave an impact in 2016 that not only save space but have numerous features and are energy- efficient,” says Niladri Datta, Head – Corporate Marketing, LG India.

In 2016, in order to stay competitive, brands would have to be very innovative with their product launches. “We shall see some breakthrough innovations. With the concentrated R&D efforts, there are segments which are driving growth. With the demand for faster and smoother data usage, 4G will become more and more popular so access to internet will be much better and faster, making new innovations in this segment more and more usable. India will shine even better than 2015 is what we expect,” assures Ashish Mutneja, Director, Quantum Hi-Tech Merchandising Private Ltd.

Printing Business
The printing industry is evolving rapidly, largely led by the growing need for adoption of new technologies. Today, the print providers need to do much more than matching hardware specifications and ensuring high-quality output; options like printing from cloud, mobile printing, storage solutions, etc have become a must in the MFD space. “Vendors are constantly updating their offerings with new software specifications to meet these growing demands. Software is starting to play a significant role in the MFD market today and will continue to shape the future of the overall hardware ecosystem. We foresee more such technologies to be embedded in printers in the coming times,” observes Balaji Rajagopalan, Executive Director, Technology, Channels & International Distributor Operations, Xerox India.

i. Digital Printing
Digital printing is another area in the printing industry which continues to show significant promise. Emergence and growth of sectors like photo-printing, print-on-demand, banner printing, etc has helped the growth of the digital print industry in the country. Furthermore, increasing versioning and personalization have helped make print more targeted to end-users which is increasingly important as the digital world continues to become more and more connected.

ii. Document Management
As businesses become increasingly reliant on IT to deliver products and services and to interact with their stakeholders, a simple, reliable, responsive and secure document management becomes essential to an enterprise. With the IT trends like cloud computing, big data and mobility leading to a rise in demand formore refined document management, new-age challenges and businesses demand require new-age IT solutions. “The next wave of technology advancement in the sphere of Document Management will focus on Digitization and Analytics. Digital Transformation is NOT JUST replacing analogue processes with digital processes through the use of digital, but there is a significant value-add as well,” remarks Sushant Dwivedy, Director – Global Document Outsourcing, Xerox India.

“Digital India initiative is leading to a modernization of record-intensive government services and this initiative can take advantage of advances in big data. Besides, unlike on-premises systems that need to be specially configured to be accessed from one system in the office, today employees are demanding BYOD-based solution that can be easily tapped into from any device with an Internet connection. This in turn gives employees full access to the system, irrespective of their location on the same floor,” says Cássio Vaquero Regional Director, Information Management Division, for Asia-Pacific and Latin America – Kodak Alaris.

iii. Managed Print Services
The managed print services market, on the other hand, continues to gain momentum as enterprises seek to tackle escalating print costs and drive greater business efficiency. This, combined with trends that are affecting the overall print market (mobility, digitization, enhanced integration of documents with workflows, analytics, cloud services, etc), are changing customer’s buying behaviour.

In the area of networking, 2015 saw increasing business in 10G switches, smart switches, high- end routers, rackmount solutions and SMB wireless solutions. “2015 was a watershed year where we decisively saw e-commerce making an impact on business and we also saw many of our VARs manage to emerge through it unscathed as the online price wars cooled down by the end of the year. 2016 will be focussed on high-end routers and range extenders for home networking market and we will see rapid growth in the SMB IT infrastructure. More people will join the internet there by increasing the demand for networking and storage. Wireless solutions will boom in offices, schools, community places with the increasing need to secure the environment. We hope the VAR business will continue to grow and bring new products and services to customers,” says Subhodeep Bhattacharya, Regional Director – India, Netgear.

IP, Wireless and Cloud are the technology trends driving innovation. More and more solutions are adapting IP and offering wireless connectivity. Many significant trends like high-speed wireless, cloud, SAS, mobility, convergence, machine intelligence, etc are on the rise. With these technologies, innovative and improved applications like unified communication solution, biometric identification, IP video surveillance, intelligent building and cities, better law enforcement, increase in safety and many others will be seen on the market in the near future,” says Sagar Gosalia, Sr Vice-President – Marketing & Sales, Matrix Comsec.

Component Business
While the year 2015 witnessed IT vendors increasing their focus on the PC gaming segment, 2016 will foresee more of a flat DiY PC market over 2015. “We expect transition of Intel CPU from Fourth-Gen. to Sixth-Gen. and hence the transition in motherboard mix is expected. There will be more opportunities explored in the gaming segment. In 2015, we reinforced our standing as the motherboard leader in the DiY PC market and we will continue to do that,” replies Sunil Grewal, Director, GIGABYTE Technology (India) Private Ltd.

On the Enterprise front, Vishal Dhupar, Managing Director, South Asia, NVIDIA Graphics Private Ltd, expects to see a steep rise in the start-up companies in the areas of Image, Speech, Video and Text analytics, etc. While on the consumer side, NVIDIA considers 2016 to be a year for gaming. “We are anticipating releases of numerous video games, including new installments for several well-received franchises such as Final Fantasy, Far Cry, Hitman and Mirror’s Edge, etc. And now with easy availability of 4K displays, gaming enthusiasts will soon seek to upgrade their hardware to experience. NVIDIA is very well positioned with a slew of exciting offerings to meet all the needs of the emerging trends in the market,” Dhupar says.

Research and development is at the backbone of any technology breakthroughs. As the demand for power consumption by devices continues to increase, innovative material solutions will be required to address demanding requirements related to product mobility and assimilation. “In 2016, AMD will introduce the highly anticipated Zen (x86) CPU core technology, which is expected to provide 40 percent more instructions per clock cycle, repositioning AMD in the competitive CPU space. These will also aid in delivering high-performance graphics processing units (GPUs), which will be useful in virtual reality and augmented reality acceleration, security features and others,” explains Vinay Sinha, Head of Sales – India, Director – Commercial Business, APJ Mega Region, AMD.
ESM Business

With the semiconductor design sector gaining momentum and the impetus being given to manufacturing in the country in recent times, the Electronic System Design & Manufacturing market will in 2016 grab the maximum eyeballs. It is going to see increasingly sophisticated designs coming directly from system companies serving many end-applications including consumer electronics, enterprise cloud/data centers, IoT, and automotive. Additionally, Electronic Design Automation (EDA) has until now been “horizontal”, providing the same solution for all market segments. Going forward, markets like consumer, automotive and industrial will have differing needs and will need optimized tools and IP.

“From the India perspective, we are still waiting for manufacturing and start-up activity to really take off. Indian electronics entrepreneurs now have a window of opportunity to develop products for the world. In addition, there is still no ‘killer app’ for the IoT. These are all exciting opportunities for ESDM start-ups. I hope that 2016 sees an uptick in the number of entrepreneurs who take advantage of the Government incentives in the ESDM space,” says Jaswinder Ahuja, Corporate Vice-President & Managing Director, Cadence Design Systems (India) Private Ltd.
“2015 was a year with a lot of promise and expression of interest for #MakeinIndia by several countries and companies around the world. Many companies have responded very positively to Modi’s invitation with many of the local and foreign companies focusing their plans on manufacturing mobile phones. In 2016, we expect the approved proposals to start breaking ground of the factories and hopefully more proposals will come in and get approved,” says Somshubhro Pal Choudhury, MD – Analog Devices India.

The Security Industry
As infrastructure and business models continue to evolve, so do the threats against them. According to Anshuman Singh, Director, Product Management of Application Security, Barracuda Networks, “Network dispersion will continue to increase over the next year. Because of the increased adoption of cloud-based business services, traffic flows across these dispersed networks will change.” “The coming year will see increased network dispersion in all forms as organizations expand to more locations, leverage cloud-based service and adopt mobility. The growth of branch offices, microsites, and mobile technologies means that users will become more dispersed. Organizations will look to mitigate network complexity by managing dispersion. Network dispersion will also change the traditional role of the Firewall. Remote locations with Internet connectivity can access cloud apps directly, and Branch Office Firewalls can be configured with the appropriate policies to ensure security, reliability and quality of service,” he says.

Also, BYOD policies will continue to evolve challenging IT administrators to securely manage employee-owned devices on corporate networks. Besides, with the growth of hybrid data center environments, application traffic flows will be more non-deterministic and non-transactional. New data center architectures will require connectivity across multiple deployment surfaces as well as application security that can migrate and scale with virtualized applications.

Sunil Sharma, Vice-President – Sales and Operations, India and SAARC, Sophos, feels that 2016 will be a year when mobile threats will become more than just headline-grabbers. “2016 will see an increase in the number of Android exploits becoming weaponized (as opposed to bugs like Stagefright which was heavily reported earlier in 2015 but was never fully exploited). Interestingly, the iOS platform is also likely to get into the line of fire as the Apple App Store has been seen got hit a few times this year,” he says.

2015 saw continued acceleration of threat evolution. What was considered an “advanced” threat in the years past has become a commodity today, with sophisticated malware and exploits available for the price of a movie ticket. “This year was also notably characterized by security vendors claiming to be able to prevent advanced threat breaches when the reality is, they can’t. It was characterized by organizations recognizing the need to monitor and defend their digital environments differently, but continuing to centre their security programs on the same technologies and approaches they have been using – hoping for a different outcome, but not acting differently,” says Amit Yoran, President, RSA, The Security Division, EMC.

He further points out that as cyber-attack tools and services become increasingly commoditized; the cost of attacking an organization is dropping dramatically, enabling more attacks that do not have financial gain as the primary focus. “Organizations need to realize that financial gain is no longer the only or even the biggest driver of some of their adversaries,” he added.

“In the last five years, three major forces have been responsible for the growth of cybersecurity industry, viz. the expanding attack surface, the industrialization of hacking, and the complexity and fragmentation of the IT security market. We are clearly seeing a streak of organized and targeted crime as was also evident from some of the high-profile security incidents from 2015 in India and globally. A clear lack of integrated security technologies, and a shortage of skilled security professionals will also continue to cripple this market,” observes Jagdish Mahapatra, Managing Director, India and SAARC, Intel Security.

Govind Rammurthy, CEO & Managing Director, eScan, says that Apple witnessed security breaches in its App Store, once with the Instagram app – InstaAgent after it was found to store usernames and passwords for Instagram users and sends them to an unknown server. “The cybercriminals created an illegitimate version of Xcode, Apple Software for creating apps, which convinced iOS developers to download. When the apps were developed and downloaded, the attackers were able to steal data of users and send it to servers they control.”

It has simply become a cliché that breaches are inevitable and that faster detection and more accurate incident scoping are the way forward. To address the business, technology, and threat landscape realities facing them, CSOs and CTOs will require to help organizations get to where they need to be, using technologies that will enable and not hinder their businesses. Simultaneously, they will need to work with security vendors to understand what kinds of threats could be confronting them tomorrow, and far into the future.

Rajesh Maurya, Country Manager, India & SAARC, Fortinet, cites, “Each of the security trends for 2016 that have been predicted will represent a significant and novel challenge for both organizations deploying security solutions and for vendors developing them. As we look ahead into 2016 and at the threats associated with increasing connectedness and the proliferation of new devices, Fortinet is committed to deliver uncompromised security and will further enhance our solutions to meet both the current and future needs of our customers.”

Ranjit Nambiar, Director for India and SAARC – HID Global feels “Mobilizing” security will make it more pervasive and personalized, with a new, more secure identity lifestyle will be built around the convenience of ever-present mobile devices. “As we do more with our phones and increasingly demand anywhere/anytime on-line access, there is the opportunity to better protect these activities while creating a more satisfying, mobile-centric security experience at home, in the office, on the road and online. The industry will enter its next new chapter of connected identities, employing multi-layered security strategies that also include biometrics in order to bind these identities to their legitimate owners,” he states.

The challenges however which will need to be addressed is the lack of standards in the industry at large and how the migration from older technology to newer technology can happen for the end user seamlessly with minimal additional cost investments and least operational issues.

The Mobility Industry
2015 saw depressed growth in broadband internet subscribers, which was mainly due to the inability of the sector to reach the Indian suburban and rural market. In contradiction, Mobile Internet subscription saw a rapid growth as it served rural India with at least 2G plans.

2015 saw a series of Mobile Shopping apps and mobile-friendly “lite” website being presented. 2016 will bring 3G to indian rurals and 4G to urban users. “This will result in a high number of mobile internet buyers. These sets of buyers will become a target for local retailers. Availibility of local retailers on m-commerce will bring new trust level for online buyers,” Tejinder Oberoi, Founder Director, m1order.

Says Debasis Chatterji, CEO, Netxcell Limited, “The future is data, no doubt. But voice business is the core business of any telco. It cannot be neglected. The Call drop issue needs to be looked into above anything else. Preventing Call drop will be a major factor for differentiation.”

The smartphone industry in 2016 will witness a huge increase in the 4G consumption which would, in turn, have a great effect on the kind of media consumption we have through phones. Masses are expected to prefer bigger screen size, better audio experience, better battery life and an increase in the demand for better streaming services. “We will see a higher number of smartphones offering these features entering the market, as users would want to take full advantage of the 4G services. However, optimal data speeds would be required, since more and more subscribers would be shifting to 4G services,” says Sudhin Mathur, Director – Smartphones, Lenovo Group.
Kenny Ye, MD, UCWeb India is of the opinion that there is likely to be a big shift in mobile search. “Also, mobile payments are on the rise around the globe. I expect this trend to take the mobile Internet by storm in the coming quarters. 360° Video is another trend I am bullish on. It will give users complete control over what they want to view and from what angle,” he says.

The e-commerce segment will continue to drive a change in consumers buying behaviour and further move up in the growth trajectory. Website-based e-commerce in 2015 has faced loss in profits due to poor penetration of broadband penetration, but gave enough scope for more mobile apps to be downloaded and used as a result of 2G growth. Another important growth area will be the wearable category which will become increasingly mainstream in 2016.

2016 will certainly witness significant progress in another area, which is digital payments. “With liberalization of KYC norms in Mutual Funds investments and various initiatives by NPCI, we will also witness greater financial inclusion and easier investments and transactions for individuals across the country,” points out Bhavin Turakhia, Founder & CEO, Directi.

India is on the path of becoming the world’s fastest-growing mobile app market where start-ups, financial institutes and even traditional companies are doing their best to keep up with the fast- changing times. The app revolution presents incredible opportunities in several different spaces, including communication, payments, and collaboration.

Digital is the way ahead in every sector
It is going to be an equally great year for most of the other sectors when it comes to adoption of newer technologies. “Banking and financial services will see a lot more traction in adoption and launch of interesting technology to ensure the brands’ presence through the customer lifecycle. The media and entertainment industry will also leverage the progress in bandwidth availability and hardware optimization for better and lasting engagement. Retail will experiment with Internet of Things, with most retailers already having online or omni-channel strategies ready with them for the year ahead,” notes Jayesh Ghatge, Market Partner for ThoughtWorks India.

Digital Solutions will further equal access of health and education across economic and social sectors. The healthcare IT market in India is growing rapidly, as many hospitals are willing to use digital technologies following reduction in errors and the potential to create a seamless treatment process. “With the regulatory support and innovative approaches while leveraging technology for improving patient care, the connected health market will be well-positioned for growth. Healthcare industry players are actively exploring ways to leverage the vast amounts of data that are integrated via connected health devices and services. Currently, the industry is undergoing through a transition phase while India faces the dearth in basic infrastructure facilities to serve the higher demand of quality care services. We believe the opportunities are tremendous only if we connect the dots,” cites Shakthi Nagappan, CEO, BioAsia.

In the area of Media & Entertainment, smaller production companies will begin using the cloud in greater degrees for long-term storage, and we will see a greater move of production to the cloud, with companies doing transcode, rendering, editing and QA. In short, 2016 will be the year that the cloud becomes a reality for many production companies. “In the coming 12 months, we will see an acceleration of content being managed in the cloud. We will also see adoption of IP will accelerate rapidly. In some developing areas, in fact, people will leapfrog cable and satellite television services, going directly to IP-based and OTT services — often delivered to handheld devices,” says Geoff Stedman, Senior Vice President, StorNext Solutions – Quantum.

2015 for the real estate sector was beginning to push the pedal on tech innovation and bring about never-before experience like Virtual Realty, Sky-views, Live-in Tours and locality walk-through. In 2016, property search would see the advent of Artificial Intelligence and virtual search assistants to manage your search. “We would also see new property bookings go online in a significant way,” says Lalit Mangal, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, CommonFloor.

To sum up
“I expect the momentum that started picking up in 2015 in the industry to continue at least until 2017. In my view, Social Media, Mobility, Analytics, and Cloud (SMAC) will drive the next wave of growth for the Indian IT industry, aided further by start-ups. The disruption that is currently being witnessed by the industry is only going to evolve faster in the coming years, catalyzed by the continued migration to a digital world. Newer catalysts like the Internet of Things (IoT) will further provide more opportunities not only for innovations, but also for addressing industry-wide challenges such as that of analytics and cybersecurity,” observes BVR Mohan Reddy, Founder & Executive Chairman, Cyient & Chairman, NASSCOM.

Indeed, 2016 holds big promises for the country. With respect to the various developments that is taking place, the coming 12 months is going to be an interesting phase for any industry stakeholder. The Start-up eco-system will transform for better while major initiatives like ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make In India’ will bring the much needed growth to the Indian IT industry. At the same time, while discussing the key technology trends for 2016, it will not be unwise to say that demand for technology will be truly driven by Customers. And it is they who are going to spur these demands for new technologies and innovative products.

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