Sharpening a technology edge to navigate uncertainty – Part II

Sharpening a technology edge to navigate uncertainty – Part II

Companies that embrace, invest in, and deploy technology wisely will emerge stronger and better prepared to handle the next spate of challenges

Finding right talent – a key challenge

AI has the potential to add US$957 billion, or 15% of India’s current gross value in 2035. The combination of the technology, data and talent that make intelligent systems possible has reached critical mass, driving extraordinary growth in AI investment. New solution architectures like edge computing and more efficient Deep Learning (DL) models make AI more accessible and high-performance than ever.Understanding the importance of AI compute, countries are also committing significant resources to AI chipset design and development. However, finding analytics talent will remain a key challenge that companies will have to overcome. Adoption of AI and ML to create a data-driven organisation must be high on the charter of every CEO.

Even with a tech-savvy talent pool, renowned universities, healthy levels of entrepreneurship and strong corporations, India lags on key indicators of AI development. The stakes are high. The country remains the most competitive in South Asia, yet trails many other G20 countries in AI. This despite Indian companies adopting AI technology at a larger scale, the country’s investments in tech infrastructure, and the ever-improving tech skills of its citizens.

Cybersecurity an enterprise priority

Digital transformation and adoption of AI, ML Internet of Things, and Cloud technologies have increased cybersecurity risks for countries as well as companies. India witnessed 18 million cyber-attacks and 200,000 threats a day in the first quarter of 2022. CERT-In (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) reported that a total number of 14,02,809 and 6,74,021 cybersecurity incidents were observed during 2021 and 2022 (up to June) respectively. CERT also highlighted growing ransomware attacks on Indian organisations. Heightened risks stemming from a hostile geopolitical landscape, trade wars with China, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict are pushing security higher on the enterprise priority list. The focus is on cost-effective asset protection through encryption technologies, and increased emphasis on access control and authentication to minimise threats from more formidable state-backed threat actors.

This is creating a surge in demand for industrial cybersecurity solutions – not just for industrial endpoint and network protection, but also backup, recovery, and threat intelligence. Resilience of this infrastructures is the key need, so they can continue to function even under degraded conditions. This includes resilience in terms of distributing operations; something not easily achieved for large industrial infrastructure. Overall, the industrial cybersecurity market is finally stepping up to the pressing demands around risks that have been quantified for over a decade now.

Location technology for supply chain

With a surge in commodity and energy prices fuelled by the war in Ukraine and affecting an already-vulnerable COVID-19 economy, the expected post-pandemic economic boom now looks like the start of a global recession. Knock-on effects can be seen around the world with national economies (e.g., Sri Lanka) suffering greatly and the United States recording a 40-year high inflation rate of 9.1% in May. Now is a crucial time for location technology, specifically in the RTLS (Real-Time-Location-Systems) and 5G spaces, to manage supply chains. There is clear need for asset visibility enabled by location solutions. Asset tracking is a major use case and the need for affordable, low-power, and low-complexity devices is driving innovation across almost every location technology.

Building a resilient organisation

The list of technologies that will have profound impact on business ranges from blockchain and quantum computing to brain-computer interfaces, which are in their early stages of adoption.But the pace of development is quickening at an exponential rate every day. The best way out of a downturn, they say, is to continue investing – but only if you pick the right areas. Prioritise investments that maximise revenue growth, profitability, and resilience. This includes targeted and coordinated investments in technology, talent, and insights that help drive customer value and accelerate differentiation coming out of the downturn.

The next year is unlikely to look like the 2020 shutdown or any past recession, rendering many assumptions about customers, and their behaviour, useless. The ideal strategy will be to invest in more relevant and reliable customer data to help sharpen your audience, targeting strategy, and shift budgets to higher-yielding tactics with proven financial value. While the pandemic pushed the need for new tech for immersive digital experiences and anywhere work, the current economic headwinds will demand more focus on tech tuned for optimisation and resilience. However, this doesn’t mean you should dial back on digital experience innovation. Keep pushing forward, but prioritise investments that also reduce operational costs.

The most important business lessons learned during 2020 is that technology can be an important tool to navigate uncertainty. Companies that embrace, invest in, and deploy technology wisely will no doubt emerge stronger and better prepared to handle the next spate of challenges on the horizon, no matter the weather.

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