SMI Knocks the Door

Given the potential which SMI has, enterprises need to use SMI for innovation and find ways to demonstrate their ability to disrupt market

The world is at an inflexion point where the number of connected devices is expected to double over the next eight years to 50 bn globally. It means communication between these connected devices is set to transform human lifestyle in a big way. However, the symptoms of change have begun to set in. The use of social media, mobility and internet of things (IoT) has sparked animation in several businesses globally. With this theme ‘Harnessing the Power of Social, Mobile and IoT (SMI) for Business Transformation’, the Do Big Symposium, a series of 10 events planned by Tata Docomo across cities, resonated with thoughts, suggestions, and examples from industry leaders and innovators in its maiden show at Hyderabad.

Imagination No More

The symposium brought into picture IoT and witnessed thoughts on how it can change or is changing the human lives. It successfully sent the message that SMI (social, mobile and IoT) is no longer a topic of random discourse, but a tool to innovate and scale. Examples have started surfacing globally how traffic lights, cars, refrigerators, and other connected devices behave on their own to make lives better. India is not untouched by this change, though there are limited examples to serve on the platter. Indian government’s vision to build smart cities cannot be fulfilled without the power of three—Social, Mobile, and IoT.

“SMI technology is rapidly making human life better, enabling them to spend time in constructive chores. SMI is a disruptive technology, proof of which can be ascertained from 800 billion photos taken alone in the year 2013,” said Dr BVR Mohan Reddy, Executive Chairman of Cyient while delivering the keynote address. Dr Reddy also insisted on the urgent need to invest resources that drive growth through unconventional means. Bringing the power of IoT into perspective, Dr Reddy illustrated how an aircraft company installed 1,500 sensors in an aircraft to regularly receive automatic updates about the health of the aircraft and its different parts. The emphasis was laid on using SMI for business growth and making customer service better.

He, however, drew attention towards the associated pitfalls and insisted on looking at beyond the face value as the management of challenges such as the data explosion becomes far more important. The experts at the event too believed that the ability to utilize data would be a critical component for SMI technology. “We need to have tools that can handle the flood of data, since connected devices are a means to grab information/data. Successful handling will allow the industry and users to harness the true power of SMI,” added Dr Reddy.

While the global players are bullish about SMI, users in India are always on the lookout for local examples to be able to replicate and hence adopt. To fill the void, Sai Pratyush, Head, Enterprise Mobility, Tata Teleservices ran the audience through his presentation that had Indian examples to show how SMI can transform the businesses. “By 2020, the number of connected devices is going to multiply. The effective use of social, mobile, and IoT will enable enterprises to become better and smarter,” said Pratyush.

As IoT tools are helping doctors and hospitals treat elderly people globally because they are able to keep watch on the day-to-day activities of the patients, the healthcare industry is keen to take this experience to the next level so that more lives could be saved. Social media is also strengthening the relationship between the employees of an organisation and customers. “FMCG industry loses 4 bn dollars every year since it is not able to store goods in time. Such are the kind of business losses which exist in various industries. But all can be cured if businesses learn to harness the power of SMI. Companies can use video surveillance for market research. One of the market research firms in India uses Tata Docomo tools to do surveys more accurately. About 7,000 school buses in India use a solution deployed by Tata Docomo to track them,” further added Pratyush.

Much More than Connectivity

Those days are also gone when managing mobile connectivity used to be a simple operation—it meant simply providing employees with a corporate cell phone or a BlackBerry, to be exact. Today the use of mobile computing in businesses goes far beyond e-mail access, messaging services and the like. The critical importance of 24/7 workplace connectivity and ability to respond to information regardless of time or location has become broadly recognized.

At the Symposium, the power panel went on to discussing the various sides of SMI technology, particularly mobility. Today on an average, 5 bn devices ping five times a day generating five times data every day. Hence in an increasingly proactive business environment instant access to information can mean the difference between the success and failure of their business.

“SMI has bolstered the business environment dramatically. In my opinion, IoT is a game-changer which has simplified the life and business. Plus it has added interest to even monotonous things. To give an example, the day is not far when there will be 1,500 sensors in a human body. They might not be installed into the body but in a dress we wear so that accurate information about our behavior could be gathered,” suggested Birad Rajaram Yajnik, Managing Director, Visual Quest India.

SMI is becoming mainstream as it has secured its place as an important tool for communication, transformation, business continuity, innovation, marketing, and customer services. “At first glance SMI seems an exciting technology. But it is important to know that businesses stay profitable and make money,” warned Apalak Ghosh, Principal Consultant, CMR India.

Businesses need a pragmatic approach to adopt SMI tools and technologies, and must not overlook the viability. While it is a disruptive technology for the market, it is capable of disrupting a business if unheeded adoption is made.

“Technology is an engagement tool. Businesses should leverage the benefits of SMI to stay competitive and useful,” said Himanshu Khanna, Head, Marketing, Enterprise Business, Tata Teleservices.

Given the potential which SMI has, enterprises need to use SMI for innovation and find ways to demonstrate their ability to disrupt market. “Innovation is the first step to leverage any platform or technology. Your competition can be an inspiration to do this. But it is you who has to find ways to innovate and leverage any tech–social, mobile or IoT,” concluded Niranjan Seelam, Vice President, Strategy and Operations at Zippr.

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