Panel

Focus and changes in digital life and society

There was a panel discussion on digital life and society at the ongoing Dataquest Digital Leadership 2021 conclave.

Opening the discussion, Ms. Meena Ganesh, CEO, Portea Medical, said there have been changes in healthcare, e-shopping, and e-entertainment. The complete incarceration for all of us have been huge. There are new channels such as Netflix, etc. There is lot of gaming going on. Many people of our age group have taken up bridge. There are new things happening in the entertainment industry. Now, Bookmyshow has started streaming services. The theatre experience still remains special though. E-shopping has also exploded. There are about 40+ OTT channels today.

At BigBasket, demand went up 10X. That was a challenge. Once we sorted that out, we saw dramatic growth of business. It has changed lots of habits. This was t the only way to do it. Big changes have happened across shopping. All players have seen growth from many small places. Deliveries are happening across remote locations now. There are lot of rural youth being used to fulfil the last mile.

In healthcare, teleconsultations were quickly made legal. Patients are more keen to take services at home. We are seeing lot of changes in people’s behavior. They are looking at solutions, and especially, remote solutions. The government has come in with new initiatives. There is a digital health stack and they are connected to a common platform. The government is investing a lot in digital health, and e-Sanjivni.

Rajendra S. Pawar, Chairman and Co-Founder, NIIT Ltd, said we have been training people for the last 40 years. Will campus life change in high school? That will see the least change. We haven’t found a single student who does not want to go back to school. There is lot of good enrichment that can happen. There is the time domain that has opened up. The most troubled person today is the teacher. Students are bored and teachers are exhausted. People are equally challenged. Many students who would not ask question, are now asking questions.

People have to learn this way. Organizations are also evaluating and judging. We also need to understand downside. Not more than a fifth of students have a device to access education. Terminal devices are fundamental for electronic education.

Human centric vs. visionary
UB Desai, Founding Director, IIT Hyderabad, said there is human-centric technology. We talked about the OTT platform, healthcare platform, online platform, etc. They have been around for a long time. There may be some NDA signed users, who will provide feedback, as you go along. We also have Virgin Atlantic spacecraft. There is some balance that comes into the play.

Is iPhone a human-centric technology? Jobs was convinced he knew what the users wanted. There is a visionary here. By and large, we have adopted the iPhone. Wright Brothers did not do any human-centric study when they developed the aircraft. Today, we are having human-centric technologies vs. visionary technologies. Can we do this with modern silicon technologies? A typical user will look at one-two years. Maybe, 25 years down the line, perhaps, people can be able to use technologies that are very expensive right now.

An EV also needs a user-centric approach. The person should feel comfortable inside the car. There may also be some passenger drones. It may happen sometime soon. The issue is commercialization. There is massive communication, computing, and memory involved. The user can interact longer. With AR/VR, you can create look and feel. They are not yet commercial, but happening at the fast pace. We need an eclectic approach. We should perhaps, coin a new name.

Sukanta Dey, CEO, Sdela Consulting, was the moderator. He said that physical entertainment is going to change completely. Streaming will also gain ground. Regarding e-commerce, about 70 million have made one transaction so far. We are now having in-home hospitalizations. The iPhone was had much less ownership earlier. Today, women spend more on the iPhone. The sheer look and feel made it more important. Another example is EVs. 5G is still miles away.

Ms. Meena Ganesh said telemonitoring has increased today. It can be a powerful tool for monitoring people with point-of-care devices. At the backend, you can use data, AI, etc. You can monitor people’s health. It can also support a lot in the rural areas. We need to create a healthcare monitor within a community. We also need to create a new use case. We need to have emergency or chronic consultations. Doctors were also doing teleconsultation. Senior doctors were also taking care of patients. There was also remote monitoring of ICUs. You can put in the infrastructure, but there was no connectivity. Today, thin bandwidth remote monitoring of ICUs has started. Taking healthcare to smaller towns and rural areas can dramatically change the quality of care. We can change the access to healthcare significantly by using a combination.

The pandemic has impacted everybody. Mental health is there. Can telemedicine help? Ms Ganesh said yes, telemedicine can help. There can be mental health consultation done in the privacy of your room.

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