How can India handle the oncoming data explosion?

We are now understanding who has got what data, and in what format. We need to make data available in the offline mode. 

Pradeep Chakraborty
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DQ Conclave.

Srikant Sastri, Chairperson Geospatial Data Promotion & Development Committee, and Kamal Nath, CEO, Sify Technologies, were in conversation with Minu Sirsalewala, Executive Editor, CyberMedia, on how can India handle the oncoming data explosion.


Nath, Sify, said most of the data is getting generated outside the data center. Every piece of digitalization will happen on data. Data also gets stored. Form factor of content is also key. Video is also the key, and shatter all barriers. With 5G, it is becoming more popular. It can also move from video to VR.

Sastri, GDPDC, we also have platforms that generate lot of data. Enterprises also generate lot of data. Hotels, telcos, banks, etc., also have data. Government has a ton of data that may not be well organized. Data is a way of deriving intelligence, and building services around them. Facebook built better features around photos. They have built sophisticated solutions. Some banks and airlines are also very smart at using data.

How do you manage the unstructured data? Nath said we don't handle customer data. Data is creating impact on data center side, the epicenter of digital transformation. Our customers also manage their own data. We help store customers' data in our data centers, but the responsibility of the data is that of the customers. Data center capacity in India today is about 800MW. The same MW will be added over the next two years. It will make India bigger than Singapore. Most data is unstructured. That's where GenAI will come in. It can be used for improving lives and health, and business.


Sastri noted that enterprise tech stack is fairly clear. They are currently in silos. In the new initiative, under GDPDC, we are making data available and easily used by private sector. If you add all features, that will be great. Geolocation services are great. Eg., in insurance, we can find earthquake-prone zones, besides fires, landslides, etc. Local intelligence can also transform the transportation sector. Department of Agriculture and Soil will also allow right plans. We are sure that we will get there by 2035.

We haven't even started working on the tech stack. We are now understanding who has got what data, and in what format. We need to make data available in the offline mode. 

Nath said security is no. 1 concern for everyone. Data is lying in multiple places. Security is in location where data is stored. We also have data processing. Data privacy is equally crucial. Next is data integrity, to take on deepfakes. Technology is still a work in progress. There is high level of sensitivity toward this subject. NBFCs were earlier not as regulated as banks. Now, they are coming under RBI and higher regulation. IoT security is also very important.  Sastri added the government is more liberal in sharing data than private sector.


Nath said they set up the first data center in Navi Mumbai in 2000. The capacity was 0.9MW. Today, it has shot up. Every bank today has availability zones where they have data centers. They are setting up data centers in at least one more city. We are managing the data center for say, UPI. Today, disaster recovery is not sufficient. It has different meaning post the pandemic. Singapore data center growth has slowed down due to lack of space. With renewable energy, they will need lot of space. Digitalization of the edge is now much faster than digitalization at the core. GenAI will take a formidable shape in India, along with 5G. It is better to keep your data distributed.

Sastri said the data being dealt with at the geospatial committee, we are mentoring lot of AI-developed startups. There are risks for copyright adoption, etc. There are also conversational chatbots. Early adoption is also happening in personalized marketing. We can make transportation and logistics better. We can improve our ranking in the globe.

Nath stated that data explosion leads to fast growth of the economy. Startups are now emerging to look at unsolved challenges.


Data explosion