Dataquest in an interaction with Satish Jadhav, Director, IoT, Intel, tries to unfold some key elements of the company’s strategy in the burgeoning IoT market, also digging deeper into its specific role in the digital India campaign, and the company’s growth expectations for the near future.
What is your view on the IoT (Internet-of-Things) opportunity at present? How is it evolving?
Irrespective of which vertical we are looking at, be it retail, or the smart city kind of initiative that the government is looking at, there is a huge opportunity that is evolving in the IoT space. If you look at the last 10-15 years, the cost of sensors has gone down by almost 10 times. The cost of connectivity has come down by around 40X and the cost of compute platform has come down by nearly 60X. That is what is driving this whole evolution called IoT today. As the leader in compute innovation what we are doing is designing and bearing the key technologies that will enable the Internet-of-Things. If you look from an Intel’s strength perspective, we have been pretty much in the datacenter, server, printer space, and that’s the market we have evolved in. That’s where the compute part plays a very important role.
From a connectivity perspective, we see a huge opportunity in making the legacy devices connected.
We have been evolving from a classic semi conductor platform and today we have offerings from hardware to software and services that kind of builds an end-to-end framework for IoT. We see there are three important pillars which the IoT stands on- connectivity, manageability and security.
Can you talk about some specific IoT related opportunities in India?
There is a huge opportunity we see coming up in India especially with the Digital India initiative of the new government and the Smart City plan in India.
There is a huge opportunity coming across different verticals. What we are looking at is a three focus vertical approach which covers the majority of the applications or opportunities that are evolving. First one being industrial, which pretty much includes all your asset management, factory automation and technical stuff. Second being retail automation that includes everything from point-of-sale signages to the new government initiative of having a uniform GST spread across India. The third is the e-Governance services. IoT is meant for improving the services, bringing better efficiency in the system and driving better statistics for the consumers. The e-Governance and services part is really going to play a big role.
Let me take an example related to the state of Karnataka. The Public Distribution System that the government drives is probably one of the largest distribution networks globally as per some of the reports. What we have done here is, we have worked with a couple of system integrators to develop an integrated, connected, intelligent solution which is a combination of electronic weighing scale and point- of-sale terminal. It gives you real time visibility in terms of say, actual stock level or disbursement level in a particular fair price shop.
If you look from an overall solution perspective, it gives some major benefits. It brings absolute transparency, efficiency and better customer experience into the system. From the government perspective, it is getting absolute, real time information about supply chain, and they are able to reduce the distribution loss to a large extent.
What is Intel’s role in the Digital India initiative? Can you elaborate?
Around 80% of the population today is not even connected to the system. We have been working with the state governments and the central government and trying to help them draft the overall solution blueprint on how they are really working. Intel being the technology leader or the technology building block provider, we obviously don’t have products on our own to offer in any solution. What we do here is we work with various ecosystem partners to design the solutions and see how can you really put it into the system.
In the specific Digital India campaign, our effort has been on helping the government build a solution blueprint showcasing different components needed for effective service delivery, and giving solution recommendations across various categories, which obviously involve the hardware, software and the services part of it. So our job as a technology leader in this whole domain is to create that ecosystem which is scalable and which is implementable also.
We have just announced our joint initiative with the state of Chhattisgarh were we have designed to build Naya Raipur as a smart city. We have been working with them to help them build a blueprint of solutions, which are implementable, scalable and can help them create the ecosystem that will help in speeding up deployment and make them really citizen centric.
What kind of growth is Intel expecting from its IoT business in the near future?
IoT is definitely one of the fastest growing business segments for Intel and we have a huge focus on this. There is a lot of scope for this overall IoT space to drive new initiatives in different industry verticals. Intel’s strategy here interestingly is moving a lot beyond the hardware play. If you look at the IoT movement, there is huge amount of data that is being created irrespective of which vertical you are talking about, which means the big data market is really getting more active. From the demand perspective India is going to see a huge amount of data explosion. The big data revolution will play a very important role here.
We are ready to foster the big data ecosystem in India through our broad collaboration with our partners, building partnerships with various ecosystem partners. From an India centric perspective our strategy is pretty much to combine our hardware, software and services assets, to solve the customer challenges in deploying IoT solutions. Broadly our mission is to accelerate IoT with open standard industry collaboration, providing end-to-end solutions. We are investing in building the right ecosystem that would help enable all this.