After a cautious waltz through 2023 and rising geopolitical tensions, the IT sector is looking ahead at another challenging year. Just when we thought the year was ready for a graceful exit, still basking in the glow of Generative AI, Google tossed an unexpected curveball with the unveiling of the Gemini AI model.
These groundbreaking innovations, buoyed by the emergence of technologies like IoT, 5G, Blockchain, AI/ML, chatbots, and virtual assistants, serve as neon-lit markers on our ever-evolving IT journey. India's meteoric rise as a global talent hub is an opportunity for us to elevate our status on the global IT stage.
As we look at charting the year ahead for the Indian IT industry, here are some trends for 2024 to look out for:
Democratization and regulation of GenAI
CEOs globally are prioritising investments in generative AI with 66 per cent of CEOs in India considering it as a top investment priority for their organisation. As AI becomes omnipresent and GenAI applications advance, it poses risks to democratic values—privacy, non-discrimination, fairness, and accountability. With this, calls for regulating AI have become commonplace.
Sam Altman's visit to India was prompted by growing concerns amid global governments, including India, seeking to build a case for regulating AI-based tools. However, the responsibility of shaping the regulations should not be delegated solely to technocrats and governments. Ultimately, it is imperative to foster collaboration among all stakeholders impacted by AI, including the public that can be impacted both in their personal and professional spheres.
Transition from digital-first to secure-first strategy
The average cost of a data breach in India reached an "all-time high" valued at Rs 17.9 crore in 2023, almost a 28 per cent increase since 2020, according to the IBM Security report. As a response, many IT leaders are migrating to zero trust models for securing enterprise users, workloads and IoT/OT environments in a highly distributed cloud and mobile-centric world.
The evolution of AI and automation in cybersecurity is helping to create unified solutions that integrate various security components and a wholistic security strategy today necessitates the synergy of human and machine capabilities.
However, while CEOs across the globe recognize the potential benefits of AI/ Generative AI in detecting cyber attacks, they are also wary of the potential risks associated with its use. Infact, AI is seen as a double-edged sword for 77 per cent of CEOs in India, both enhancing cybersecurity efforts and creating new vulnerabilities for adversaries to exploit.
Boom in data centers with increasing AI models and data computation
A few years ago, most of India's data found its home in far-flung locations, often traversing undersea cables in the Indian Ocean, including hubs like Singapore. However, as data consumption has surged with the introduction of 5G, IoT and Generative models, cloud adoption has gained momentum, and the demand for high-speed computation has reached unprecedented heights.
Indian companies are making substantial investments to propel the development of data center services. Presently hosting 138 data centers, India has ascended to become the 13th largest market for these services globally. Furthermore, by 2026, the Indian data centre industry is expected to rise by US$ 8 billion.
To foster this growth, the government of India is formulating a comprehensive data center policy aimed at attracting investments and accelerating the country's ongoing data center expansion.
This strategy includes the establishment of data center economic zones and Data Centre Facilitation Units (DCFU), the incorporation of data centers under the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), and the development of a distinct category code for data centers under the National Building Code of India.
Serverless and pay-as-you-go cloud
With serverless, the conventional headache of managing servers becomes a relic of the past. The beauty lies in the simplicity: you only pay for the computing resources your code utilizes as it executes. It's akin to having instant cooking power that intelligently scales up and down, responding precisely to the demands of your application, making the software development process not just faster, but fundamentally more efficient.
This means, no more wrestling with the complexities of server provisioning, scaling, or maintenance – it's a developer's dream come true. From a financial perspective also, the pay-as-you-go cloud model is a game-changer. It eliminates the need for upfront capital investment in fixed server capacities, providing a cost structure that aligns precisely with actual usage. This newfound agility is why IT leaders are gravitating towards serverless models; it's not merely a trend, but a strategic shift.
Further, the incorporation of managed services seamlessly complements the pay-as-you-go model, offering an additional layer of optimization and efficiency. As we embrace serverless architectures, the integration of managed services elevates our capacity to innovate while maintaining operational excellence.
In conclusion, the technology landscape of 2024 is poised to be shaped by a convergence of innovation and ethical responsibility. The coming together of AI, cybersecurity, and data infrastructure necessitates collaborative efforts to navigate challenges while harnessing the vast potential for a progressive and inclusive IT ecosystem in India.
-- Sunil Gupta, Co-founder & CEO, Yotta.