In Conversation with Prakash Mallya, Intel India

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally forced a hard reset to the way we live and work. As organizations navigated their way through the pandemic, digital transformation continues to get significantly accelerated. For many organizations, digital transformation has implied rapidly scaling-up their digital journeys, and fostering change, either at the core of the enterprise, or at the adjacencies. On the other hand, many organizations failed to transform themselves, and move forward.

As we look at the decade ahead, it posits many new possibilities underlined by some major transformative technology trends.

I managed to have some time with Prakash Mallya, VP & MD – Sales, Marketing & Communications Group, Intel India to explore the technological dynamics at play, and the possibilities that the future holds. With his vast wealth of knowledge with unrivalled expertise, there is no one better than Prakash to guide us with his perspective.

Megatrends driving Digital Acceleration

I believe ‘digital-first’ has to be the guiding principle for organizations seeking to build resilience and overcome future pandemic shocks. Moving forward, organizations would need to be agile, and keep pace with these technology trends to be resilient in the neo normal.

According to Prakash, “Technology has never been as vital for humanity before. The pandemic has accelerated the pace of digital transformation, bringing significant economic and social changes while paving the way for a new normal. There are four major tech inflections driving digital transformation – Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud, Connectivity fueled by 5G, and the Intelligent Edge.”

The proliferation of the hybrid cloud is delivering new levels of efficiency and scale and the growth of the cloud is leading to the democratization of high-performance computing. AI and Machine Learning (ML) are being increasingly infused into every application to create dramatically better insights. The rapid adoption of 5G is fueling new use cases that demand lower latencies and higher bandwidth. This in turn is driving computing at the edge, closer to where the data is created and consumed. 

These are superpowers because each expands the impact of the others and together, they are transforming nearly every industry and improving our lives in unexpected ways. 

Rise of a Digitally Resilient India

As the country emerges from the pandemic, the focus is on economic recovery, sustained development and growth, and most importantly, building resilience for future emergencies. Cloud will continue to be the preferred, most efficient service delivery model. It will democratize technologies like AI and the Internet of Things (IoT), helping create population-scale solutions that will reach the remote corners of India.  

Technology-enabled hybrid work models will continue to remove barriers of location, moving work to smaller towns and expanding access to the best talent. Enterprises will be able to tap into specific skill sets from across the country, accelerating innovation in solving real-world problems.  

Increasing digital consumption across key sectors like healthcare, education, retail and commerce, agriculture, logistics, etc. will drive a diversified ecosystem, including flourishing startup sectors focused on innovations for India and the world. In education, for example, a more robust e-learning ecosystem will empower the masses with access to quality curriculums and instructors.

Localized infrastructure development and growth will be key for building resiliency and powering the country’s digital economy. The confluence of the technology superpowers will enable greater automation across industries and drive grassroots development by ensuring seamless access to information and essential services.

AI + Cloud + 5G = Quality Remote Healthcare

The pandemic has catalysed the adoption of digital technologies and contributed to strengthening India’s digital healthcare infrastructure. I believe going forward, healthcare providers will continue to embrace foundational technologies such as Cloud and IoT, alongwith AI to reimagine patient point of care.

According to Prakash, “Technologies like AI are already changing the way healthcare is delivered, enabling care-at-a-distance strategies that help identify diseases, allow timely interventions, and expedite recovery. Through the pandemic, we have also seen Cloud technology play a critical role in tracking affected people, sharing important information, scaling teleconsultation services, and the roll-out of the vaccination drive.”

In the future, the confluence of cloud, 5G, and AI will bring to bear use cases in providing ultra-reliable remote healthcare including scheduling and digitizing complex surgeries. This is especially critical for a country like India where we have the challenge of a low doctor-patient ratio and need innovation that will help deliver expert care to the remotest parts of the country.

Intel remains committed to enabling transformative solutions to make healthcare more accessible, personalized, and intelligent. Our portfolio of compute, memory, storage, and networking technologies powers some of the most exciting healthcare and life sciences applications.

I believe for those at risk of diabetic retinopathy, the convergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and retinal diagnosis holds promise.

A recent example of the impact and innovation that can be made possible with Intel technology is Netra.AI, a cloud-based AI solution that can scale rapidly to enable faster and accurate detection of retinal disorders, even in large populations with limited healthcare resources. This is very relevant for an overburdened Indian healthcare system. 

The Advent of 5G

5G promises extreme bandwidth, ultra-low latency, security and reliability. I believe 5G will be a transformative change agent for enterprises everywhere,  and will enable them to bring forth new solutions forward for their success.

According to Prakash, “Innovations in the public networks aside, 5G will play a pivotal role in future enterprise success in the country. Enterprises can use the combination of the network, AI and edge to deliver new business outcomes based on enhanced control and connectivity through private network solutions. They can go to market faster, provide instantaneous and customized services, deliver improved user experiences, and act on insights from ever-growing amounts of data. We believe these solutions will be implemented across a wide range of industries – in warehouses, in factories, educational institutions, retail locations, etc. The opportunities are endless. Enterprises are currently thinking about the possibilities of 5G, including the benefits they foresee the technology will bring to their organizations and the most impactful use cases they can look to deploy. The 5G opportunity is crucial for businesses to keep pace with innovation.

Enabling an Indian semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem

The pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities in the global semiconductor supply chain.  Alongside, geopolitics adds its own challenges. For India, my opinion is that this is an opportune moment to focus on enabling policies to foster India’s rise as a manufacturing hub.

According to Prakash, “The digitization of everything has resulted in an unprecedented demand for semiconductors. The global chip shortage has constrained capacities across industries and governments are looking for solutions to reduce disruptions. But the semiconductor industry is a long-term game with high barriers to entry and real solutions will take time and strategic thinking to implement.”

It’s important to note that the ecosystem around semiconductors and devices is diverse. While we have phones and personal computers on the consumer side of things, opportunities also lie in the industrial Internet of things (IIoT), edge innovation, and human-centric AI – all connected to compute. The goal is to turn India into a booming destination to build IT sector products and solutions spanning PCs, servers, cloud, IoT, network infrastructure, and beyond.

The IT manufacturing journey from research to market depends entirely on driving an industry-led focus with strategic alignment across government initiatives. The Indian government’s Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme is a step in the right direction,” adds Prakash.

Supportive policies and legal framework, infrastructure, logistics, communications, connectivity, public-private collaboration, and skilled labour are all key to boosting manufacturing innovation, productivity, and competitiveness.

Intel’s Play in an Everything from Home Context

The pandemic and associated lockdowns ushered in a neo normal marked by remote communication and collaboration. Overnight, in an everything-from-home context, digital connectivity became key for business continuity. PC demand soared for an array of use case contexts, including work, learning and even play.

According to Prakash, “Intel continues to enable unmatched user experiences on one of the world’s most fundamental technologies: the PC. The demand for PCs has been stronger than ever as the pandemic has driven us to work, learn and play from home in unprecedented numbers. Our homes have become our offices, classrooms and lecture halls, social meeting places, and entertainment arenas.

Intel continues to match this demand and deliver leadership innovation in the PC client. This year alone we have announced processor families that enable entry to premium experiences across business, education, and mobile and desktop gaming categories. For gaming, we’ve recently launched our 11th Gen H-series mobile processors that offer desktop-caliber gameplay from anywhere. At Computex this year we announced new additions to our 11th Gen Intel Core U-series family delivering up to 5GHz in high volume thin and light designs.

Beyond the CPU, Intel continues to bring other product technologies that advance the PC experience. Connectivity is essential to delivering anytime, anywhere computing experiences and Intel offers the most advanced client connectivity solutions with our leadership products like Thunderbolt 4 and Intel Wi-Fi 6E. We recently also announced the launch of the Intel 5G Solution 5000 – our first 5G product for the next generation of PC experiences. 

Intel also continues to work with the industry to bring the experience all together in a platform. Intel Evo symbolizes a brand of laptops that are rooted in real-world experiences and co-engineered with partners to be exceptional, without compromise. These designs are verified for mobile experience, including responsiveness, instant wake, long battery life, and leadership connectivity.