India is taking the well-trodden path to digital transformation with an eye on the prize: a US$1 trillion economy by 2022.
In this grand vision of a digital future, the government is eyeing 5 billion connected IoT ecosystem where “everything that can connect, will be connected.”
“[The Internet of Things] IoT will see seamless connectivity move beyond smartphones and gadgets – to connect billions of devices, vehicles, household appliances, monitors and sensors,” a report by The Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (Assocham) and EY noted.
“Smart and intelligent automation will redefine life in the hyper-connected world. This new system of sensors and networks is emerging as a major innovation that will be deeply embedded in all aspects of the city, its functions and society at large,” it added.
The report, “Propelling India to a trillion dollar digital economy: Implementation roadmap to NDCP 2018,” outlines the “interventions and medium- to long-term endeavors required to implement the vision and strategy of this transformative policy.”
NDCP 2018 is India’s National Digital Communications Policy launched in 2018.
Currently, the report noted that of India’s 1.3 billion people, 460 million are online. It is currently the second top smartphone market, next to China.
To maximize this potential, India has been ramping up its strategy of making India “digital,” starting off with the recognition in 2017 that internet access as a basic fundamental right for all Indians in 2017.
“While this was a step in the right direction, nearly 65 percent of Indians are still offline, outlining the potential of connecting the underserved,” the Assocham-EY report observed.
Hence, the NDCP 2018 seeks to dramatically improve connectivity across the country by 2022. The targets: at least 50 Mbps universal broadband connectivity, 50 percent of households with fixed broadband access, 10 million public wifi hotspots, and 5 billion connected IoT ecosystem.
With this, India sees that the “emergence of new technologies – Internet-of-Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) – are set to catalyze connectivity beyond recognition.”
“IoT will see seamless connectivity move beyond smartphones and gadgets – to connect billions of devices, vehicles, household appliances, monitors and sensors. Smart and intelligent automation will redefine life in the hyper-connected world. This new system of sensors and networks is emerging as a major innovation that will be deeply embedded in all aspects of the city, its functions and society at large,” the report noted.
IoT is seen to have expanded uses in industries such as healthcare (remote monitoring, telemedicine, and remote surgery), agriculture (monitoring crop yields, rainfall, soil, etc. and environmental control), power and utilities (smart meter, smart grid, facilities and equipment management), logistics (fleet, navigation and fuel management), financial service (remote sales management and mobile point of sales), and automotive (infotainment and positioning services, in-car emergency systems, and emote diagnostics).
Admittedly, massive investments are required to achieve these 2022 goals.
The report noted that as per estimates, US$60 billion of capital expenditure over the next five to six years is required to deploy services.
EY believes that India should aim for a gigabit society, and an interplay of fixed and mobile technologies will be critical to meet the goals of 2022.
“The real opportunity is to look beyond technology, and find ways to give people the ability to positively impact their families, organizations and communities. At the back of this, India has the potential to unlock a trillion dollar digital economy by 2022 and lead the Fourth Industrial revolution,” concluded Prashant Singhal, Emerging Markets TMT Leader, EY.