Certain years are so eventful that they are etched in the annals of history. The year 2020 will long be remembered and analysed for one event in particular: the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed more than 1.8 million lives around the world and changed the way we live, work, and use technology.
While the pandemic has caused devastating economic and social disruption, it has also created opportunities for reform and fuelled our collective digital ambitions. Confined to their homes, people moved online for everyday activities such as entertainment, education, banking and work. Work from home and social distancing have underscored a new urgency for digital connectivity and innovation— ushering in an era for the Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) sector that may last well beyond the pandemic. Post COVID-19, TMT is going to be very much at the forefront of everything we do. It will be the competitive differentiator for how all businesses and ecosystems work. The advent of technologies such as AI, IoT, AR and VR, has today brought into reality the feasibility of conducting online business for sectors such as education, healthcare, consulting, retail, all of which were mainly centered around personal interaction.
KPMG in India, in association with IMC and COAI, recently published ‘TMT industry CEO outlook: Smart, Secure, Sustainable’, which evaluates the TMT sector’s response to the pandemic, and the prevalent perceptions towards challenges and opportunities brought about by digital acceleration. The report is based on a survey of 300 TMT CEOs from India - a mix of executives from Fortune 500 companies and startups. It captures perspectives and views from CEOs on the challenges and opportunities brought about by digital acceleration as well as on how the TMT sector is digitally empowering businesses to ensure future survival and gain a competitive edge on a global scale.
The pandemic has led to the emergence of significant, historically latent risk factors that could pose challenges going forward. Against the backdrop of increased digitalisation and simmering geopolitical tensions, threats related to cyber security and privacy of data have the potential to become major impediments to TMT growth.
The government has taken steps to expand the reach of TMT across the country, including:
In addition, key initiatives rolled out under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan include Production-linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme, Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semi-conductors, and Electronics Manufacturing Cluster (EMC) Scheme 2.0. Some recommendations for likely government interventions include reduction in duties and levies, improvement in backhaul, Right of Way (RoW) rules and other infrastructure-related initiatives, as well as ease of doing business and spectrum-related changes.
The life of a digital customer has been transformed in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed organisations’ internal operations along with fueling the digital shift among Indian businesses. Digitisation of operations, creation of digital revenue streams, seamless customer experience, and next-generation workforce models are some of the enablers of digital acceleration that the pandemic has triggered. A business-led transformation, which is also technology enabled, could be vital in this digital transformation journey.
Enterprises need to assess the potential of digital transformation technologies for ensuring survival and gaining a competitive edge. Digital transformation has necessitated the use of innovative solutions and emerging technologies.
Telecom operators in India have been effectively investing to upgrade their technological capabilities. Some potential areas that could showcase collaboration between telecom operators and technology companies include 5G and its adoption, cloud computing, blockchain, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and machine learning, big data analytics, and augmented reality and virtual reality.
The innovation and progress in the TMT sector will certainly be a critical factor in driving India’s broader digital ambitions. With growth in digital demand and the emergence and adoption of new technologies, the future of the sector in India looks both exciting and promising. As the sector adjusts to the new reality, TMT leaders will seek to harness the next wave of growth sparked by the digital revolution.