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The Digital India Opportunity (ET Telecom Blog Series)

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The Digital India Opportunity (ET Telecom Blog Series)

Sanjay Kaul, Managing Director, Service Provider Sales, Cisco India & SAARC
Published in ET Telecom

Like the rest of the industry, the service provider segment globally, and in India is undergoing a transition thanks to emerging technology trends. The change especially in India is closely associated with other factors that include social, economic and political.

From a technology perspective one of the most talked about trends today is the Internet of Everything (IoE). Expected to create $19 trillion in value over the next 10 years, this gives service providers a tremendous opportunity to create value for both enterprises and consumers. According to Cisco figures, IoE is estimated to create business value of up to $511 billion over the next decade in India. This includes $394.4 billion in the private sector and $116.2 billion in the public sector.

The other opportunities for service providers are the increase in Machine-to-Machine (M2M) connections and proliferation of mobile devices. As indicated by the Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2014 to 2019, there will be 5.3 billion mobile users as well as 11.5 billion mobile-ready devices, including 8.3 billion personal mobile devices and 3.2 billion M2M connections by 2019.

Digital India programme

All of the above along with the Governments of India’s move for empowering its population by making the country a digital economy means that service providers will play an increasingly important role in the digital disruption as we move rapidly toward a mobile and cloud-based world. The Digital India initiative will transform the way industries such as banking, retail and manufacturing operate today.

The huge surge in mobile devices, Internet connectivity along with digital services both in private as well as government sector will need massive networks and infrastructure. Therefore the opportunity in the market is big for partners, especially global service providers (GSPs). With the government keen on involving private players in key areas such as National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN), service providers are in a unique position to leverage the digitization opportunity and need to work closely with the government and private sector, to make the most of initiative like the Smart Cities program. Engaging in public-private-partnership (PPP) models is the best way forward.

Using the latest technology by partnering with vendors (for example Cisco) can put them in a sweet spot to capitalize on various government initiatives by being both an enabler and value-adding partner. Three critical factors will determine the extent to which service providers can capitalize on the opportunities that lie ahead:

  • Transform the experience: Deliver new experiences that add value to consumers.
  • Transform the business: Create new business models and revenue streams that allow service providers to bring innovative services to market at a faster pace.
  • Transform the architecture: An open architecture can create a platform of possibilities that will help service providers reduce operating expenses and increase revenues.

While the benefits are obvious and the need to transform is mandatory, the path is not easy. Service providers are looking to improve their top lines, reduce their spending and move with speed and agility in deploying new services. In a digitized economy where more number of connections will become a reality, success will come not just by changing business models and innovating new ways to generate revenue, but also with a change in mindset. The light at the end of the tunnel though, is that service providers are open to change.

In summary therefore, as the service provider segment undergoes transformation, there will be a set of challenges, which when overcome, can make it exciting for all stakeholders including enterprises, consumers and service providers themselves.

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