India's first smart street lighting project being implemented for the pink city of Jaipur has a bit of artificial intelligence (AI) in it. Microsoft Azure Internet of Things (IoT) is powering the project that targets replacing all 1.98 lakh conventional street lights with Samudra LED lights. The capital investment is zero while Jaipur Nagar Nigam (JNN) is already saving 34,189 mega-watt annually in phase-I, after 70,652 lights are replaced. JNN and Rajasthan government are likely to make a huge saving of Rs 100 crore in energy and maintenance cost in 10 years. Samudra LED has deployed a customised Microsoft IoT-based solution to monitor, control and manage the street lights.
This is one of the rare examples of how new tech-based models are changing ordinary lives for better in India. Surely, the narrative for digital transformation has changed completely in developed countries -- from pure personal computers to clients/servers and later, to mobile and cloud', and now, to 'intelligent cloud' and 'intelligent edge'. A few years back, you were buying just a car, but today, you are buying a connected car with intelligent edge'.
Global tech giants are building new customer experiences across the globe. But how much of these new technologies - AI, IoT and machine learning (ML) - are helping India? Despite being a pool of technology talents, India has a steep learning curve.
Proudly showcasing a suite of products at his Hyderabad campus, president of Microsoft India Anant Maheshwari estimates an opportunity worth over $100 billion in India. Apart from Microsoft, Google and IBM have also showcased several products based on these technologies that can make agriculture, education, healthcare, banking, workplaces and manufacturing much more smarter and effective. ML is an application of AI giving machines access to data and letting them learn for themselves. Across the globe, there is a surge in investments to develop powerful tools based on these technologies.
The AI-based Sowing App for farmers, developed by Microsoft in India, is proving to be a blessing for a couple of thousand farmers from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka for a host of crops including groundnut, ragi, maize, rice and cotton. The App was developed to help farmers achieve optimal harvests by advising on the best time to sow using data about weather conditions, soil quality and other indicators. But such tools are yet to reach millions of hapless farmers in the country.
Homes abroad have seen a digital transformation with tools supported by IoT and ML. They enable users to control air-conditioning, lighting, and purchase of groceries depending on the stock, through smartphones.
Big data is another field that could fire up India. It is nothing but complex or huge data that conventional data-processing techniques find difficult to manage. Using mathematical and statistical models and algorithms, data sets are analysed to reveal unfamiliar correlations and patterns. Its applications cover healthcare, banking and manufacturing, among others. But India has a long way to go.
What is immediately needed is a vibrant ecosystem. The government, industry and academia should join hands and collaborate to build one to drive untold benefits for India's growing economy. India's next growth can come from these transformative technologies. If Donald Trump succeeds in deporting high skilled Indian techies back to India, we should be happy to engage them on projects to drive a massive digital transformation in the country.
Source: DNA India