Transforming lives with Cloud and AI

The technology building blocks for today's most sought-after services are all delivered through a hybrid multi-cloud model.

The pandemic has further accelerated the speeding adoption of Cloud and AI. This is a worldwide phenomenon being witnessed across industries and sectors. We saw first-hand the healing power of AI and Cloud. When the medical situation saturated the healthcare infrastructure, Cloud and AI helped perform fast automatic diagnosis without compromising on accuracies. And we know how the pandemic has hastened the need for systems that make life and commerce less reliant on physical contact: from virtual assistants for support services and drones in the supply chain, to robots in the manufacturing shop floor and software that drives cars.

The technology building blocks for all these services are AI, machine learning, data analytics and cybersecurity – all delivered through a hybrid multi-cloud model. 

 India is even more interesting and complex because of the uniqueness of the challenges and the India-specificity of the innovations needed to solve them. The singularity in the Indian context is the combination of soaring volume (billions of transactions per month) and low monetary value (a few rupees per transaction). So, the design and cost points of the technology needs to align with this reality. 

As per the website of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), India’s UPI digital payment system was seeing about 1.2 billion transactions per month just before the start of the pandemic. Last month (October 2021), the number of UPI transactions crossed 4.2 billion, a 350% rise over the pandemic months.

Such non-linearly increasing load brings ensuing challenges, such as always-on service availability. Taking another example, for rural microfinancing to be viable enough to attract commercial players, the cost of authentication, authorization and electronic fund transfer has to be negligible, yet fast, since the microtransactions themselves are tiny with an associated single-day lifecycle.  

 India responded by reimagining the payments and identity process with technologies to make them available digitally as public services in scale at trivial cost. Private enterprise has started to thrive on top of these public platforms. Kyndryl, for example, operates the cloud infrastructure that runs digital identity (eKYC) services for a telco operator. Kyndryl also builds and manages the infrastructure that runs rural microfinancing for a bank.  

What are the transformational possibilities with Cloud and AI? 

Enterprises are facing disruption at the business model level today – from banks and retail, to telecom and even call taxis. If a business does not respond, its market share will sink. The solution is to transform through technology. If enterprises make bold moves stitching new digital business models, they not only survive but thrive.

Take the example of taxi services. App-based ridesharing changed the business model with Cloud, AI and analytics, became 40% cheaper as a result, and flourished. Cab companies that continued with the old model saw their business plummet and had to either close down or become niche players.

Many of the 40000 start-ups in India, especially the 40 unicorns among them, are bold in letting digitization permeate and direct their business models; they ride on Cloud, AI, data analytics and cyber-security to convert headwinds into tailwinds. Mass services usually have their front-ends on mobile devices and AI-driven back-ends on the cloud for scalability, availability, resiliency and consumptive billing.  

In the new world, you don’t bring out or even plan all features at first. You start with minimum viable capabilities, test the market, learn from customer behaviour and expand your way iteratively to a successful product.

AI is an aid in this iterative journey and helps design your product to take the shape of what the market wants. Cloud, AI and allied technologies have opened up opportunities for innovators to touch and impact a billion lives and more! 

Krishnan Venkateswaran, CTO, Kyndryl India

About the author: Krishnan Venkateswaran, CTO, Kyndryl India 

Sreekrishnan Venkateswaran is the CTO of Kyndryl India, where he directs technology strategy to power progress for customers. Before moving to Kyndryl, Krishnan was with IBM for 25 years. Krishnan is a Kyndryl Master Inventor, a best-selling technical author, and the General Chair of IEEE International Conference on Cloud Computing in Emerging Markets. He has an M.Tech in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and a PhD in Computer Science from BITS Pilani. 

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