While 2015 saw technologies such as social, mobility, big data analytics, cloud services, connected devices and machine learning coming together to disrupt the way business was being done, 2016 will see a majority of these ideas becoming a reality with smartphones playing a pivotal role.
TRENDS TO WATCH
Digital is likely to emerge as the most prominent trend for 2016. Digital, which up until now has largely meant having a presence online, will redefine the way businesses are carried out. Enterprises are expected to change business models to make processes and transaction seamless and automated, minimizing the need for human interference.
Connected devices, aka Internet of things (IoT)
IoT, which was the most hyped trend in 2015, will start to pick up this year. As companies continue to pour money into connected machines (an ecosystem where machines can exchange information over the Internet), new real-life use cases will start getting implemented including smart home solutions and wearable devices. IoT will also become mainstream in enterprises such as manufacturing facilities and research labs.
Machine learning, cognitive learning and artificial intelligence (AI)
With Amazon’s Echo, Apple’s Siri, Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana already pushing the boundaries, these technologies are going to become mainstream for enterprises in 2016. AI, at present, is primarily based on predefined codes and algorithms. This year will see ‘deep learning’ becoming more common where machines will start to learn by themselves at large by recognizing patterns in a way the human brain does.
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)
While VR and AR have been talked about for the past few years, industry has seen very few implementations in real life. Much of what has remained in proof of concepts and in pilot projects inside enterprise research centres is expected to be implemented in real-life cases this year. More companies, primarily those in e-commerce space, will use these technologies to retain consumers and grow sales.
Analysts see network virtualization—a process that combines hardware and software network resources and network functionality into a single, software-based administrative entity—picking up in India in 2016. While software defined networks, wherein a network is automated, maintained and monitored, have been used for a while outside India, it is expected to become a reality in the country this year.
COMPANIES AND PEOPLE TO WATCH
The top five IT companies: Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, Infosys Ltd, Wipro Ltd, HCL Technologies Ltd and Tech Mahindra Ltd are expected to transform themselves into new-age technology companies using a mix of strategies of mergers & acquisitions and strategic partnerships. In 2016, these tech firms will invest more than ever in robotics, artificial intelligence and big data analytics.
InMobi Technologies Pvt. Ltd: The Bengaluru-based ad-tech (advertisement technology) company remains one of the top picks by industry analysts to watch out for this year. The company has been giving a tough fight to the likes of Facebook and Google, which have been sharpening their focus on mobile advertising in India which contributes significantly to their overall revenues.
Microsoft Corp.: With the company betting big on India with its newest offering, Windows 10, and cloud-computing platform Azure, analysts say it is worth a wait to watch how the story unfolds for the company, which completed 25 years in India in 2015.
SAP SE: The company, for which India is one of the largest markets, is investing millions of dollars in upgrading its SAP HANA platform, which was originally designed to perform real-time analytics, and developing and deploying real-time applications, to remain relevant at a time when big data analytics and artificial intelligence are becoming mainstream in enterprises.
Ramco Systems: The Chennai-based company, a part of the $1 billion diversified Ramco Group of companies and a provider of ERP (enterprise resource planning) solutions on cloud, is using mobility and analytics to solve problems in the human resource industry. Analysts say it is one of those companies that are using innovative mobile applications to handle HR-related issues for enterprises.