IoT key to better social, digital infrastructure, say analysts

New energy solutions, robotics, teleportation, impact of 5G, and challenges in securing connected devices were among the themes discussed by experts at EmTech India 2017 conference


Harald  Haas, co-founder and interim CEO of pureLifi.  Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
Harald Haas, co-founder and interim CEO of pureLifi. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

New Delhi: Creating an ecosystem of the Internet of Things (IoT) will eventually be key to better social and digital infrastructure.

That was the verdict of experts on Friday at EmTech India 2017, a conference on emerging technologies organized by Mint and MIT Technology Review in New Delhi.

New energy solutions, robotics, teleportation, impact of 5G, and challenges in securing connected devices were the key themes in the discussion among industry executives on the final day of the two-day conference.

“Digital infrastructure is helping us reach out to the last mile. Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) is the infrastructure which is fundamental in rebooting our country,” said Arvind Gupta, national technology head at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

He said the 12-digit unique identification number Aadhaar was powering the digital drive.

“With this paperless and presence-less infrastructure using Aadhaar….the fiscal delivery of entitlements and benefits has evolved digitally. India is ready to consume, give it the right connectivity at the right price.”

Several innovative solutions for laying a road map for the digital future were presented during the day.

One of these was the concept of Internet through LED light bulbs. Harald Haas, co-founder and interim chief executive officer of pureLifi, a spinoff from the University of Edinburgh, has coined the term Li-Fi or light fidelity. He said Li-Fi-enabled LED light bulbs can transmit data at speeds much higher than Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity).

“Li-Fi or Light fidelity is transformative … It has the capability to support future technologies–big data, augmented reality, virtual reality, machine learning, artificial intelligence,” said Haas.

The concept of smartwatches which can also function as SOS machines, an innovation aimed at the safety of women, was presented by Raj Talluri, senior vice-president (product management) of Qualcomm Technologies Inc.

“We are setting up a venture fund in India worth $150 million for electronic manufacturing. An innovation lab has already been set up,” added Talluri.

He also hinted at the launch of 5G services which, according to him, will be bring about massive change in IoT.

IoT is a network of “things” that include devices, appliances, equipment and machinery with the intelligence to connect, communicate and control or manage each other to perform a set of tasks with minimum intervention.

A demonstration on teleportation, a technology which transmits an object from one location to another without any physical transfer of the object, indicated what the future of communication could be.

“The main bottleneck in visual and augmented reality, which are forms of teleportation, is availability of good content,” said Hemanth Satyanarayana, founder and chief executive of Imaginate Technologies Inc.

Another innovative application of technology, 3D printing—presentation of objects in three-dimensional form—showcased the power of digital design in the enhancement of product presentation.

“3-D Printing, IoT and AI (artificial intelligence) all tell us how to evolve analytics for manufacturing of tomorrow. There is a growing need for complex geometry like 3-D printing in small batch quantities in today’s world,” said Guruprasad Rao, director at Imaginarium India.

Srinivas Prasad, CEO of the Philips Innovation Campus in Bengaluru, said hospitals could reduce costs through the use of techniques such as remote monitoring of medical devices, applying analytics and use of AI to improve the productivity of clinicians. On Friday at the conference, innovators under the age of 35 received awards for exemplary work in the field of technology.

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