Microsoft Corp. chief executive Satya Nadella on Tuesday indicated his company is betting big on cloud and artificial intelligence (AI), or ‘intelligent cloud’, in India.
Microsoft intends to make its cloud computing platform Azure “the world’s computer", Nadella said at the Future Decoded summit in Bengaluru. Microsoft Azure has 57 data centre regions globally, with three centres in Pune, Chennai and Mumbai.
The Bengaluru event drew 700 executives, and was live streamed across seven tech campuses, including Accenture, Cognizant and Infosys, with 700,000 online viewers.
Microsoft’s revenue from intelligent cloud stood at $11.9 billion and increased 27% year-on-year as compared to the total revenue, which stood at $36.9 billion and increased 14%, for the quarter ended December. The company has forecast its intelligent cloud revenue to be in the range of $11.85-12.05 billion for the next quarter.
Nadella emphasized on the need to take “cloud to the edge", which refers to bringing computing as close to the source of data as possible in order to reduce latency and bandwidth use. “Our differentiated approach across the cloud and edge is winning customers," Nadella said.
Azure is “motivated" by the 50 billion connected devices the world will have by 2030 and the computing power that would be needed to analyse 175 zettabytes of data by 2025, Nadella said. “Currently, 73% of the business data is unanalysed."
Microsoft offers its customers a secure cloud computing platform, which would be the foundation for enabling digital transformation in any organiation, Nadella said. At the same time, the core currency of any business going forward will be the ability to convert data into AI that drives competitive advantage. “Microsoft is committed to democratize this AI capability – enabling every developer to become an AI developer and every organisation an AI organisation…For this, you have to have the infrastructure, tools and frameworks, and services…," he said.
Nadella cited examples of Microsoft’s ‘Project HAMS’ which is a smartphone-based AI technology that can automate driver’s licence tests. Similarly, Eros Now, a South Asian entertainment video platform, partnered with Microsoft to build an online video platform on Microsoft Azure targeted at its consumers across the globe. He also talked about using AI for healthcare where Microsoft India and Apollo Hospitals have set up a National Clinical Coordination Committee for building an AI-powered Cardiovascular Disease Risk Score API (application program interface).
Nadella said he is “excited" about Microsoft’s 100X100X100 programme for B2B software-as-a-service (SaaS) startups in India which aims to bring together 100 committed companies and 100 early and growth startups that have enterprise-ready solutions to offer. The Bengaluru event included a ‘startup showcase’ where some of the startups – ElasticRun, Bionic Yantra, Spektacom, Bizongo, Zaggle – participated.
Microsoft has a strong presence in India operating across 11 cities with strong engineering capabilities in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Pune and Noida. Its India headcount currently stands at about 10,000 employees. On 17 February, Microsoft launched a new India Development Centre in the National Capital Region (NCR) to further tap into India’s engineering talent.
After Mumbai and Bengaluru, Nadella is expected to be in Delhi on Wednesday, ending his three-day visit to India.