India is taking its flourishing digital economy to new heights. The Government is poised to accelerate India’s journey to digitisation in the ongoing techade and achieve a range of milestones, creating new opportunities to maximize the potential of India’s demographic dividend.
Digitisation Promoting Connection and Accessibility
Currently, digitisation is playing an important role in improving access to public services, digital applications and knowledge resources, and this role will only grow in the future. The Government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative is working towards this goal and has made notable strides in narrowing the digital divide between rural and urban India. Technology is the key leveller that is building a more inclusive society and empowering citizens – future-facing technologies such as 6G, open-source datasets, quantum computing, and AI powered ecosystems will undoubtedly buttress this goal.
Innovation and Adoption of Future Technologies
Moreover, the adoption of innovative technologies in different sectors like healthcare, education, and agriculture will help these markets grow, increase the quality of offerings, and help deliver more efficient and effective solutions. For instance, innovation in healthcare technology such as sensors and AI will augment early detection of disease and preventive care. Similarly, a digital overhaul of education will improve interactive lessons, and technologies like learning analytics will do the same for student outcomes and facilitate better decision making. The Government is also tackling the task of feeding India’s growing population amidst climate uncertainties. Investing in agri-tech innovation will lead to an increase in productivity and sustainability, and, more importantly, improve returns for farmers.
The launch of next-gen communication technologies like 5G, and the gradual transition to technologies like 6G and satellite networks will have positive effects such as reducing energy consumption and improved broadband connectivity. These developments will also bolster the sharing of online content and lead to a greater rise of the creator economy (which has generated both jobs and revenues in hitherto untapped areas), and which Meta is also proud to have contributed to, through its platforms.
Rethinking the Status Quo
New technologies aside, rethinking old systems like manufacturing will allow India to reap the benefit of economies of scale and integrate into the global value chain. In the initial stage, as the white paper notes, technologies like robotics and automation will help reduce errors and costs in the delivery of products, and technologies like the Metaverse and AR/VR will provide immersive and interactive experiences that can equip workers with new skills and create safer (and more efficient) working environments. As part of this, Meta has invested in the development of AR/VR products – which we believe to be the future of digital connection – and whose long-term value stands to be realised from the way developers and creators use such products.
It would be remiss not to make mention of India’s success story with UPI. UPI has resulted in a digital financial revolution for the country – a revolution Meta has also been part of through WhatsApp Pay. Akin to UPI, the ONDC is another example of a unique home-grown digital product. The vast potential of the ONDC initiative is indicative of India’s rising prowess in the e-commerce sector.
Separately, setting the stage for the future, technologies such as predictive analytics, generative AI, and quantum computing will finally bring about the 6th industrial revolution. As India accelerates its integration into the global value chain, each of the above-mentioned initiatives mentioned will undoubtedly aid in this mission. Meta is also committed to investing in future-first technologies like next-gen AI that will require powerful new computers. In preparation, Meta has designed and built the AI Research SuperCluster, one of the fastest AI supercomputers today, with the aim of creating foundational technologies (such as large language models) that will power the Metaverse and advance the broader AI community.
Lastly, as India positions itself to become a significant player in the global semiconductor market, the Government can capitalize on the limited number of players currently in the market and use as opportunities the vulnerabilities that create global uncertainties, like economic standstills. While India has a long journey before it becomes self-reliant in semiconductors, investments in AI and automation will contribute to more innovation in the semiconductor industry. Moreover, as developments in AI technologies create demand for powerful and scalable computing capabilities and massive storage and computing resources, they will not only create a boom of cloud services and data centres but will also generate millions of employment opportunities.
Where India was once underestimated as being a destination for the BPO industry due to cost savings, it is now rightfully taking its place as a leader in offering critical digital and technological solutions across different sectors. With its unyielding, visionary focus on revolutionizing the digital ecosystem, the India of today is cementing its position as an emerging digital economy – and Meta, like the wider technology sector, will continue to be an ally in this journey.
The article is by Ms Sandhya Devanathan, Chairperson, CII National Digital Summit 2023 and Vice President, Meta India.
It was originally published in the CII – Deloitte report– “The Digital Dominance: Catalysing India’s Rise as a Global Digital Leader”