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TiECON Kerala 2017

TiEcon explores ways to make Kerala digital hub

How Kerala can be converted into a digital hub leveraging enabling technologies was the key discussion point at one of the sessions on the concluding day of TiEcon Kerala here on Saturday.

Saji Gopinath, Chief Executive Officer of the Kerala Startup Mission and one of the panellists, said the State government was keen on converting Kerala into a knowledge hub, for which a policy had been drawn up consisting of three major elements, namely digital citizenship, digital lifestyle, and digital commerce.

“This in turn calls for three important pillars — infrastructure, human capital development, and industry — and the Startup Mission has a specific role to play in all the three to a certain level. With the advent of disruptive technologies, larger companies are to likely to turn into smaller agglomerates bringing start-ups into the picture because of their agility and easily available technologies,” he added.

Mr. Gopinath said Kerala might have to create its own models, one of which being helping traditional industries come up with products and services to take them to the next level.

Annie Mathew, senior director for evangelism at Microsoft, said digital revolution was not really a technology revolution but a business revolution leveraging technologies.

Democratisation of technology is going to accelerate over the next few years, and it is for businesses and industries to leverage it, she added.

Kerala misses out here?

“Digital revolution may lead to some low-level jobs being handled by computers and boards at which point human resources will have to be improved. Small and medium enterprises in the digital transformation space can work with large enterprises, leading to a win-win situation. But Kerala misses out on this simply because large enterprises are not here,” Ms. Mathew observed.

Gopikrishnan V., founder of BuildNext.in, found that concerns expressed over the unavailability of good talent in Kerala or restriction of good talent mostly to the service sector baseless. “You don’t get good talent even in Bangalore if you are not willing to give decent pay. Good pay will bring even better talent here, as there will be talented Malayalees outside who will be willing to relocate back home,” he said.

Mr. Gopikrishnan marvelled at the thought process at the government level to usher in digital technology even as he bemoaned the absence of proper support groups for ailing technology firms in Kerala.

Mukund Krishna, CEO of Suyati Technologies, said traditional industries would find their value significantly depleted and would be out of business if they failed to embrace digital technology. According to him, social constructs and technologies come together and create disruptions in business models, and to withstand them, companies will have to embrace those technologies.

“Customer acquisition, efficiency in operations, and changing business models and culture are the key areas to enable digital transformation in a company,” he said.

Alexander Varghese, chief administrative officer and country head, UST Global International, moderated the session.