E&T’s View from India: Being Connected and Staying Secure

The pandemic has brought a paradigm shift in the concept of connectivity and security. Newer innovations are expected to emerge as there’s a felt need for better connectivity and higher levels of security

Rapid digital adaptation is a Covid-led outcome and the expectations of digital services are much higher than pre-Covid times. Multiple surveys indicate that the digital investments which could have spanned over the next three to four years have happened in the last 18 months.

The Government of India (GoI) has invested in various digital services. Take the case of e-RUPI, which is a person and purpose-specific digital payment solution. Cashless and contactless, e-RUPI is a QR code or SMS string-based e-voucher delivered to the mobile of the beneficiaries. Then there’s the Union Health Ministry’s National Telemedicine Service, titled ‘eSanjeevani’, which according to recent reports has already completed 1.2 crore consultations. eSanjeevani is operational through two modes: eSanjeevani AB-HWC, the  doctor-to-doctor telemedicine platform based on a hub and spoke model, and eSanjeevani OPD, a patient-to-doctor telemedicine platform providing outpatient services to citizens in the confines of their homes.

Going by this massive outreach, we can say that digital investments have accelerated the deployment of 5G technology. Even as 5G is being deployed in mobile and electronic devices, newer applications like O-Ran or Open Ran are gaining traction in areas such as network intelligence.

“The user experience is much more pervasive than before as everything and everyone become connected or will be connected. Customers want instant access and better user experience. This is being fulfilled through new ideas, innovation and disruptive technologies,” said Ron Nersesian, president and CEO, Keysight Technologies, speaking virtually at the recent Keysight World 2021 event.

Technologies are combining and converging for meeting the unprecedented levels of connectivity required for connected cars and 5G applications. Connectivity between devices will scale up, leading to accessibility and visibility. These parameters will interconnect devices, which would need many more layers of security than before. A case in point is the automotive industry. Even as it is gearing up to be autonomous, the infotainment system requires protection. “Our company is working with partners and the partnerships are expected to cover the entire design lifecycle. The ability to monitor real-time growth and performance are bottlenecks which may be solved through strategic partnerships. Innovative software solutions will be a key enabler in unexplored markets,” observed Satish Dhanasekaran, COO, Keysight Technologies. The new capacities are likely to offer cross-domain insights that could be necessary to better meet customer expectations.

Advanced application tools are the need of hour to meet higher standards, newer speed as well as safety measures. The know-how of leading edge designs, software insights and design simulation is essential. They may be utilised for making prototypes of products and solutions that offer newer levels of connectivity. All this may bring along technical and business challenges that may be diverse in nature. They could include the need for a skilled workforce, backend operations and after-service facilities, among other requirements. The industry needs to equip itself for this.

“The company has chalked out a customer roadmap. In order to meet newer needs, the company has amplified its investment in R&D, strategic acquisitions, specific end markets and software-centric solutions. The focus is on six areas like wireless communication; battery and charging testing for electric mobility; software test automation; quantum computing; network optimisation and security, and enhanced product and support,” explained Nersesian.  

Being connected and staying secure in a digital world is a tall order. Business models will evolve to cater to newer definitions of connectivity. “Solutions – both software-centric and hardware-centric – are key to accelerating innovation. Our company is investing in the front end of disruptive technologies whose applications include cyber security, electric vehicles, 5G and 6G,” added Dhanasekaran.  

With its pervasive technology and zero latency, digital transformation is expected to drive sustainable innovation. The collective value of digital transformation offers seamless connectivity and cyber security. It has also opened out channels for deeper engagement with customers for better outcomes. Other than that, it is hoped that quantum computing may be able to crack challenges which traditional computers may otherwise take ages to resolve. This will hopefully bring transformation at scale in a connected society.

Going ahead, connectivity and computation go hand in hand. An increased connected-computational world calls for multilayered security. Connectivity, computation and security require hardware-software innovation and cloud solutions that are more native in nature. All this will be hosted in a virtualised environment.

Processes and people’s lives have been disrupted by technology and right now the spotlight is on 6G. Several technical institutions and organisations are conducting research on the possibilities of using a 6G network. It is likely that 6G will be leveraged for better connectivity. It would be nice if it finds its way to the common problems faced in daily life.

Perhaps Covid is a once-in-a-century crisis. But it has taught us a lesson and showed us the highs and lows of what it takes to work from home.

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