EY Partner on the impact of AI, fintech and voice detection technology

10 August 2018 Consultancy.in

India is well among the leaders in the adoption of the latest in digital applications, and transformational technologies such as artificial intelligence and voice recognition are set to become crucial cogs in the country’s economy going forward, according to Mahesh Makhija – Partner in EY India’s advisory and financial services division. 

Nearly a billion people in India are expected to be online by as early as 2025, and while the true implications of such a scenario can scarcely be determined in advance, experts are doing their best to sift through the available evidence and paint a rough picture of what the economy will look like in a few years.

Naturally, the sectors affected first and most directly will be those relating to the consumption of online content, which includes digital advertising, telecoms and the media & entertainment sectors among others. One domain – perhaps less direct – that experts predict the advent of a digital revolutions is in finance and financial transactions.

Digital lending volumes are expected to surpass $1 trillion over the next four years, and according to Mahesh Makhija, a similar boom can be expected in the digitised insurance sector – what is commonly referred to in the business world as Insurtech. Makhija has been a Partner at EY and the Lead for Financial Services Improvement and Technology Consulting for five years, and has also worked for Infosys and Accenture in the past.

EY Partner on the impact of AI, Fintech and voice detection technology

“Within the next two years, there is going to be a spate of digital-only insurance companies because there are many use cases emerging there, too. That’s one trend we are seeing,” says Makhija, elaborating on the current tech scenario in the country.

“There are two markets that are off the charts in terms of adoption of fintech products—China and India. We looked at digitally active users—people who have got a smartphone and a data connection and are starting to use the internet,” he said, referring to a survey of 20,000 customers across the world conducted by EY last year.

Beyond the sector-wise impact, the specific technology that Makhija expects will take centre stage in the near future is the combination between voice detection and AI, the latter being another segment that will contribute nearly $1 trillion to the Indian economy, although its impact will take slightly longer to manifest itself.

“Our kids talk to appliances all the time, for instance. If I’m going to take a loan from somebody (in the future), there’s no need for me to fill out a form. I can have a conversation with an AI-enabled agent, give him my information that will get processed and make the entire experience seamless. Also linked to voice is vernacular—there are a bunch of fintechs attacking the vernacular. That’s going to be big,” says Makhija. 

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Urban transport remains the primary area of investment in Smart Cities

08 April 2019 Consultancy.in

Examining the progress in the government of India’s Smart Cities Mission, global professional services firm Deloitte has revealed that the majority of funding for the scheme is being drawn from the central government, while the investments are focused primarily in the urban transport sector.

The Smart Cities Mission was launched by the Indian government in 2015, with an estimated project value of approximately $14 billion. The scheme aims at developing a number of urban financial centres across India, each of which is endowed with the latest in Information Communication Technology.

By definition, all functions within a smart city are carried out in the digital sphere. According to the World Bank, a smart city is a technology-intensive city that has sensors installed everywhere and offers highly efficient public services using information gathered in real time by thousands of interconnected devices.”Key components of a smart city

Deloitte breaks the characterisation of a smart city down into six primary components. The first is smart governance, which entails the migration of the entire state infrastructure and citizen services to the online domain, facilitated by the presence of a strong IT infrastructure

The second component described by the Big Four accounting and advisory firm is smart living, which includes state-of-the-art facilities for sewage & sanitation, water supply, electricity, housing and a number of other aspects of daily life. These constitute the core infrastructure of a smart city.

In addition, a smart city consists of smart people, which means a comprehensive education programme and an abundance of cultural activities. Smart mobility is another key aspect of a smart city, which not only includes a solid walking infrastructure, but also ICT-based transport and traffic control.Overview of Smart Cities Mission progress

The last two components, as per Deloitte are smart environment and smart economy. The latter ensures that most residents of a smart city have access to employment opportunities, while the former entails the absence of pollution, green architecture, and a reliance on renewable energy.

Building on these components, the scheme has integrated an increasing number of ctiies within this programme, starting with 60 in 2016 and 30 in 2017. By June last year, the North Eastern city of Shillong was shortlisted to be the 100th smart city in the country.

Once a city is selected to be a part of the Smart Cities programme, Deloitte identifies three types of development that are conducted in the urban centres. The first comes under the bracket of Redevelopment Projects, which include replacements of various aspects of the current built environment. Investments in 99 cities by sector

The second comes under the broad ambit of Retrofitting Projects, which entails the addition of new infrastructural development in order to facilitate greater connectivity in the city. Thridly, the firm identifies Greenfield Projects, which include the introduction of smart solutions in “previously vacant areas.”

While the majority of the investment in the Smart Cities Mission is drawn from the central government, Deloitte’s analysis reveals that the smart mobility component is drawing the most funding, followed by area development and economic development. Energy, ICT solutions and housing follow as the next biggest priorities.