2020

Outlook 2020: Quantum computing and AI to be among top tech trends this year

The last decade saw an unprecedented adoption of digital transformation initiatives. Technologies such as cloud, mobility, analytics, automation, AI (artificial intelligence) and the likes enabled enterprises to reimagine everything from customer experience to business growth. These technologies came, they reigned and they transformed. Every facet of enterprise strategy bears the sweeping impact of these technologies and their transformative touch. Digital innovation is reaching new heights and ushering in digital maturity and adoption at scale.

Technology is taking huge strides in the areas of hardware, software/services and human experiences. These developments are inter-related and their intersection compounds their impact on transformation. Here are the top trends set to make a mark in 2020:

Quantum computing, 5G and autonomous things top the list of advancements in hardware

  • Quantum computing: With the competition for quantum supremacy becoming intense, 2020 should see advances in quantum computing where it begins contributing to the real life by powering complex AI  applications.

AI and quantum computing will emerge as two sides of the same coin. For instance, a quantum computer could help enterprises that process voluminous transactions at super speed to develop virtual assistants that have high contextual awareness and almost human-like sensitivity towards customers.

  • 5G: Although 5G has gained significant momentum, and some operators have begun offering high-speed services in dense urban locations in some countries, challenges persist. When it comes to the scale of deployment, operators can deploy 5G at a larger scale, but with low band. A combination of 5G+4G (non-standalone deployment) facilitates optimal coverage without compromising on the data demands of customers. Moreover, most devices in the market are ill-prepared to support 5G yet. In 2020 and the years ahead, manufacturing companies will catch up to build devices that support 5G.
  • Autonomous things: AI, ML (machine learning) and deep learning are equipping robots, drones and autonomous vehicles to act and control their environment. Gartner stated that the leaders of enterprise architecture and technology innovation are gearing up to take advantage of the opportunities presented by autonomous things. Amazon’s package delivery through drones and automated warehouses are prime examples. The year 2020 will see the introduction of many more autonomous devices to empower humans.

In the software/services area, expect hyper-automation, digital workforce and AI-based security to mature

  • Hyper-automation: Hyper-automation goes beyond desktop automation to integrate systems and automate core business processes to amplify the organisation as a whole. It involves everyone in the organisation to be part of the transformation journey. With RPA (robotic process automation) at the core, hyper-automation will leverage people, processes and tools such as AI, analytics and deep-process mining to scale up automation capabilities and unlock unforeseen efficiencies.
  • Digital workforce: With the power of RPA, AI and ML, digital workers have incredible potential to augment the human workforce.

Digital workers can analyse like humans, and execute with the speed and accuracy of robots. A digital worker can automate the entire process without any supervision. As digital workers become mainstream in 2020, it will usher in a new future of work.

  • AI-based cybersecurity: With the growing number of interconnected systems, the threat of cybersecurity looms large. AI-based attacks have increased significantly and enterprises are turning towards highly-sophisticated AI cybersecurity (offensive AI) to counter the advanced attacks in the modern threat environment.

A focus on amplifying experiences for both customers and employees will drive conversational commerce, ambient experience and citizen access

  • Conversational commerce: This offers a convenient and smart way for customers and businesses to interact. Conversational commerce is possible through AI-powered chatbots coupled with cognitive intelligence to deliver an augmented and personalised customer experience. Enterprises can shorten the time it takes to satisfy customer needs, right from the first greeting to the final payment, and redefine customer experiences through conversational commerce.
  • Ambient experience: Enterprises are swiftly moving towards offering ambient experiences across omnichannel. The rise of AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality) and MR (mixed reality), along with a cohesive integration of knowledgebase and CRMs have made ambient experiences a high possibility — especially in environments with high customer interactions. AR, VR and MR have emerged as compelling options to provide premium customer experience by harnessing the power of AI to merge the virtual and real-world seamlessly in real time.
  • Citizen access: Building reusable applications through low-code or no-code platforms, or drag-and-drop interfaces is the new norm.  The industry will witness rapid democratisation of technology, which will allow people to access technical expertise easily and create technical solutions without any extensive training on the necessary skills, eg: citizen data scientists and citizen programmers. Organisations would rely on AI-driven development and automated testing so that all employees can contribute to it.

Technological advancements across hardware, software/services and experiences, and their controlled collision are pushing the envelope of innovation with every passing year. These technologies are high in value, maturity, or both, and together they are redefining the way organisations operate and create value in the ecosystem.

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Ride The Cognitive Technology Wave The Right Way

According to a 2017 Deloitte report, “90% feel that cognitive technologies will be somewhat or much more important to their companies’ strategies [in the future] than they are today.” Working with a company that offers cognitive-based technology solutions, I’ve seen this increase in importance firsthand.

The cost of missing out in the cognitive race can adversely impact your business. But the good news is that it’s become much easier to adopt cognitive technology today. The caveat is that lofty hopes, poor planning and inexperience could quickly derail your cognitive initiatives.

Here are some perspectives on creating a systematic strategy to integrate cognitive technologies in your enterprise, set pragmatic expectations and reap maximum return on investment (ROI).

Who Owns It?

Depending on which side of the fence you are on, you might say the onus of cognitive projects lies with IT or business. Well, it’s time to burn the fence. IT and business have a shared responsibility toward crafting and driving the cognitive strategy. Several early adopters are creating new roles, with chief experience officer (CXO) sponsorships, to steward their cognitive initiatives to drive positive business outcomes.

Brace For The Challenges Ahead

Some of the challenges that come with adopting cognitive technologies include:

• Finding The Right Problem To Solve: If you were thinking of using artificial intelligence (AI) to eliminate X percentage of your workforce, think again. This scenario is neither real nor ideal—and you will run into massive change management challenges internally. It is widely accepted in the industry today that AI cannot replace humans, not anytime soon at least. A smarter goal would be to minimize employee effort in labor-intensive, repetitive work. Create a transparent AI manifesto, which includes upskilling of employees to cowork effectively with AI.

• Integrating With Existing IT And Business Ecosystems: Integration of cognitive technologies with existing workflows is one of the biggest hurdles that organizations face. Ensure you check the feasibility of this integration and bake that into your strategy.

• Identifying The Right Cognitive Solution: Organizations often lack the understanding of cognitive technologies necessary to identify which solution is right for their needs.

• Finding The Right Partner: Lastly, the steep shortage of talent with technical skills and experience is hurting the cognitive roll-out. However, leading technology service providers have developed strong cognitive competencies that can be leveraged by forging strategic partnerships.

Look Inside And Start

Now that you have some idea of the challenges and the solutions, look inside your organization to start your cognitive journey. Look for projects where big data and analytics have already been leveraged. Chances are, they use some element of AI, even if it’s elementary.

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Geospatial data will emerge as a key differentiator for businesses: CSS Corp’s Manish Tandon

Chennai: Tech company CSS Corp is investing heavily in geospatial technologies as they see huge potential in the space. Manish Tandon, CEO of CSS Corp said their services will enable organizations to visualize spatial data, generate insights on spatial relationships from massive datasets, and simplify data management.

He said the company’s services enable organizations to acquire and merge high-quality spatial data efficiently from multiple sources, allowing for easy access, analysis, allowing for easy access, analysis, and utilization. It also help organizations generate new revenue streams through value-added services using locational context and targeting under-served markets using spatial analytics.

“Geospatial technologies facilitating high-end locational intelligence will be the catalyst for a smart, inclusive community,” he said. “Internet of Things, Big Data Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence integrated with spatial intelligence will transform the way we live and work. Geospatial data will emerge as a key differentiator for businesses while building new products and services. It can be leveraged for decisive insights and enable smarter business decisions.”

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Digitalization Redefining Everything

Technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Cognitive Analytics and Extended Reality (AR/VR/MR) have become the buzzwords today. Enterprises need to leverage these technologies to create a sustainable competitive advantage. We are using these technologies to develop cutting-edge geospatial solutions from our innovation labs. Building on our strength in Cloud transformation, Big Data, cognitive technologies and custom application development, we have been able to create a niche differentiation for our geospatial offerings. Our customized solutions enable faster acquisition and accurate location intelligence for enterprises and consumers. With our rich experience and global presence, we are able to work with clients across geographies and help them solve challenges in both evolved and emerging markets.

Tech at core of digitalization
Technology is indeed at the core of digitalization. Technologies like AI/ML, IoT, Cloud, Big Data Analytics, mobility and automation are enabling enterprises to redefine everything — from business growth to customer experience. In the digital age, the importance of geospatial information across processes has grown multifold. The integration and interaction of geospatial and digital technologies create a complete picture of the real world, thereby creating new solutions, productivity gains and cost benefits. Be it 5G, autonomous driving, smart cities, HD mapping, or field operations, new-age geospatial technologies are pushing the envelope of digital innovation. CSS Corp leverages digital technologies to power its industry-leading geospatial offerings.

CSS Corp is a global geospatial player with a vision to provide innovation, unrivaled customer experience and shared success for overcoming business challenges. We offer geospatial technology services across telecom, navigation and utility domains to acquire and merge high-quality location or spatial data efficiently from multiple sources. Our services allow for simplified spatial data management, geo-analytics, visualization and utilization. We leverage digital technologies like AI/ML, automation and predictive analytics to generate actionable insights from massive datasets and develop highly accurate mapping solutions. Our niche capabilities drive enhanced business efficiencies and create opportunities for our customers. For instance, we enabled one of the global mapping companies to bring improved map features and drive adoption with automated map content extraction and enrichment.

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Gamification as Disruptor in Enterprise Technology

Whoever said that if you love your job, you won’t have to work a single day in your life had underscored the importance of having a sense of engagement at the workplace. Gamification, according to Gartner, is the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.

Brian Burke, Research VP at Gartner, mentioned in his blog post that the digital aspect makes all the difference. Be it an individual, a team, or an enterprise, gamification has donned the mantle of the silent coach who works behind the scenes to engage, motivate, and spur performance. From e-learning platforms and training programs to workday life, gamification has become the watchword for driving employee performance across the technology industry.

Embrace the Disruptor

Though full-scale adoption of this disruptor has met with some resistance, enterprises are getting caught up with the disruptive wave so much that every project’s performance metrics and quality parameters seem to increasingly weave the constructs of gamification. Gamification pioneer, Yu-kai Chou stated in his book that “Human-focused design” was a better term that emphasizes that humans are not rudimentary cogs in the system as opposed to “function-focused design” that optimizes only functional efficiency.

As managers become coaches, and their subordinates become players on the field of performance, the ensuing productivity gains and motivational spikes are clear for all to see. By the time managers schedule the weekly or quarterly reviews, teams have already brought their A-game to the table.

The synergy from the high-performance of various business units has a compounding impact on the enterprise as a whole. Gamification cuts across multiple business lines to transform production floors into premier league contests with performance scores running real-time on LCD displays.

Individuals are outdoing themselves like players, and teams are outplaying the others as though they’ve reached the finals of the playoffs. It’s real; it’s in action, its game on.

Disruptor in Enterprise Technology

In technology environments that are heavily contingent on human-support, gamification serves to boost the underlying motivation, morale of employees by inducing the game spirit. Production and operation heads are continually scanning their team’s performance metrics to see how they can improvise. It primarily performs miracles on the human factor (breaks monotony and mundanity) of support operations where production managers want their employees to put their best foot forward every day. As managers know who to coach, what to coach, when to coach, the result is an inspired workplace punctuated by competitive and productive employees who want to outperform and grow. The various aspects of gamification work to accelerate the performance curve and promote a culture of continuous learning and self-development.

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Maps that speak the same language as your consumers

Ever wanted to peek into how location-based technology has become essential to modern life? Just glance at your cab driver, checking the map on his phone before every turn. However, it’s not always a smooth drive with the maps (no pun intended). Apart from connectivity and network issues, language is often the main challenge, especially for those who are more comfortable with the local language. For instance, if your destination is a location that, perhaps, has been lost in translation and cannot be found on the map, then you’re in a soup. With more than 4000 written languages in the world (yes!), why on earth should something as critical as a map be limited to a few languages?

As globalization has become the essence of the omnichannel business landscape, there are a plethora of businesses that are looking for language-localization to connect with consumers in their preferred language. At the heart of the operational process of maps-based service-providers like cab aggregators, logistics, hyperlocal businesses, etc., lies the compelling need for translation and transliteration of maps. This would not only pave the way for regional adoption of maps, but also ensure increased ROI for local businesses, and unrivaled customer experiences. However, there are a couple of immediate challenges that need to be addressed in terms of both technology and competency levels.

Challenges for localization of maps

  • One of the primary constraints of producing maps in local languages is the quality of the translation. There are instances when names of certain places cannot be translated into the local language and having them retained in English can make more sense. Again, at times, the text in the native language must be excluded to make it more relevant. As such, translation to a different language needs to be carefully proofed and checked.
  • While many web-based translation tools are widely available, it is important to use a trusted source like native speakers, preferably those with geographic knowledge. For this, you need a strong combination of technology and human competence.
  • For maps being presented in multiple languages, the labels need to fall in the same place on each version of the map. This means the space for the label needs to accommodate the name with maximum letters, ensuring that each label does not overprint another. Also, if a name is changed, it has to be updated in several different languages.

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CSS Corp Recognized as a Disruptor in Avasant’s Intelligent Automation Services RadarView™ 2019-2020 Report

Bangalore, Karnataka, India: CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology support company, announced today that it has been recognized as a “Disruptor” in Avasant’s Intelligent Automation Services RadarView™ 2019 Report. Avasant acknowledged CSS Corp’s consistent innovation in its RPA solutions and indigenous AI-enabled platforms, Contelli and Active Insights. The report evaluated 24 global service providers against key criteria including scope and quality of portfolio, performance and growth, innovation capabilities, geographic coverage, implementation experience, case studies, and client satisfaction score. Avasant’s report has recognized Contelli and Active Insights, CSS Corp’s homegrown intelligent automation platforms for its adoption of RPA, AI, and analytics in IT processes transformation. The platforms leverage cognitive technologies to drive the customers’ service delivery operations, accelerating growth, and predictability. The context-driven platforms together drive end-to-end automation of both front-office and back-office processes. CSS Corp has used the platforms successfully to fast-track IT automation for its customers across telecom, media, hi-tech, banking, and retail industries.

According to Swapnil Bhatnagar, Research Director, Avasant, “With the advent of more disruptive cognitive technologies, the enterprise journey of intelligent automation has traversed from a rule-based approach to judgment-based automation. CSS Corp’s automation strategy is in tandem with this market opportunity with a clear focus on the contextual adoption of automation for back-end as well as front-end processes by leveraging AI and analytics. This approach, in conjunction with heavy investments made in innovation labs for incubating solutions and reskilling its workforce for the next leap of automation, has made CSS Corp a Disruptor in Avasant’s Intelligent Automation Services RadarView 2019-2020.”

Speaking on occasion, Manish Tandon, CEO, CSS Corp, said, “Being recognized by Avasant as a disruptor in intelligent automation services reinforces our deep expertise and innovation in effectively managing enterprise and IT operations ecosystems. Our cognitive solutions are built with a focus to drive business outcomes for our customers and transform their challenges into opportunities. We will continue to engineer value for our customers through cutting-edge solutions and ensure they stay ahead of the disruption curve in the IT landscape.”

The Intelligent Automation Services RadarView 2019 Report addresses the dual need of the enterprises to leverage both the RPA and the AI-enabled IT automation space, and to identify service providers that span both. Avasant’s RadarView™ is an independent assessment that reflects the true capabilities of service providers, with a view of evaluating them as long-term partners for digitally evolving global organizations.
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Tech professionals need to prioritize their mental well-being first

The wonders of the human brain are endless. However, it also comes with its own set of emotional frailties which are often difficult to recognize and fathom. In tech-oriented jobs, the employees are at a higher risk of crumbling under the pressures due to stress, long working hours, and irregular shift timings. Such jobs are demanding, time-boxed, and isolative, leading to anxiety, increased levels of stress, and depression.

Techies who are perfectly capable of resolving deep technical problems are not necessarily as adept in solving challenges which life throws at them. In this fast-paced environment, tech professionals need to prioritize their mental well-being first, which otherwise can hinder both their health and productivity. Instead of silently suffering, it is imperative for them to acknowledge the presence of the problem and then refocus their energies into bettering their lifestyles.

HR organizations across the globe have increasingly realized the importance of having stress busters for techies in their workplace. Multi-dimensional personality and skill development programs are being run by HR organizations to overcome stress, depression, and suicidal tendencies of the techies. Minor actions like games, mini-breaks, casual chat with colleagues, the art of “letting go”, and learning when to say “no” to extra work, can go a long way in the preservation of one’s mental well-being.

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