As we take on 2016, here are some takeaways from 2015, and some developments we may see in 2016.
1. A person of Indian origin is the global CEO of Google: Sundar Pichai, an alumnus of IIT-Kharagpur, becoming the CEO of Google Inc. in August last year was the most exciting development of 2015. With Satya Nadella made CEO Microsoft in 2014, it is truly 'satyam' and 'sundaram'.
2. India is not only a county of billion people, but billion mobile phone users too. Indian mobile subscriber base went past one billion, to 1,003.9 million, on October 31, 2015, according to a Telephone Regulatory Authority of India press release.
3. Apple Watch reached consumers’ hands on June 4, 2015: Apple managed to add one more product to its popular categories of iPod (2001), iPhone (2007) and iPad (2010), with Apple Watch. Apps, including HDFC Bank's and Jet Airways app, are on it.
4 Job creation by the IT industry in India slowed down in 2015, for the first time after 2000: Starting with 10,000+ new jobs per year, IT industry could create nearly 4,00,000 new jobs in 2014, and became the largest creator of jobs in the organised sector. But this slowed down in 2015. With startups starting to recruit in large numbers, the number of IT jobs would continue to increase, though at a lower rate.
5 Microsoft Outlook app is a steal: Microsoft acquired e-mail app 'Accompli', and re-launched it as a free Microsoft Outlook app for iOS and Android users. Interestingly, it works better than Microsoft Outlook on Windows (including Windows 10).
6 Tablets continue to give laptops a hard time: With Apple launching iPad Pro in November, and Microsoft launching Surface 4 Pro in October, most professionals found that they could do away with laptops.
7 HP splits into two: On November 1, 2015 the iconic Silicon Valley company HP, with about $120 billion annual revenue, split into HP Inc. (focussing on PCs and printers) and HP Enterprise (focussing on servers, storage, networking and services), with roughly equal revenue share at the time of split.
8 'Make in India' is real: In August, Xiaomi started making RedMi 2 Prime smartphones in Sri City in Andhra Pradesh, the first smartphone to be made in India. Others like Gionee and OnePlus have now started manufacturing smartphones in the country too.
9 Smart Cities programme takes off: With Government of India finalising the list of 98 smart cities, with initial investment of nearly Rs 50,000 crore, the project is on; IoT, cloud, sensors, wireless and software will benefit.
10 Mobile wallet set to take off big time: With PayTM alone having more than 100 million registered users by August 2015, mobile wallets may be the prime retail payment mechanism in India surpassing credit/debit cards, ATM, PoS terminals and net banking.
11 E-commerce continues to grow: With expected GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) of $ 8 billion for 2015, market capitalisation of $15 billion and $ 3 billion capital raised so far by Flipkart alone, e-commerce in India looks to be unstoppable.
12 4G takes off in India: With Airtel launching 4G with lots of fanfare (with sub-Rs 10,000 4G handsets) and Reliance Jio making a soft launch on December 28, 4G is all set to take off in India.
13 Li-Fi is closer to reality: Using VLC (Visible Light Communication), scientists in Scotland demonstrated 224 GB/second in a lab in 2011. In November 2015, Li-Fi was demonstrated by an Estonian company with average speed of one GB/second in office environment, making Li-Fi a near reality.
14 Digital India is already here: With two million people giving up LPG subsidy through an online portal, and AADHAR-based digi-locker used by more than one million Indians, Digital India is inching towards reality.
15 Indian startup launches product in Silicon Valley: In July, Bengaluru-based startup InMobi launched its discovery-based personal mobile ad platform Mlip in San Francisco, to compete with the likes of Facebook and Google.
Truly, Indian IT has arrived!
About the author: Professor Sowmyanarayanan Sadagopan (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Director of IIIT-Bangalore. Views are personal.