At Qualcomm Innovation Forum, experts talk of scripting the Indian innovation story beyond ‘jugaad’, through tech

14th Dec 2017
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Jugaad - that ubiquitous Indian practice of coming up with a creative, whacky and improvised solution to any problem may no longer be the primary thing associated with Indian innovation. At least, that’s the takeaway from the recently-concluded Qualcomm Innovation Forum held in Bengaluru.

For years, Indian innovation and ‘jugaad’ were mentioned in the same breath. In fact, the practice is said to be so embedded in our collective consciousness that many believe this is what makes us tick as a country.

The term, which has even found a place in the Oxford English Dictionary, was the focus of a talk by K Ganesh, Chairman of Portea Medical, titled “Powering the Indian Innovation Story — The End of the Era of Jugaad.”

Using technology as an enabler for Indian innovation

According to Ganesh, “Riding on the power of smartphones and the internet, India has seen a lot of changes in human behaviour. Mobile phones have become an extension of who we are. Beginning with the birth of a child, and startups like FirstCry and Babyoye, to one’s death and funeral services, a space with startups like IndianFuneral and Mosh-Shil, we have it all.”

However, he also mentioned how there are some gaps in key areas which still needed improvement, including infrastructure and better integration of theory and practice into the system.

“The opportunity to leapfrog and use the technology in our country is tremendous. There are large untapped sectors, where one can explore and disrupt. Do jugaad, but do it with technology,” he said. According to him, If one can extend the strengths of IT and software, newer technologies like Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Analytics are areas with direct applications in every aspect of society.

K Ganesh, Chairman Portea Medical

Tapping the power of AI

The event saw other eminent industry leaders and experts sharing insights on various aspects of innovation, and the new era of intelligent, connected devices.

Jim Tran, SVP, Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies, shared his insights about the Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile platforms that are powering the Next-Gen user experience.

Jim highlighted that the Snapdragon 845 is the third-generation AI platform, based on on-device Al leadership. The powerful AI is for use in cutting-edge applications related to camera, XR, voice recognition, and more.

He mentioned how Qualcomm’s technologies have powered the smartphone revolution and connected billions of people. A pioneer in 3G and 4G – and now leading the way to 5G and a new era of intelligent, connected devices, Qualcomm’s products are revolutionising industries, including automotive, computing, IoT and healthcare, he added.

Jim Tran, Senior Vice President, Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies

Larry Paulson, VP, and President, Qualcomm India, also took the audience through the new innovations that are driving the growth of mobile in India.

“Innovation is one side of the business, the other is to acquire and put all technologies to use. India is an extremely exciting place. It is our second largest product market in the world and has now become a key business partner in the world. We have tied everything with the help of localisation,” Larry said.

Globally, mobile connections are estimated to touch 9.7 billion. India currently has over 300 million smartphone users, and over 100 manufacturing facilities have been set up since late 2015.

He highlighted key market trends, including the average selling price trends in smartphone retail and its shipment share by technology like GSM, WCDMA, and LTE in India.

Larry Paulson, VP and President, Qualcomm Technologies

The role of innovation

According to an independent study commissioned by Qualcomm, by 2035 the number of 5G-related goods and services in the market is estimated to be over $12 trillion. Expanding on this, Sudeepto Roy - VP, Engineering, QTL Technology and Product Management and Seshu Madhavapeddy, Vice President, Product Management, IoT, Qualcomm Technologies, both spoke about the role of innovation, partnerships in the mobile industry, and the importance of edge computing for IoT.

“Technology can leapfrog and mobile technology drives IoT. With the right mix of connectivity, computing and security, one can build on our leadership in mobile inventions,” Seshu said.

This year’s Qualcomm Innovation Forum was a part of the 8th edition of the company’s annual Qbuzz conference, a two-day event aimed at “accelerating business through product innovation.

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