While technology is advancing in leaps and bounds, from network to digitisation and now has reached a new term called ‘cognification’ which refers to the process of making objects smarter and smarter by connecting, integrating sensors and building software or artificial intelligence (AI) into them, the world is heading towards a gig economy, stated V.C. [...]

Business Times

World is gearing towards a “gig” economy, says Cisco expert


V.C. Gopalratnam

While technology is advancing in leaps and bounds, from network to digitisation and now has reached a new term called ‘cognification’ which refers to the process of making objects smarter and smarter by connecting, integrating sensors and building software or artificial intelligence (AI) into them, the world is heading towards a gig economy, stated V.C. Gopalratnam, Chief Information Officer, Cisco International.

US based-tech giant Cisco organised a two-day summit titled ‘The Future, Reimagine’ last week in Goa, India during which Mr. Gopalratnam made this statement.

He said, “Crowd sourcing has been happening in every company as lots of people are moving into the freelance world. People from different parts of the world come together to work on a project. They may not be part of the same company, same country or may not have even seen each other, but they essentially interact virtually and produce outcome in a very short period of time. This leads us to where we are today which is a gig economy.”

Life and careers are becoming a sequence of jobs or gigs, and essentially temporary, contract, freelance workers, that’s the direction the industry is heading. There needs to be flexibility and freedom to actually work in a paradigm like that. This has led to the creation of self-organising teams, self-managed teams, self-designing teams, self-governing teams which looks at the process, people on the project, they change the purpose of the project and all this is done through the concept of dynamic teams.

Nobody works for one boss but will be working for multiple people at the same time. In that kind of an environment the concept of time is very important in which time is the currency for skills. “You barter your time with somebody who has a different skill, giving 20 hours of your skill for 20 hours of another’s time, that’s how time banking concepts work,” he added.

Mr. Gopalratnam mentioned that in 1982 it was predicted that six themes will be present in the world in 2019, namely self-drive cars, video phones, chat enabled technologies, digital signage and billboards, world travel and hover cars (drones). At least four of them evolved 10 years ago. “Speed is something that all of us have no control over. The only luxury that none of us has in our lives is the dimension of time. 99 per cent of everything we know today were invented in the last 200 years. Everything we will know in 2050 will be invented between now and 2050, that’s the speed at which things are changing today.”

Cloud and Networking

Mr. Gopalratnam elaborated that network connects everything and is delivered through a cloud. Looking back at the history of the development of the cloud, everyone started with a private cloud because of privacy and security and now has moved into public cloud when the economy has become scaled, fast and efficient. Everything is replaced by the cloud of clouds which is called the multi-cloud era. A consumer is not interested in something from just one cloud but he looks at multiple clouds.

Companies are designing digital products which does not mean access through the Internet or cloud, they have instrumentation and elementary built into them so that at any point in time they produce analytics. Consumption patterns are readily available to customers.

Network is evolving rapidly where its context includes how, where, when and why. It’s moving towards intent based network which is about the business outcome based on four dimensions namely policies, automation, assurance and security. Its architecture is the holistic approach of how you drive the four dimensions across the entire network.

Data and security

Analytics today are not only talking about the edge but the entire technology spectrum, it happens from the data centre all the way to the customers. “We also talk about data veracity, the truthfulness of data and how bad things can become if the data that you’re relying on is not necessarily truthful.”

The whole world of AI depends to a very large extent on data veracity because AI models can be easily hacked and that’s why the veracity of data becomes so important.
Another concept that is catching on in the security space is cyber insurance. Not a lot has happened there yet, but this is just round the corner. Be ready for a cyber-insurance industry to actually get started, noted Mr. Gopalratnam.


Automation and AI

Most IT companies are in level one or two in the automation space. “Clearly we got to move in the infrastructure direction that is about self-diagnosis, self-configuration, self-management, self-healing, self-optimisation and self-protection of the infrastructure. In AI there are few concepts that are catching on. Affective computing is about embedding emotions into robots that sense when you are angry or sad and provides you services that actually lift your move.”

There is another term called ‘Artificial Stupidity’, which is a move towards AI in a series of manageable steps. “It’s not that jobs are going away but the expectation is that all of us cooperate at a slightly higher level that what we were normally used to. That’s the concept of artificial stupidity,” explained Mr. Gopalratnam.

There is another term called ‘dynamics services discovery.’ Amazon has made this a science, basically looking at services that consumers are looking for and dynamically providing that scale with security in a reliable way. That’s the way the CIO in an organisation is moving because obviously that’s the way the consumer base within the company is asking for different things all the time.

Humanisation of IT

“Whether people are ready to work with intelligent technology is a very different direction of the shift from where we were before. Earlier we used to talk about intelligent people working with technology,” stated Mr. Gopalratnam.

Organisations have started to look at block chains and capabilities and build what you call skill-bots. How you understand where talent resides in an organisation and how you connect the supply and demand which is the whole notion of supply chain HR. The principles of supply chain is about time management. The HR industry is moving in that direction when there is a need for a particular skill they go and get the skill just in time and then people move out to a different role in an organisation.

HR practitioners are looking at this new concept called Neuro HR that relates to the brain. Thinking behind this is HR management and talent management has been done by fully understanding how a human brain works.

Cisco India and SAARC President, Sameer Garde during his presentation pointed out, the power of technology is no longer about science fiction, but it’s about collaboration, being able to make decisions even when you’re not interacting with someone face to face.

“Back in the days you had the gold rush, Internet, and digitisation and now we are talking about cognification. The transition from electrification to digitisation to cognification will lead us to where we have not even thought about, which is text-by-thinking. It’s more about the speed at which you type just by thinking, putting everything into words,” he stated.

Mr. Garde also noted that with AI no jobs will go away, but they will be converted into new job roles. Professions will evolve to match mega shifts and there will be new job titles by 2030.

The next big thing is going to be terabyte Internet which will become the norm; a supercomputer in every pocket by 2034 which will increase the data consumption by 1000 times, he added.

He also mentioned, the next big rush is going to be the digital rush. In 1852 the gold rush was around US$2 billion. Today it’s around $62 billion. The digital rush is about the total size of the global economy that is equivalent to $80 trillion. Everything that we can think of is going to be digitized.

India is gearing to become a $6 trillion economy by 2027 whereas close to $1 trillion of that is likely to become a digitally enabled economy. Today the Internet economy is around $125 billion which is expected to double to $250 billion by 2021. India’s digitisation will contribute 7.1 per cent of the GDP to the economy by 2027, noted Mr. Garde.

As digitization happens the attack surface is growing exponentially. “We have close to 20 billion threats a day. 24 per cent of all security attacks in India are against the banking, financial services and insurance industry. 800 million bank accounts are linked to mobile phones in India. 1.1 billion digital transactions per month. 300 million achieve financial inclusion through technology enabled services in 2025 and $1 trillion digital payment market in the next five years,” he stated.

Cisco India sees 92 per cent growth in Webex business meetings, 40 per cent growth in video end points and 2 billion Webex minutes per year by India’s top five IT enabled services companies in the financial year 2017/2018.

In the next three to five years Cisco India will look at the education, retail and industrial manufacturing of the Internet of things and business analytics in the industry spectrum while under the product and services sector Cisco will look at advanced integrated IT platform, Webex as a platform, Wifi and network as a service and analytics as a proposition.

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