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Accenture sees big scope for high-end analytics in India

Livemint:  January 16, 2015

New Delhi: Accenture Plc., which has 40% of its global big data analytics team based in India, plans to tap the country’s high-end analytics market in anticipation of an increase in demand driven by the government’s Digital India programme.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s Digital India initiative is aimed at delivering government services electronically in urban and rural areas, cutting out human intervention and closing the gap between digital haves and have-nots. It will act as an umbrella plan to integrate and synchronize all digital initiatives including the national broadband plan and the domestic manufacturing policy.

“Big data analytics will play a major role in the whole digital disruption that is happening in India today,” said Arnab Chakraborty, managing director for advanced analytics at Accenture Digital. “Mobility has leapfrogged in India and the whole ‘Make in India initiative’ has caught up strongly in the last six to eight months with the new leadership coming in.

Globally, Accenture is collaborating with many state governments and agencies in the areas of healthcare, education, electricity discussions around smart cities and combating crime.

In the UK, for instance, Accenture is looking at identifying gang behaviour. In Singapore, it is studying crowd behaviour.

In India, said Chakraborty, Accenture is working with a state government to improve childcare and safety, with state electricity boards on smart grids as well as with police forces in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to provide analytics to predict crime. “We are trying to do facial recognition to understand the mood of the crowd... in the policing space in India, we are leveraging a lot of these things that we are doing in other countries,” said Michael Svilar, managing director and global lead for advanced analytics at Accenture Digital.

He added that the company does “not want to get to the point where we are arresting people before they commit a crime, but the idea of using analytics is to predict likely behaviour that is behind crime that occurs”.

According to Chakraborty, a lot of demand for high-end analytics is also coming from the telecom sector, which is looking at new revenue streams using analytics by becoming the provider of Internet of Things (IoT) services to other sectors, and resources including mining, oil and gas, utilities, which recently adopted analytics, but are now deploying sensors to harness the power of artificial intelligence.

Accenture Labs, a part of the holding company, is meanwhile experimenting with the newer technologies for commercial deployment across the world including drones, augmented reality and robotic applications.

“We are working now with Accenture Labs on self-guided drones,” said Svilar, adding that instead of somebody guiding these drones “you send out a drone that understands that it needs to keep the pipeline as a part of its video image and you don’t need a person to do that”.

Another area is augmented reality, a technology that allows elements from the physical world to be augmented by layers of computer-generated input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS (global positioning system) data.

“For instance, using facial recognition, based on your hair colour or eye movement, retailers can predict what a customer is going to like. Based on that, an offer will be projected to customers,” said Chakraborty.

“We are actually bringing in your physical reality and using the intelligence to actually project–on video screens—where a customer can see himself or herself—and that screen can tell how a certain outfit would look on the customer and suggest which kind of things will suit him or her,” he added.

There are other multinational companies that are also eyeing India’s analytics market, which is expected to reach $2.3 billion over the next three to four years, according to a recent report by Nasscom, the software industry association.

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), for instance, is pushing its supercomputer Watson’s cognitive computing platform in India.

Google Inc. is experimenting with Google Glass, while Cisco Systems Inc., with its annual India investment to the tune of $1.75 billion, recently stepped up its efforts in IoT to leverage big data analytics.

Analysts say while India’s analytics market cannot become a billion dollar opportunity for global IT firms overnight, it presents a fairly interesting opportunity that has a potential to scale up to other areas. “With India changing its focus to technology to grow faster and mobility coming in, the India’s analytics market presents a very interesting and decent opportunity for these companies,” said Vikash Jain, principal at Boston Consulting Group.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.

x IBEF : India Brand Equity Foundation