The McKinsey Global Institute has recently studied economic statistics from the United Nations, the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum and estimated that by 2030, AI can add 16 percent—or around $13 trillion—to the global economy and AI will boost global GDP by $15.7 billion. Since 2000, AI venture investments have risen six times and McKinsey also estimates that by 2030, at least 70 percent of businesses are likely to have implemented at least one type of AI technology.
In India comparatively, Artificial Intelligence is a growing industry sector, as a report by Computer Vision Market reveals and stands at $6.4 billion as of 2030. 36.2 percent of this demand is coming from MNCs, GICs, and Captive firms with a market valuation of $2.3 billion. The future will see a vast number of other industries such as healthcare, high-tech manufacturing, and semiconductor companies adopting AI making it one of the most attractive and fastest-growing technology sectors over the next decade.
The retail industry has been one of worst-hit industries by the global pandemic and after an initial knee-jerk pause during the lockdowns, we see a sudden spike in retail brands (across categories of products) globally wanting to adopt and embrace digital transformation initiatives. The age-old model of customer service via call-centre’s has been disrupted permanently by Covid-19 and moving to AI solutions that can help retail businesses manage both exponential rise in call volumes while maintaining very high service level quality is the new emerging opportunity. It is, therefore, not a surprise that the conversational AI market alone is expected to grow at 32 percent CAGR to $9.4 billion by 2024 according to market research company markets & markets.
The Indian Government is playing a significant role as well and recently joined a Multinational Alliance on Artificial Intelligence that includes big nations such as the United States, the UK and Australia. Also, India has launched a Nationwide Artificial Intelligence Plan to bring the best of ideas and expertise from all fields and industries together making it one of the most happening and promising technology ecosystems to watch out for.
The National policymakers substantially expanded public AI funding through promises, such as increased R&D spending, the creation of industrial and construction funds by startups, network and technology investments, and public procurement relevant to AI. The government is also creating and fostering AI through numerous variations of public-private academies; the creation of technology parks and the connection between big companies and startups.
NASSCOM estimates that by 2022, 46% of the Indian workforce will be employed in completely new industries, which do not exist, or jobs that have drastically changed skill sets. NITI Ayog reports estimate that in India demand for AI and computer learners increased 60 percent in 2018. An Independent study has also stated that in 2020 India faced a demand-supply gap of 2,00,000d data analytics experts.
While global businesses have been at the forefront of adopting emerging technologies such as AI, blockchain, and IoT, Indian businesses have been traditionally late technology adopters. Owing to an in general risk-averse mindset culturally, only once a technology has been proven and tested at scale, Indian businesses are willing to adopt it and we see a similar trend even in AI and AI-based solutions.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have reversed this trend completely and we see Indian businesses realize that adopting emerging technologies in today’s world is no longer an option that can be delayed any further. In many cases it can be the deciding factor between thriving, surviving, or perishing for the business. For example, at AskSid, where we offer a digital shopping assistant that help retail brands sell more, we have seen a drastic increase in demand in the last 6 months leading to a 3X-5X jump in our opportunity pipeline.
This increased adoption within businesses is being driven by the rapid usage and adoption of AI by consumers in their daily life. Alexa, Siri, Google as voice assistants are house-hold names today both in India and outside and the expectations to get served instantly in a personalized manner is considered totally normal by today’s consumers. Any business which fails to deliver on this high standard of customer experience which consumers demand carries the serious threat of becoming redundant very fast and therefore embracing digital transformation using emerging technologies such as AI is no longer an option for Indian businesses.
To conclude the overall scenario, one thing that is evident in the global vs. Indian AI debate is that India is now no longer a laggard,
-by Sanjoy Roy
(The author is co-founder & CEO at AskSid Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Bengaluru. The views expressed are personal.)