Digital India is creating new opportunities for us: Nishant Batra, Ericsson India

By: | Published: December 21, 2015 1:21 AM

Nishant Batra, head of engagement practices, Ericsson, says that the roll out of 100 smart cities in India, over a period of time, will give the company a huge platform to deploy its smart city solutions.

Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson is transforming to become a leading ICT player. In line with the strategy, the company is focusing on five priority areas. Industry and Society (I&S) is one the focused area for the company and by 2020 Ericsson expect as much as 20% of its India sales to come from the I&S vertical. In a recent interaction, Nishant Batra, head of engagement practices, Ericsson, tells Sudhir Chowdhary that the roll out of 100 smart cities in India, over a period of time, will give the company a huge platform to deploy its smart city solutions. Excerpts:

Which all industry segments are you focusing on for Industry & Society around the globe? Will the focus remain the same in India too?
We have identified three key industry segments—public safety, utilities and transport—as our focus areas within the I&S vertical. All the three segments have high demand for connectivity and intelligent systems. At Ericsson we believe that much of the demands in these market segments can be met by our solutions. We are transforming industries and society across the globe by leveraging our technology and services leadership in mobility, broadband and cloud. We are bringing the right mix of technologies and delivery models to I&S across geographies and India is no exception.

Given the focus by the Indian government on smart and sustainable cities, we will be focusing on the following segments in India—utilities, transport, public safety, education and health.

How big a focus the government sector is for you?
We are seeing a growing interest of governments in areas such as utilities and public safety across states/districts. We created our business line, ‘Industry and Society’ to focus on smart cities, Digital India programme and other technology projects from the government. We are looking at supporting government initiatives for smart grids, intelligent transport systems and security systems. The roll out of 100 smart cities in India, over a period of time , will give us a huge platform to deploy our smart city solutions.

The government is planning to announce the first 20 smart cities soon and we are hoping to deploy our
solutions towards creating smart solutions for smart cities.

Please elaborate on your role in creating smart cities in terms of technology deployment.

Ericsson’s end-to-end, cross-industry solutions have the potential to bring together utilities, transport and public safety to support and enhance each city’s unique character, enabling more sustainable cities. We are playing a crucial role in creation of the networked society and are also a driving force in changes that are currently taking place in the business landscape of many industries. Over 40% of the world’s mobile traffic passes through our network equipment, and we deliver over 1,500 consulting and systems integration projects every year. Our knowledge and experience of solving complex problems involving networks, software, data security and services, makes us ideally suited as a partner for companies, industries, regulators and societies dealing with the opportunities and challenges of the networked society.

Can you share some examples of your deployment around the globe?
Ericsson is focused on bringing innovations and superior technology solutions in designing, deploying and managing services globally for the Networked Society. We have successfully deployed various innovative offerings across regions and industries, some of the examples are:

We are currently deploying a smart-metering network in Estonia in partnership with leading energy distributer Elektrilevi, and consumers are starting to enjoy the benefits. Ericsson is providing a solution to replace all 630,000 standard meters with remotely readable ones. We are also covering the implementation of a central automatic meter reading system (AMR) for data gathering and an integration into Elektrilevi’s systems, as well as a managed service for the AMR.

Transforming the transport industry with intelligent transport systems, the Ericsson Connected Vehicle Cloud enables real-time road safety and traffic services, and provides in-car internet and personalised entertainment. Our collaboration with Volvo and AT&T is shaping the future of innovation.

Today over 90% of all cargo is delivered by sea, and Maersk Line is leading the industry with the largest fleet of cargo ships. Efficiency is of utmost importance when managing 17 million containers through 125 countries annually.

Is partnership and acquisition going to be your model to strengthen your I&S portfolio?
Partnership would be the key for Industry & Society. We are focused on building partnerships both on the supply side as well as demand side. Earlier this year, we have signed an MoU with Sterlite to design a roadmap and to deploy solutions  required to create a fully functioning knowledge-based society.

What is potential market size in India for I&S business?
The opportunities are enormous, with the digitisation of industries happening all around us. The Indian government’s vision of a Smart Digital India too is creating new opportunities for us.

According to ‘Smart Cities Opportunity Assessment Model’ the opportunity for smart cities in India over the next 5 years is estimated at $45-$50 billion. The model focuses on four key focus areas, namely, smart energy, smart water management, smart transportation and smart waste management to estimate the market size for smart interventions through this model.

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