Telecommunication – Enabling the Fourth Industrial Revolution

GREAT LAKES GUEST LECTURE SERIES – Mr SUNIL SAYAL

CFO REGION INDIA, NOKIA SOLUTIONS & NETWORKS

10th September 2018: Nokia, a brand that has a special place in all our hearts. Growing up, there hardly was any kid or adult in the 90s who didn’t own a Nokia. So, both the Ninjas (PGPM) and the Aztecs (PGDM) 2019 batches were supercharged to welcome Mr Sunil Sayal, CFO Region India, Nokia Solutions and Networks. Mr Sayal took the time out to share his immense experience of the telecom industry and talk about the ongoing fourth industrial revolution.

Mr Sunil Sayal | CFO Region India | Nokia Solutions and Networks

Mr Sayal is a finance professional with close to three decades of experience across both MNCs and Indian Corporate houses. He is a member of ICAI and ICSI and holds commerce and law degrees from Delhi University. He has been working in the Telecommunication Industry for the past two decades with Ericsson in the past & currently with Nokia Solutions and Networks and has witnessed its evolution in India since its infancy to the present era.

Mr Sayal started his talk with the history of past industrial revolutions. Steam engine powered industries and rail-roads had sparked the first industrial revolution, followed by the second revolution energized by electricity. The third spurt of massive productivity gains was triggered by development and advancements in the domain of computing and web-based internet. Mr Sayal believes that the fourth industrial revolution would be empowered by the explosion in digital information, Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence, with telecom being its biggest enabler.

He discussed the growth of the telecom industry starting from Analog Voice to current 4G making telecom industry an integral part of everyone’s life. A life without a 4G connection is now not imaginable. Mr Sayal shared interesting facts regarding the contribution of the Telecommunication industry towards the development of India. Having 1146 million subscribers, telecom industry contributes to 6.5% of GDP and has generated over 4 million jobs besides attracting big scale FDI. India and China are currently the #1 consumers in global data traffic. In his words, “We sit on the cusp of a revolution in information”, and the numbers are a definite proof of his statement.

How has Airtel managed to be the #1 company?

Mr Sayal highlighted the factors behind Airtel’s immense success in India. Airtel has been the leader in the telecom industry since its inception and has always enjoyed the biggest pie in the market share. Innovation is one of the biggest factors behind Airtel’s success. To quote him, “Either you innovate or you die out”, and this seems to be the motivation behind Airtel’s mission. Airtel, which had the first mover advantage, capitalized on the opportunities it got and never failed to take the lead in bringing technological changes in its services and quality rather than following the competition. While the strategy of adopting pay-by-capacity and network outsourcing to companies like Nokia and Ericsson has given them the competitive edge in improving the quality and services, having a brilliant brand connect has helped them in establishing the link with high revenue customers.

Why weren’t Vodafone and Idea able to challenge Airtel’s reign?

The two companies which recently merged to become the biggest player in the telecom industry bringing further consolidation in the industry have historically been the second and third biggest companies in the market. The guest discussed the gaps which kind of prevented these two great companies with extremely renowned parentage from challenging Airtel’s reign. Vodafone, which brilliantly established brand connect with its unique advertisements, fell short of providing a better alternative to Airtel’s services. While getting involved in the taxation dispute hurt the company during its early days, being a global company, it was perhaps not so successful when it comes to thinking and executing with local considerations in mind. Idea, too, lagged in establishing a concrete strategy to outsource or insource their networks and were not in a dominating or leading position in the cash-rich telecom circles of the country.

Jio – the disruptor?

The latest entrant in the Industry, Jio, has been able to disrupt the market with its out of the box thinking strategy and huge risk-taking appetite. Jio entered an already saturated market with its ground-breaking innovation and technology and became the first player to launch its services with Pan-India 4G coverage which helped them reach every corner. It launched its services with path-breaking industry-changing cheap tariff plans. While most companies would prefer taking services from well-established brands, Jio took a risk by purchasing the network equipment from a new entrant– Samsung, and invested hugely in R&D from best brains across the globe and provided the best quality services to the consumer. Mr Sayal quoted Mr Ambani, “Data is the new Oil”, which seems like the motivating idea behind Jio’s strategies.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

For his concluding thoughts, My Sayal explained the contours of the upcoming fourth industrial revolution which will be triggered by the introduction of 5G powered IoT. ”5G delivers extreme broadband, ultra-robust, low latency connectivity, and massive networking for the Internet of Things to enable the programmable world, which will transform our individual lives, economy and society”. Enabling the fourth revolution would require enabling massive capacity everywhere through Ultra-broadband, realizing the agility of software-defined business through Cloud and igniting the new businesses of IoT.

This, in his opinion, was the shape of things to come which will guide the future of the global telecommunication industry.

Author: Arpit Gupta

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

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Alumni Speak: Mohit Kakkar – Winner of SAP Global IoT Prototype Competition

Mohit Kakkar, student of PGPM Energy (Batch 2014-16), is currently working with Deloitte Consulting India Pvt. Ltd. and has recently won the SAP Global IoT Prototype competition.

We got in touch with him to know more about his achievement.

What was the SAP Global IoT prototyping competition about?

The Prototype competition was meant to give you an end-to-end experience of designing and prototyping an Internet of Things app for people’s needs. The top 5 submissions each won a brand-new Intel NUC Mini PC and $25 gift card which can be used to fund an entrepreneur on Kiva. The top 200 runner ups were displayed on the SAP “best of” gallery with their outstanding prototypes.

What is your line of work? Why did you take part in SAP Global IoT Prototyping competition?

After completing my masters from Great Lakes, I started working as a SAP consultant at Deloitte Consulting Pvt. Ltd. I participated in this competition because I am an IoT enthusiast from my post-graduation days where I learnt the fundamentals of IoT like Sensors, Cloud and various other business technologies. Since the digital transformation roadmap strategy of SAP got changed and they announced SAP Leonardo which was put forward as an innovation portfolio focused on innovative solutions running seamlessly on the cloud, there was no better way to get myself acquainted with the platform other than by participating in this competition and working on it in real time.

In your own words, what specific problem does this prototype seeks to solve? How does IoT provide an ideal solution?

We are living in 2017 and power utility companies today do know where a power outage has occurred, but they do not know what triggered that outage. Additionally, utility companies still can’t predict an outage and hence, they can’t take any preventive measures to stop it. On the other hand, by the time a crew member gets to know that a power outage has occurred at some place, the impacted customers suffer approximately 20 minutes of power outage on an average. Lastly, today customers have no visibility of their electricity consumption pattern and neither the electricity tariff that power utility companies charge them on a particular hour of the day.

Hence, the problems were many and I came up with a solution i.e. an innovative app which connects assets, control room operations team, crew members and customers/people.

Leonardo IoT Bridge provides us with capabilities to cut across various aspects of a power utility business model. We can monitor the real time health of the transformers using IoT sensors, using cloud platform edge computing we can store and analyse huge volumes of data of all the real time parameters; and we can also predict the future outages using machine learning algorithms. Moreover, we can also help the customers stay aware of their electricity consumption behaviour patterns by using smart meter data. Hence, we achieve increased transformer utilization, lesser power outages, and maximized revenue generation by monitoring the operational status and customer satisfaction.

What inspired you in creating your prototype?

My passion for IoT and excitement to learn SAP Leonardo framework inspired me to create this prototype. But to think through the complete end-to-end solution my 3.5 years of experience in Power utility industry and my subject knowledge which I gained at Great Lakes Institute of Management gave a head start to start this idea. Once the first draft was ready, the feedback and motivation I received from my mentor were a huge inspiration for me to build this prototype in an agile model, wherein I did multiple iterations to touch up the inconsistencies.

Do you plan to do further work in developing your prototype?

We have actually started building this solution in Deloitte. But I am eagerly waiting for the SAP connected goods portal, wherein we can configure and use the pre build APIs.

What are your thoughts on being able to fund an entrepreneur via the Kiva crowd funding platform? How did you go about identifying an entrepreneur to fund? Were there certain criteria that you used?

It felt really great that our hard work helped someone start their business. We talk about connecting people in the SAP Leonardo framework, but for all the winners to be able to fund an entrepreneur has truly connected people together.

Initially, I tried to fund an entrepreneur in my country, but then I found a lady in Cambodia who needed a loan of $625 to purchase a motorbike for her daughter to run her goods delivery business. She had received $600 already and I thought I should give my $25 gift prize to her and close down her request. It truly felt like bliss to be able to help someone so far away.

Read more about the Competition, winners and their prototypes here!