Bharat Bytes: India has most digital IDs; diplomatic dialogue on AI; GCCs surge; 5G recommendations; Air India’s IT upgrade

Bharat Bytes is Computerworld India’s regular round-up of news from the world of IT.

bharat bytes blog logo

India is biggest digital ID provider

With 1.3 billion Aadhaar card users, India tops the list of countries with the most digital ID users. A digital ID is a digital copy of a physical ID like Aadhaar, a driving license, or a passport. Globally, there are 4.2 billion digital ID users, a number expected to reach 6.5 billion by 2026, according to Juniper Research. Most government-funded schemes in India are linked to Aadhaar card numbers for verifications.

Juniper Research found that COVID-19 has accelerated the pace of digital identity adoption by over 50%, emphasizing its importance, especially in government services. The report recommends that government partner with digital identity vendors with diverse identity datasets to ensure an inclusive digital transformation in e-governance. It expects digital identity vendors’ revenue globally to exceed $53 billion by 2026, up from $26 billion in 2021.

India in talks with US to harness AI opportunities

India and the US have held an inaugural AI dialogue to discuss opportunities for joint innovation in new domains. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Jaishankar met US Secretary of State Tony Blinken and US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Following the India-US ministerial dialogue, Singh released a statement saying, “Our extensive engagement has yielded important results. Some of these include… commencing the defence space and defence artificial intelligence dialogues in near future.”

The parties also discussed a possible deepening of collaboration between the two countries in domains including science and technology in the US-India Joint Technical Group (JTG), space, AI, and cybersecurity.

Global capability centres surge in India

As the pace of digital adoption increases, there has been a surge in the number of global capability centres (GCCs) set up in India. According to Nasscom, as of financial year 2020 India was home to over 1300 GCCs employing more than 1.3 million workers and contributing $33.8 billion in gross revenue. The industry organisation said that 25% of the Fortune 500 and 15% of Fortune 2000 companies have a presence in India.

3M, Airbnb, Zoom Video Communications, Pratt & Whitney, Tredence, Rolls Royce, Bosch Global Software Technologies have all recently set their GCCs in the country. US retailer Lowe’s was the latest to announce the launch of a GCC, its second in India.

Recently, crypto exchange platform Coinbase also announced its plans to set up GCC in India. The rise in the number of GCCs can be credited to the growing demand due to the increased focus on automation and digitalization after the pandemic.

TRAI submits 5G recommendations

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has submitted its recommendations to the government on how 5G spectrum should be auctioned to network operators. The auction is expected to happen later in 2022.

The report titled ‘Recommendations on Auction of Spectrum in frequency bands identified for IMT/5G,’ was expected to be submitted in February 2022, but was eventually filed in mid-April.

In its report, TRAI recommends the reserve price for all 5G spectrum be set at 70% of the valuation previously arrived at. It recommended that the spectrum for 5G be auctioned in the bands already used for mobile communications in India, and also in the new spectrum bands of 600 MHz, 3300-3670 MHz, and 24.25-28.5 GHz.

The telecom body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) whose members include Airtel, Jio, and Idea however wasn’t happy with TRAI’s recommendation and said the spectrum pricing was still too high. COAI had presented arguments and concerns about the high reserve price based on global benchmarks and recommended lowering the price by 90%.

Air India revamps its IT plans

Tata Group recently acquired Air India and now plans to improve its IT infrastructure. With the upgrade, Air India’s chairman N Chandrasekaran aims to bring business accountability to the airline to save costs and improve efficiency.

Technology firm Amadeus will be taking over the development of Air India’s passenger services system, which includes functions such as flight schedules, ticket reservations, and ecommerce, as the airline’s existing agreement with SITA ends in June.

Amadeus will upgrade Air India’s IT to a single platform of advanced technology for frictionless bookings, helping agents efficiently upsell and add-sell for a better mix of high-value fares. The company expects the tech upgrade will save it crores of rupees in the next few years.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

It’s time to break the ChatGPT habit
Shop Tech Products at Amazon