Friday, Jan 28, 2022

NEC India: Seven Decades Of Nation Building With Technology

In an exclusive chat with Outlook, Mr Aalok Kumar, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), NEC Corporation India, bares his thoughts, vision and ideas to turn over a new leaf.

NEC India: Seven Decades Of Nation Building With Technology
NEC India: Seven Decades Of Nation Building With Technology -

NEC has been around for 70 years in a country that turns 75 on the 15th of August. So, tell us about the journey so far say.

The last 70 years have been a remarkable journey for NEC in India. As early as 1956, we were the first company to have supplied 2-gigahertz microwave and communication system to National Physics Research Center in Ahmedabad. In 1964, NEC supplied the satellite earth station to VSNL and ONGC and in 1977, we were the first company to supply the international gateway exchange to enable overseas communication in Delhi, Mumbai and Madras. So, in many ways our purpose to connect the world was started in India as early as  the  1950’s. Since then, we’ve done many marquee projects. More recently, during the early mobile network revolution in India in 2002, it was NEC which actually supplied Nationwide GSM deployment for BSNL.

The Aadhaar card that every Indian carries today sits on NEC’s platform. We are also the company to enable the entire multimodal biometric authentication for UIDAI. So, in some sense all of you carry a part of our company in your pocket. For that we Thank you !

There are so many other projects to talk about. For the last 70 years, NEC has invested in building the backbone infrastructure on which Digital India is being built today. We are very proud of this silent contribution we have made over 7 decades in India.

It’s fascinating to a company that has been around for so many years and has witnessed the transformation of India. But this journey could be broken down into pre-COVID and post-COVID. In the pandemic-hit India we have seen an exponential growth in the IT sector. How is your company contributing to this growth story?

The pandemic has taken the entire ICT sector world over with a great degree of positive surprise. We are seeing an enormous number of not just large enterprises, but also governments to adopt and there is an acceleration to digitalize their processes, their supply chain, and their businesses. So, we are seeing very attractive growth and very high demand for software professionals that India is known for.

NEC’s growth strategy in India is really built around three pillars. Number one is around product and solution innovation. We try to deliver cutting edge technology to meet business and social challenges to improve the productivity of the people. Second, we like to deploy the right technology at the right place at the right time, and most importantly, at the right cost. We strongly believe that there is an inflection point when the right technology finds its place at the right time and in the right industry. And our third big pillar is our project delivery capabilities. Being a company with a proud Japanese heritage, we are known for impeccable standards in project and technology delivery that many of our customers vouch for.

Right, when you talk about products and solutions, what are the top trends that you see when it comes to digital transformation?

I would say there are five or six that I feel is going to change every individual, every government and every enterprise in the coming decade. Digitalization will be all pervasive and it will be critical to both national productivity as well as for the success of individual companies and sectors. This expectation of efficiency through  digitalized productivity is moving into our government functioning as well. It has huge implications on the way we as citizens will begin to demand transport, logistics, safety and other basic citizen services etc.

Beyond shopping, healthcare sector will see a massive impact of AI, and what technology can do. Then there is supply chain resiliency. With more buyers are shifting online there will be implication on efficient inventory management, and therefore, more homogeneous integration of demand and supply. Future of work which is going to be more hybrid model means that the organization’s culture, ethos and working dynamics will get recalibrated. Same culture that people used to exchange in real time on the corridors of office is not going to happen anymore. There will be implications as technology becomes the highway on which the talent interaction and skill sets will crisscross. And the last is my favourite, which is democratization of AI. We are already seeing it. There will be a lot of noise at an early adoption stage. Issues like data privacy, . access to information, dependency on technology will raise several debates. But eventually it will all settle down. Artificial intelligence will have an impact in everything that we do from banking,  retail,  e-commerce, agriculture, healthcare, insurance, logistics, transportation etc. – and will emerge as a new order around which data will begin to get methodically organized for faster decision making.


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