Kochi: The fifth edition of TechExpectation, Manorama Online’s premier digital summit, kicked off at 10 am on Friday.
The theme of the event is ‘MO@25: Absorb, Evolve & Thrive in New Digital Order’. This year’s Techspectations is a celebration of Manorama Online’s 25th anniversary.
Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar delivered the inaugural address. Speaking on the topic ‘Defining the new digital system from the government’s perspective’, he said that there has never been such an opportunity-rich time in India’s independent history. “India today allows young minds to dream and the government paves the way to make this a reality,” he said. Among the users of technology, India today is a world-class producer of technology.
Talking about the growth of India’s digital economy, the minister said the narrative was set before 2014 with companies like Infosys and HCL. “But if the digital economy is 5 percent of the country’s GDP, by 2025-26, it will be 25 percent,” he said, adding that disruption and innovation in technology is the new normal.
Five panel discussions and one fireside discussion are lined up.
Starters: Building from Kerala
The first session was on ‘Startups: Building from Kerala’ Binu Jacob, MD & CEO, Experion Technologies; Jithu Sukumaran Nair, CEO, VAAN Mobility; Joffin Joseph, Founder and CEO, Toto Learning; Sreejith Sreekumar, Founder and CEO, Giacca & Abito Sartorial Fashion; and Dr. Tom Joseph, Co-Founder, USDC, shared their experiences and insights during the session.
“Once you’ve gained momentum from running a startup, it becomes very difficult to be your own boss and settle for a slower pace of life,” says Joffin Joseph.
Jitu Sukumaran Nair said VAAN Mobility will launch electronic scooters in the next six months.
Binu Ya’qub had words of encouragement for entrepreneurs. He advised them to follow their passion and inspiration no matter what and it will definitely bear fruit.
He had two pointers for those who want to start a startup with friends and former colleagues: “Bring strengths together, the virtue of sacrifice is important, recognize different needs and always make a small family feel in the company.”
Sreejith Sreekumar shares three points that inspire his companies Giacca and Abito Sartoriale Fashion – Entrepreneurship is synonymous with parenthood. One person cannot do the whole job. You must have a vision; What you create or build will outlive your life; In the grand scheme of things, we are individually insignificant. Therefore, it is important to be beautiful.
Artificial Intelligence and Business Intelligence
The second panel discussion was on Artificial Intelligence, one of the most controversial topics in the world today. Panelists Praveen Jayakumar, Senior Manager, Amazon Web Services; Soumitra Dankar, Solutions Consultant, Adobe India; and Subram Natarajan, Director of Customer Engineering, Google Cloud covered various aspects and challenges of AI in the session ‘Artificial Intelligence and Business Intelligence’.
Subram Natarajan says AI as a technology has given us immense insight. He also said that you don’t have to be a computer science engineer to start joining AI. “Google’s approach to AI is based on the founding principles of ensuring that data is well-organized and useful to humans. It is shaped by our commitment to making our lives easier and more convenient,” said Subram.
When asked why we need AI, Soumitra laid out three reasons – to discover the hidden; Accelerating the delayed; To determine when necessary.
Praveen Kumar said there are five trends in machine learning – linguistic models; data; ML Industrialization; Responsible AI, and democratic ML.
Fireside Chat: Building Luxury Brands from India
The Fireside Chat ‘Building Luxury Brands from India’ had panelists Nirupesh Joshi and Mhret Amalaraj, founder of Bangalore Watch Company, in conversation with Preetika Mathew, Editor-in-Chief, WatchTime India.
Nirupesh Joshi on how Bangalore Watch Company came into being: Watches are close to our hearts as they always have an emotional connection with us. All international companies are involved in stories that create an emotional connection between the watch and its owner. It could be a story about a watch that went to the moon, a World War II aircraft inspiration, etc. But there are no quality watchmakers in India who weave stories into the production process. This is where the idea of Bangalore Watch Company was born.
Bangalore Watch Company is a class of luxury at an affordable price. “Our watches are priced in the range of Rs 75,000 to Rs 2 lakh. At this price point, there are only mass-produced brands in India and nothing special,” said Nirupesh.
Bangalore Watch Company has watches inspired by India’s space program, air force and even cricket.
Mehret Amalaraj’s response to Indian stories has been good, but gaining the trust of the market has been difficult, especially when it’s a digital-only brand. She also said that the Bangalore watch company has a 35 percent repeat rate.
The two gave three tips for building from India to the world – There can be no compromise on quality; They must maintain global design thinking; Choose themes that have universal appeal.
Kiruba Shankar, Business Blog Private Limited, delivering the sessions. Manorama Online CEO Mariam Menn Mathew and Dr. Tom Joseph, Director of New Initiatives, Jane Deemed-to-Be University, addressed the gathering.
At a time when Malayalis were skeptical of new technology, Manorama foresaw the opportunity to go digital and started Manorama Online: “Two and a half decades ago, when Google was still in its infancy; Hotmail was the hot property and not Gmail, when Indians mocked pagers and not smartphones, when it was simply ‘chat’ and not ChatGPT, far from the oceans of Silicon Valley and a few miles from the Kerala lake, the then 109-year-old Malayalam Manorama team hit the www.com world with Manorama Online.
Long before the pandemic, digital transformation was the new normal at Manorama Online, she said.
Global technology leaders, investors, domain experts and artists will participate in this summit, which will hold consultations on various topics such as startups, artificial intelligence, luxury brands, OTT and cyber security in the financial sector. Jane Online is a presenting partner of the program.
There will be a panel discussion on the exciting topic – ‘The Future of News’. The session will be moderated by eminent journalists for an insightful exchange of ideas. Binoy Prabhakar, Editor-in-Chief, Moneycontrol; Durga Raghunath, Head of News Partnerships, Google India; Naresh Fernandes, Editor, Scroll.in; and LV Navaneeth, CEO, The Hindu, are the panelists.
Veterans from the banking and financial sector will come together to discuss ‘Cyber and Data Security for BFSI’. Balakrishnan, Managing Director, Geojit Financial Services; Arvind Ganesan, Head of Business, Akamai Technologies; Babu Thomas, Senior Vice President and IT, Federal Bank; G. Venkataraman, Chief Information Security Officer, ESAF Microfinance Bank; and Shibu K Thomas, Joint General Manager and Chief Information Security Officer, Bank of South India will address the session.
The final session will see a panel of celebrities discuss ‘Blurring the Lines of Regional Entertainment’. Screenwriter and director Shankar Ramakrishnan, cinematographer-director Santosh Sivan, Malayalam director Ratish Balakrishnan Poduval, Prithviraj Productions founder Supriya Menon and actress Mamata Mohandas, head of content Sony LIVE, will join the discussion.
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