Is India’s Artificial Intelligence Market Overhyped or Revolutionary?
Read time: 4 minutes
As in other areas around the world, the growth of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) has received a lot of attention in India, especially considering the country’s experience in dealing with the COVID pandemic. In India’s case, is the attention warranted? Will AI/ML truly revolutionize businesses and the consumer experience in India? To find out, GLG’s Justin Chan recently hosted a teleconference with Jimmi James, currently President Asia and Middle East at Seclore Technologies, a cybersecurity firm, and a longtime executive in the data analytics business. The conversation, edited for clarity and length, follows.
Let’s start with the key question: What do you think is the growth potential of the AI/ML and data analytics sector in India?
Just as it is globally, the overall potential of this industry in India is tremendous, and thus far we have merely scratched the surface. We’ve already seen the huge impact of AI in retail and entertainment, where providers use AI to learn from our shopping patterns and customize their recommendations. Also, AI has spread to devices like smartwatches and even cars, which are now loaded with features like self-parking. Customers in India appreciate all these features, so it’s safe to say that over the next five to seven years, we will continue to see an increasing number of applications apply AI and analytics for revenue growth and operational efficiency improvement.
How developed is India’s AI/ML sector compared with other countries?
India has always been a hub for IT and IT engineering services. So it’s not surprising that several Indian AI and analytics firms — including Mu Sigma, Fractal Analytics, Tiger Analytics, Quantiphi, and Tredence Analytics — have grown rapidly over the last three to four years and are making a name for themselves globally. As a market for AI/ML, however, India is probably a few years behind the U.S., Europe, and Southeast Asia in terms of adoption. Those more mature markets have experimented with AI for longer and are more willing to pay for it in their niche offerings. But since the Indian market for AI services is growing, expect to see competition increase among domestic and international providers.
What about the use of artificial intelligence in non-tech sectors, such as agriculture and manufacturing?
That’s a very good question. Because there has been so much talk about the application of such things as AI in retail and healthcare, especially in the wake of the COVID pandemic, its impact on non-tech sectors, such as manufacturing, can easily be overlooked. In manufacturing especially, the impact of AI will be enormous.
One of the key challenges in manufacturing is predicting and reducing machine downtime for repairs and maintenance. Many plants often shut down for a day or two each month for maintenance, which leads to considerable losses in productivity and revenue. Predictive maintenance leverages the power of AI and analytics to determine when or if a machine needs maintenance or has a part that may fail. Many manufacturing firms are applying predictive maintenance systems at scale across their plants and are seeing big gains in productivity and operational efficiency. Manufacturers also are using AI-powered processes and ML for quality control purposes. Catching defects early reduces the time needed for manual inspections, increases overall efficiency, and eliminates costly and image-damaging product recalls.
In agriculture, AI-powered solutions not only enable farmers to improve efficiencies but also help them improve the quantity and quality of their crops. Some of the ways AI is used in agriculture is to help predict output yield and prices in the near term so that farmers can maximize the value of their harvests. AI also helps determine the right time to sow seed and the impact of weather conditions. There are also crop- and soil-monitoring uses, which can lead to more intelligent and less wasteful pest and weed control.
What is your outlook overall for AI/ML use in India?
There’s a long way to go, but I’m bullish. Based on a company’s understanding of AI and analytics and how the two can be used for growth and efficiency, I categorize customers for AI/ML as passives, investigators, experimenters, and pioneers. Currently in India, between 80% and 90% of the market consists of passives, investigators, and experimenters.
Passives are not sure about the investment that may be required to use AI and so are watching what the competition does and waiting to see what happens; investigators are doing the same but gathering more information. Experimenters are starting to use AI but haven’t really scaled up, and pioneers are companies like Amazon and similar tech-oriented companies in India that have started to implement AI at scale.
What makes me bullish about the market is that companies are moving up the chain. This is happening in India and globally. Over the next five years, we’ll start seeing a lot more applications of AI at scale. We’ll see lots of different solutions, more players, more innovation, and more customers warming up to the value of AI/ML. In India, the sector will continue to grow and surprise everyone. We are at a very early stage in the AI adoption life cycle; there is so much more to come.
About Jimmi James
Jimmi James is President — Asia & ME at Seclore Technologies, a cybersecurity firm. He previously was a Senior Vice President & Global Business Head at OnlineSales Inc., a SaaS firm, and earlier was a member of the leadership team at Quantiphi, where he led multiple strategic initiatives as the Global Head of Sales Enablement and Marketing Ops at Quantiphi Inc.
This technology industry article is adapted from the GLG Teleconference “AI/ML Market in India: Overhyped, or Will It Revolutionize Businesses?” If you would like access to the transcript for this event or would like to speak with technology industry experts like Jimmi James or any of our approximately 1 million industry experts, please contact us.
Questions Asked During the Teleconference:
- What are your overall thoughts on the growth potential of the artificial intelligence/machine learning and data analytics industry in India?
- How developed is India’s AI/ML sector compared with other markets, and what are the largest Indian companies in the sector?
- Have any AI/ML-focused companies successfully expanded overseas?
- What about expansion in the other direction? For example, have companies in the U.S. or EMEA moved into India?
- How can artificial intelligence be applied in non-tech sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing?
- Has the corporate deployment of AI been efficient? Are there ways it can become more efficient?
- Have companies become more receptive to AI and machine learning, or do they still have concerns about implementation?
- Which sectors stand to benefit the most from the growing AI/ML and data analytics industries, especially given their fast growth rate?
- What is your outlook for the industry in India?