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Intelligent enterprises and the importance of intellectual property

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Pravin Hungund, Chief Technologist and Global Head Technovation Centre, CTO, Wipro Ltd.

By Pravin Hungund, Chief Technologist and Global Head Technovation Centre, CTO, Wipro Limited

The year 2020 fast forwarded the need to adopt emerging technologies. In the pre-pandemic world, emerging technologies typically lived through a one to two year window, to either fade away or mature. Today, however, most of them have quickly become an essential requirement, in order to address societal challenges. 

The world of technology has gone through multiple evolutions, moving from ‘Phygital’ to ‘going digital’. In this phase we witnessed the maturing of emerging tech, which in turn accelerated automation. Then from ‘going digital’ enterprises went to ‘being digital’ which enabled a ‘hands free’ operating mode for the industry. The pandemic has caused a further shift into a ‘digital in the virtual’ mode. 

 The ‘Digital in the virtual world’  and the technology concepts that enable it.

  • Conventional monopolies of the state such as money, are now transforming through the application of coding. We are seeing an expanded use of code in areas such as Markets and Trust, Money, and even as a weapon. 
  • Coding when applied to commerce enables new possibilities to receive, spend, hold, or transfer money globally.
  • Code has moved from a relatively minor back office function in IT to the edge, and is well on its way to evolving into a massively disruptive and the fastest growing industry worldwide. 

The codified centric approach has proven its might at a time where there is a need for certain ‘human free operation’. At Wipro, this is exemplified by a simple DIY app that helps track Covid-19 using Artificial Intelligence to pre-screen, track and assign degrees of urgency to patients. Right from sample submissions to AI analysis to results transferred to patients, the entire process is digital. This way, certain burdens are lifted from those working to battle Covid-19  and additionally those who may be vulnerable can be protected better.  

The state of the ‘Digital in the Virtual’ world today

The fintech industry is considered to be a horizontal enabler to every industry and acts as a reflector of emerging and existing industry trends across sectors. This is also true for the concept of ‘digital in a virtual’ world. 

  • A recent Statista report indicates that growth in average weekly usage of finance apps during the Covid-19  pandemic from December 29, 2019 to March 1, 2020 – Italy (15 per cent), Germany (15 per cent), United States (20 per cent), China (20 per cent), South Korea (35 per cent) and Japan (55 per cent). 
  • Bitcoins have reached an unprecedented high of US$ 63,346.79 on April 16, 2021 this year and digital currencies are making a comeback. 
  • Globally the market size of the contactless payment market was estimated to be at US$ 1.34 trillion in 2020. This market is expected to grow further at a CAGR of 20.3 per cent from 2021 to 2028. 

The emergence of the intelligent enterprise:  Merging of technologies, industries, and digital native conduct.

The pandemic generated dialogues around intellectual property (IP) and underscored its criticality in a post digital era, for every business. Today, IP has emerged as a must have for enterprises worldwide if they want to survive.  

We witnessed the positive impact of an operational intelligent enterprise when we went into the lock down that caused the entire business ecosystem to come to a grinding halt. Despite the lock down, select enterprises thrived in the scenario of constraints and ambiguity. While some businesses lost in select areas of business, others grew their revenue and expanded their sphere of influence and customer base. Several factors contributed to that success such as the fact that their product offering was crucial to the needs of the industry and they were in the cloud. However, the most important reason for this success was the foundational operating modes that made these companies intelligent. 

The emerging tech ecosystem – An Autonomous Operating Model

The foundation of Technological Singularity 

Technology singularity is a hypothetical concept that indicates a point in time at which the use of technology grows exponentially and irreversibly, resulting in never before imagined opportunities and changes to human civilisation. 

While currently technological singularity is a hypothetical event, the massive growth in technology due to unprecedented innovation is real. These innovations have the power to unlock new paradigms, as they converge.

The Emergence

Take into consideration the below converging technology themes at different layers,

  • Enterprise applications like ERP, CRM, SCM etc enabling Decision support and communication – Information Technology (IT)
  • Hardware and Software to monitor and control physical processes, devices, and infrastructure like Scada , IIOT – Operations Technologies (OT)
  • Tools for CAD, CAM, CAE for Design and engineering – Engineering Technology (ET)
  • Digital twins for Virtual representation, Game play mechanics, simulations – Game Technology (GT)

When integrated end to end, with emerging technologies such as Cloud Tech, IoT, AI, 5G, Blockchain, Robotics and Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality, these layers produce tactical themes which enable intelligent enterprises. This could include Augmented Virtuality, an Integrated approach to simulation and modelling, Intelligent Mechatronics and Human – Machine Collaborative Intelligence. In addition, a new trend of convergence can emerge across operations, data and engineering and game tech. The four layers of convergence of OT, IT, GT and ET will be the drivers of the intelligent enterprise ecosystem in the future. 

These fundamental changes make the dialogue on an enterprise’s intellectual property strategy even more critical for not only profitability but for survival. While technology singularity may still be in the distant future, technology convergence will surely give rise to computable environments and extend the internet functionality beyond its current form to sharing even experiences remotely at the edge. As technology evolves post pandemic era, enterprises will leverage IP’s to shift from ‘hands free’ to an autonomous operating model. These will be the levers from further shift from automation to an autonomous enterprise. Leveraging collaborative innovation, crowdsourcing and open innovation systems, will become a more fundamental society need.

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