BGR India organised its first-ever technology conclave where experts from across various industries converged on an online platform to discuss matters around how technology has been crucial in the fight against COVID-19, the role of affordable hardware in the continuation of education and its role in the job-hunting sector and also how IoT (Internet of Things) is shaping the future of smart homes.
Session 1: Role of technology against COVID-19
We kicked off the Conclave with the first session on the role of technology in the fight against a deadly pandemic that wreaked havoc across the world.
Durgesh Kaushik, who is the India head for Snapchat spoke about how social media apps have transitioned in this phase into becoming a key component of the communication ecosystem. He spoke about how Snapchat launched multiple features for users to deal with mental anxiety and also partnered with Manas Foundation to offer counselling on its platform.
We were also joined by Lokesh Suji who is the Director at the Esports Federation of India who spoke about the growth in the gaming sector amid the lockdown and also delineated about the difference between leisure gaming and gaming as a professional sport. He also shed light on how there was a surge in the number of people moving to mobile gaming due to two major factors: low-cost internet and affordable smartphones.
Priyanka Sharma who is a Tech Journalist at Wion spoke about how social media has helped us stay connected and how it was a positive space to battle anxiety.
Jubin Peter and Daman Soni were our industry experts from the entertainment hardware space who gave us insights on how companies had been able to cater to the growing needs of the consumers and also how they have to mould themselves in a way so that they could make affordable hardware without compromising on quality.
Session 2: How affordable technology helped in the continuation of education and jobs sector
The education and the job sector seemed to have been most affected by the pandemic which is why technology has been quintessential in this sector.
Dinesh Sharma, who is the Business Head, Asus India spoke about how ASUS as a brand has been able to make sure that its users get affordable solutions in terms of hardware. He also emphasised upon the fact that video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and even Google Duo have been crucial for the continuation for communication.
He also said that the company is looking to expand and how evaluation of people has moved online which is where tools like management software have been integral.
Nitish Singal, the Category Head for HP India echoed a similar sentiment but also chimed in how affordable internet has also boomed and helped people stay connected. He said that since the majority of the education and work has moved online, video conferencing tools and uninterrupted internet have indeed been “superpowers” that have carried us through these difficult times.
We were also joined by Ruchira Jaitly, CMO, HMD Global who emphasised about the increase in the traction for job-seekers today and how they have been able to utilise all the tools at their disposal to hunt for work. She also talked about how people have been looking to add value to their existing skillset so that it gives them a chance to compete in the market.
Rajat Garg from myUpchar.com talked about how he had been managing his business and his employees through the deployment of affordable sources of technology. From employee management software to desktop computers need to run his medical startup, Rajat emphasised how affordable form of technology has been keeping his business shoulder to shoulder with competitors.
Session 3: Internet of Things and the future of smart homes
It was down to the last session of the evening where we were joined by experts from the field of home automation and AI to talk about how people should perceive their smart homes to be like in the future.
Anku Jain, who is the Managing Director at MediaTek spoke about challenges that the company had to face in terms of moulding its infrastructure to meet the demand of growing consumer tech in the industry. Due to the lockdown, many people were investing in different forms of entertainment and as per Anku, chipset makers have to remodel their product lineup to cater to the growing needs.
When asked about whether home automation is only for the uber-rich and the affluent, Nikhil Maheshwari from SHIL (Somany Home Innovation Limited) said that some of the components and products might not be affordable in the beginning but in the long run, can come forth as a value for money investment. He did go on to add as per economies of scale, the price of the products will come down eventually as more smart home tech is ubiquitous.
Vivek Yadav, Senior VP, Havells spoke about how you can make a smart buying decision if you are not brand agnostic. There are several home automation brands in the market that offer similar solutions at a lesser price. This can be a great option for people looking to enter the space of home automation. He also emphasised about the fact that one needs to exercise entering home automation one step at a time. People should make smaller investments and then gradually look to build an entire ecosystem.
Ankit Tuteja from WION touched upon an important point of privacy and security when it comes to home automation. He urged people to exercise caution while using these products and laid down essential step like using VPN, ensure the device is offline when not in use, etc to ensure that you’re privacy is not compromised.