Investing in Machine Learning: Making Way for a Digitally 'Intelligent' India

Gaurav Sachdeva, Managing Director, JSW VenturesAn early stage capital investor Gaurav blends his operating experience of enterprise sales managing cross cultural teams and driving results to help early stage companies navigate through complex initiatives

If there were two facts any investor was to say with conviction about opportunities in the Indian market, the first would be that startups, innovating towards unique solutions, are the biggest bet in a rapidly digitizing world. Second would be the emerging technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence(AI) which have already started redefining every aspect of businesses from functions to products.

According to a recent report by Research and Markets the global machine learning market is expected to grow from USD 1.41 Bn in 2017 to USD 8.81 Bn in 2022. This works out to a CAGR of 44.1 per cent The driving factors are both a massive increase in data generation as well as rapid advances in the technology itself. This technology innovation has been led in part by startups that are leveraging artificial intelligence(AI) and machine learning to develop solutions that boost the capability of businesses to process data into efficient actions. This is particularly true for India, which is witnessing a surge in the number of technology start-ups that are experimenting consistently with machine learning and AI, to craft solutions that have India specific and global applications. The fields are rapidly getting entrenched into the core of businesses in various industries that are revisiting their business functions and practices to kick start a digital transformation amidst the government’s drive to establishIndia’s technological prowess by strengthening the role and the contribution of startups in its overall growth story.

Investing in the Future
In India, where connected devices and connectivity are exponentially increasing companies are witnessing a surge for automation for accurate insights derived with minimal time cost and human intervention. This sets the base for the growth being witnessed in the segments of machine learning and AI, whose demands for experts are expected to grow by nearly 60 per cent by the end of this year. With more startups addressing these demands investors need to consider investing in these emerging technologies that play as a direct contribution to nurturing an aspect that is likely to be a certainty in the future.

With hardware getting increasingly affordable the consequent affordability of computing resources,
sectors like IT and infrastructure are now enhancing their reliability on machine learning and AI to make processes smarter and more connected. Sensors predictive maintenance analytical models and pattern recognition that run on these two technologies are now rapidly becoming a norm to strengthen businesses and public infrastructure like railways civil aviation nuclear plants telecommunication towers and power stations. It is this widespread applicability of these technologies that has spurred investments in the machine learning and AI as an investment into the future.

It is imperative that investors acknowledge and act upon nurturing these emerging technologies in the country if we are see the dawn of the day when India is considered a digitally ‘intelligent’ powerhouse

Rise of Machine Learning and AI
Niti Aayog's recent paper on National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence has addressed the national strategy on artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies in India. It has identified priority areas and from a perspective of economic impact, it has the potential to drive growth through enabling intelligent automation i.e. ability to automate complex physical world tasks that require adaptability and agility across industries labour and capital augmentation enabling humans to focus on parts of their role that add the most value complementing human capabilities and improving capital efficiency and innovation diffusion i.e. propelling innovations as it diffuses through the economy. The application of AI has the potential to add value to a wide range of sectors such as healthcare retails, smart mobility, manufacturing, education, smart cities and skill development. With their capability to process large amounts of data in an intelligent and efficient manner solutions based on machine learning and AI present the perfect mechanism to minimise human intervention, errors and redundancies.

With their large capability to process amounts of data in an intelligent and efficient manner, solutions based on machine learning and AI present the perfect mechanism to minimise human intervention, errors and redundancies. It presents sound reasoning behind companies increasing their intervention in creating an Application Programming Interfaces or API economy. These economy births and nurtures solutions that entrench in machine learning and AI to maximize efficiencies. While major providers like Google, Amazon and Apple have increased their efforts in creating unique solutions in the space, several startups like and Inclovin India have also now joined the movement to create their own APIs that help address profitability, coherence in functions, and costs. These solutions are now set to witness exponential growth in a digitalizing country where businesses are vying to personalize customer experience and boost their standing in a competitive market.

Creating a Digitally ‘Intelligent’ India
Boosting investments in these emerging technologies will not only help new businesses to flourish in the country but will also pave the way to establish the digital prowess of the Indian economy backed by the power that AI provides. It becomes all-the-more crucial as they offer new skills for the Indian workforce to gain their expertise in especially ones that cater to global demands scalability, simplifying businesses and enhancing customer experience, while ushering an unrefuted digital future.

The need of the hour is for the industry to join hands in boosting these investments to strengthen the capabilities of the startups here. It will allow them means to scale-up their operations and innovate towards better solutions that ultimately, derive value for Indian businesses and the economy. It is imperative that investors acknowledge and act upon nurturing these emerging technologies in the country if we are see the dawn of the day when India is considered a digitally ‘intelligent’ powerhouse.