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Putting India on the cloud

Future Unleashed brought together over 3000 of the brightest minds and gave us glimpses of the India’s technological transformation via the cloud. Here are a few inspiring examples.

Imagine being asked for a relative’s previous medical records which you’ve forgotten at home because you were worried when rushing them to the hospital. Or being asked to submit your birth certificate for a legal requirement by the end of the day when you’re in another city. Or even being alerted to the possibility of a heart attack before it happens. Or having intelligence embedded in every appliance that alerts the company to defects and malfunctions on its own, cutting out the need to deal with customer service. All this and more, is actually a reality in this mobile-first, cloud-first world. In little and large ways India as a country is migrating to the cloud with remarkable results. Here are a few pioneering examples.

Empowering farmers with smart agriculture

Alla Raghu Rami Reddy in Atmakuru village of Guntur District is one of thousands of farmers in Andhra Pradesh who are using technology to beat the odds that are often stacked against them. He has adopted better farming practices, got advice from experts miles away, and is even earning more from his produce by connecting directly with buyers – all via the cloud.

Virtual AGRI Service (VAS) from Pals Global is a cloud-based solution intended to help farmers maximize production and profitability while minimizing costs. Supporting farmers holistically – the solution helps them right from crop planning with insights, real-time intelligence and advice, right up to the harvest where it even facilitates interactions with buyers.

This solution, co-developed by Food and Agri Business School, is deployed in the State of Andhra Pradesh, servicing over 10,000 farmers. Today, over 40% of these farmers actively use this cloud service on Azure. Available in vernacular Indian languages as well, the solution is being successfully taken to other Indian states. It’s a powerful example of how technology is closing the digital divide in Digital India.

“The cloud is the only way, enterprises and government organizations can scale up IT infrastructure to meet the needs of the discerning digital Indian. The Cloud Accelerator Program is designed to help India move to the cloud, and in turn, help ‘Make in India’ a reality. This will open up new possibilities in e-governance, financial inclusion, healthcare, and education to positively impact the lives of a billion people.”

Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India.

Enabling better health with predictive analysis

It’s 8 pm, and a top-level executive working in a multinational has just finished his cardio session at the gym. A few months ago, he would have been at the office working on a presentation instead of his heart rate. Thankfully, a predictive health analysis report revealed that he was at the risk of cardiovascular disease and suggested active steps to help manage his health risks.

Health Vectors is a patented solution that mashes clinical and personal health data including clinical, lifestyle, diet, exercise, family history, mental health and stress to predict chronic diseases even before the symptoms appear. Its risk predictor and mitigation tool uses evidence-based disease risk algorithms to calculate disease risk and provides a simple plan to mitigate them. Built on Azure, the system is more dynamic and location-agnostic, with the ability to reference data and connect healthcare experts and individuals across geographies.

On a corporate level, employers can discover the problems plaguing the health of their employees and come up with solutions that are customized to their workplace, office branch or even the individual.

Bringing cleaner water via the cloud

A working mother has just had a glass of clean, cool water from the purifier. Yesterday evening technicians had arrived at home to replace a filter in the purifier – even before she was aware that it had malfunctioned – thanks to the intelligence within it. Smart devices like these are transforming the way she, and other Indians live – starting from the very essentials like the water we drink.

With its growing population, water remains India’s most vital natural resources. And while India has made progress in the supply of safe water to its people, making the water safe for consumption and keeping the supply uninterrupted has always been a challenge.

iBot, an IoT solution provider, has built a generic purpose IoT board that integrates into any consumer electronics or durable, making the product an intelligent IoT device. Their partners in this exercise, Eureka Forbes, a pioneer in water purifiers in India is piloting iBot in their products as a way to take their customer centricity to the next level. There is an expected improvement of 100% in the first-time fix rate as no service call will go undiagnosed. It’s safe to say, this cloud solution certainly carries a whole lot of water with it.

Empowering aspirations with instant financing approvals

A young home owner in South India is exhilarated as she looks to furnish her new home. She has her eyes on the latest flat screen television – and is excited that she can own it with easy installments from Bajaj Finserv. Pretty soon she would want to upgrade the rest of her furniture with the company’s new instant EMI finance approval mobile application with minimal effort and time. And thanks to the new cloud based solution, she will.

Bajaj Finserv is the largest consumer durables financier in India, financing one out of every 5 consumer durables sold in the country. Present in 250+ locations in India, they are growing at a rate way higher than the industry average. To enable their 3-minute approval process for consumer durable loans, they have deployed a cloud-based solution at over 12,000 dealerships. And because they see incredible volumes of over 5 million applications annually, Bajaj Finserv uses Azure to run its loan fulfillment process for consumer durable, electronics and lifestyle financing. Empowered by the cloud, dreams become a reality instantly.

“Cloud is real in India today. Our early-adopter customers are already seeing the benefits of public, private and hybrid cloud.”

Karan Bajwa, Managing Director, Microsoft India

Using machine learning to decrease drop-outs

It’s lunch time, and students in a rural school in Andhra Pradesh are settling down to their noon meal. In a few years, some of them will go on to be a part of India’s educated and skilled workforce. But some, possibly not. High dropout rates are posing a challenge to the massive demand for incremental skill manpower. A trend that will hopefully be reversed with a little help from Azure Machine Learning.

Azure Machine Learning is a powerful cloud-based predictive analytics service that makes it possible to quickly create and deploy predictive models as analytics solutions in the cloud. Microsoft is working with the Government of Andhra Pradesh to build machine learning models on data being collected on student enrollment to predict dropouts. Using this intelligence, government subsidies, programs and other interventions can be directed to help to help students and schools that most need it and improve graduation rates.

This analysis lead to the discovery of over 60 visual patterns. Andhra Pradesh Government is now using this intelligence to plan strategic interventions under the ‘Badi Pilusthundi’ campaign. Machine learning surely has the potential to change the way India learns.

Seeing big improvement in battling blindness

N Durga Prasad, a visually impaired student has just cleared his Class X examinations with an impressive 9.2 score. Despite the challenges of having had impaired vision since childhood, he wanted to perform as well as his sighted peers in his academics. Counseled and supported by a rehabilitation team with training on low vision devices, he was able to copy from his classroom board and read from text books independently and efficiently and thereby ace his exams.

India is home to the largest number of blind people in the world. One out of every three blind people in the world lives in India. But the silver lining behind this situation is that up to 80 percent of blindness is curable or preventable. Medical practitioners acknowledge that there is a huge gap in data analytics, digital medical records, and integration of clinical and research data.

With a view to change this, L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), a comprehensive not-for-profit eye care institute is collaborating with Microsoft to work on a model of data analytics that could revolutionize the healthcare sector with EyeSmart, a revolutionary, award-winning ophthalmic electronic medical record and hospital management system. Since its inception, it has registered over 400,000 new patients, helped see 1.1 Million consultations paperless and generate actionable insights.

Driving innovation in the automotive industry

Eager to switch to an eco-friendly lifestyle, a prospective car owner, checks out the website of the Reva – an electric car from the Mahindra stable, with zero emissions. To get a bit of consensus from family and friends, he ropes in his wife, and a car-crazy friend and even a geeky friend to get their opinions. They are all on the same website from their various locations checking out the car together. In the showroom a few days later, the couple get to test it out with a simulated drive and explore its features in detail and finally get the true feel with a real test drive. When they do buy it, intuitive technology in the car will keep them constantly connected, giving them real- time data and updates via the cloud.

Mahindra is partnering with Microsoft to drive innovation and value for their customers. By infusing technology into every stage of the customer experience and provide an immersive engagement platform that provides connected and personalized experiences to consumers across every interface. Leveraging the power of the cloud, Microsoft is accelerating better driving experiences in India.

“Now we move forward to a mobile-first, cloud-first world, we are focused on helping our customers achieve greatness through digital technology. ‘Human mobility’ is core to our vision.”

Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft

A billion plus possibilities for India

And as India migrates to the cloud, it opens up new possibilities in e-governance, financial inclusion, healthcare, and education to positively impact the lives of a billion people. It’s an exciting mobile-first, cloud-first world and Microsoft is excited to be a part of it.