Industry Views: How was 2019 for India Inc?

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As we come to the end of 2019, perhaps it is an apt time to look back and analyse – what really worked and what did not? Due to severe economic downturn, many industries from telecom to auto to real estate, remain stagnant or did not see any growth. But there are always some bright spots that try to make its presence felt even in odd situations and that is what some of the young companies tried to do in 2019. TechObserver.in spoke to few of the key industry leaders to make a sense of their progress in 2019 and their expectation from 2020.

Dipali Mathur Dayal, Co-Founder, Super Smelly

The year 2019 has witnessed customers grow more aware of what their beauty products are made of. They’re no longer buying things off the shelf with a blind eye to the ingredients or to animal and environmental concerns. Thankfully, this consciousness is expanding and evolving in the world of beauty and skincare. The coming year, 2020 already stretches before us against this backdrop.

I believe that the trends that will gain unprecedented popularity are anti-pollution skincare, gender-neutral brands, plant-based diets, vegan skincare, sheet masks and Korean skincare regimes and ingredients. Most of these trends are inspired by current needs and the challenges of everyday life, taking skincare to a very real level. And not to forget, responsible

Gautam Raj Anand, Founder and CEO of

When we look back at the podcast industry in India, 2019 would have been a year that goes down in history. Hubhopper is proud to be a fundamental part of this growth. With the entrance of big players in the market, awareness has finally started growing. Traditional organizations have started building their audio verticals and brands are looking at how to leverage the audio space for marketing and advertising.

Individual creators and artists are now able to launch their own audio channels and shows with creator platforms like Hubhopper Studio. In 2019, Hubhopper has integrated with a diverse set of platforms like OEMs, smart speakers, utility apps, AI assistants, in-car entertainment, in-home entertainment, smart TVs, and many more — bringing a personalized and localized audio experience to all sets of audiences across the nation. 2019 has made it clear that India is rediscovering its love for audio content.

In 2020, the podcast space in India will see the real meaning of the scale. There is going to be an explosion of audio content supply, right from big organizations, enterprises, and brands, down to individual creators and artists. Consumption is going to soar — with awareness continuing to grow and listeners not just in metro cities, but across Tier 2 and Tier 3 finding localized vernacular content which they can relate to and which is easy to consume. 2020 will democratize audio for all.

Akhand Swaroop Pandit, CEO and Founder, Catalyst Group

Personalised learning has been in the education sector for many years now and its popularity keeps growing. But in 2020, we will see increased integration across the globe of personalized learning. EdTech and AI technology has evolved more to cater to personalized learning styles and diverse individual needs. Just in time assessment will assist teachers to intervene at appropriate stages and tailor lesson plans accordingly.

With the increased adoption of EdTech in schools, universities and institutes across the world, the administration will have to strategize and plan their investments accordingly. The next few years from 2020 will see significant integration of below technologies:

Cloud Based Technologies: Education organisations will aim to leverage benefits of cloud based technologies to drive cost savings and operational efficiencies through shared services initiatives.

Blockchain Technology: Education sector will look towards utilizing blockchain technology to cut paper and printing costs by digitally storing student certificates and diplomas, cost and labour savings by transferring the control of storing personal data to the applicants, litigation cost savings due to loss of documents and damage.

Online Education: According to KPMG and Google study, it is predicted that online education in India is likely to be 2 Billion USD industry by 2021. Students are now focusing more on online learning sitting at their home and as quality education at an affordable cost is made available to them through e learning platforms like Catalyst, it is making education accessible to everyone at anywhere, anytime.”

Amol Arora, Vice Chairman and MD,

The year 2019 saw some major and promising changes in the education sector. Starting from the establishment of the National Research Foundation (NRF), which is helping in creating the right ecosystem for R&D in the country with greater focus on innovation, to the introduction of New National Education Policy, which is transforming India’s higher education system to one of the best around the world, it has been great to see the government taking steps to strengthen the education sector.

A humble yet notable announcement was the ‘Study in India’ Programme, which I think holds the potential to put India on the world map. However, we still need a series of fundamental structural reforms that need to be implemented. To cater to the evolving needs of the future workforce, education startups need to be encouraged, especially EdTech.With 2020 just around the corner, we are ready to welcome the New Year with new hopes, new outlook and a new zeal.

We are looking forward to create opportunities for budding entrepreneurs to increase the supply of quality schools so that parents have a choice. Our endeavor is to make learning creative, interesting, interactive and engaging in the coming times, through a system of education which is constructive, comprehensive, practical and futuristic.

Beas Dev Ralhan, Co-founder and CEO,

Technology is one of the biggest factors impacting the Indian education scenario today. We see it in the form of digital content and classrooms, online assessments and cloud-based platforms, augmented by the exponentially growing Internet and smartphone penetration. This integration of technology in education, which is giving impetus to initiatives such as online teacher training and integrated learning, is expected to continue at a fast pace throughout the country.

These initiatives have facilitated the popularity of new-age pedagogies, empowering students with self-learning abilities through e-learning tools as well as the adoption of experiential learning solutions for a holistic learning experience. Some of the practices that are revolutionizing the Indian education system currently and will continue to do so are as follows.

Experiential learning techniques: Experiential learning is being implemented in India in the form of virtual labs, platforms, virtual and augmented reality tools, and gamification of learning. This form of learning enables students to be actively involved in defining problems, asking questions, experimenting, analyzing results and constructing meaning. Furthermore, it provides an immersive, real-life experience, and is effective in maximizing student motivation and engagement while developing and instilling in them 21st-century skills, such as communication, collaboration, and creativity.

Artificial intelligence and cloud computing: AI has made considerable inroads in education across the world, and India, as one of the leading developing nations, is no exception. Some of the key challenges faced in the education sector in India is the all-round management of schools, streamlining of assessments and implementation of personalized learning. AI, along with cloud technology, is helping overcome these challenges with online data management and adaptive learning techniques, providing means to successfully personalize education in the country.

Surajit Das, CEO, Routematic

Over the last decade we have seen rapid adoption of urban mobility technologies in the daily office commute market. From simple GPS based vehicle tracking systems, corporates graduated to workflow-based transport management systems which offer transport process digitization and automation and then to sophisticated AI based transport management systems like Routematic which deliver route optimization, accurate travel time predictions and commuter safety shields. Office commuters today carry feature rich apps like Routematic to manage their daily commute.

The transport management systems which came up in the last decade focussed largely on the demand i.e. technologies which focussed primarily on catering to the needs of the corporate and its employees but stopped short of innovating for the supply chain which is the most crucial component of the ecosystem. The supply chain in the daily office commute market continues to be fragmented and relatively non-tech. The only bits of technology introduced into the supply chain are basic GPS tracking and at best a mobile app for digital display of trips.

In 2020 we expect supply chain technologies to play a big role in changing the face of the daily office commute market where Routematic is expected to lead the way. The supply chain innovations around predictive vehicle positioning, automated dispatch will be based on a city planning model and will deliver the benefits of better vehicle utilization, city decongestion and reduction of our carbon footprint. We also expect that the daily office commute market will lead the adoption of Electric vehicles in the country and this will be made possible by deep learning algorithms which take vehicle dispatch decisions based on range, charging infrastructure availability and expected future demand into the day.

Rohit Sethi, Director, ESS Global

So far this year has been quite an eventful with almost half a million students from India went abroad for higher education. Indian talent is so much in demand on global front that all these countries lined up to attract Indian students with the favorable policies. All major host countries like Australia, Canada, UK, USA and others now have gone up and we have not seen any slow- down. We hope the trend continues in the year 2020. New Zealand, Germany & France are few countries that will rule 2020 in study abroad sector.

 Siddhartha Gupta, CEO, Mercer|Mettl

In 2019, organisations focused upon reskilling and upskilling their workforce. Most sought after skills were in new age technology spaces like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), IoT, & Data Sciences space. HR leaders are far more open to the adoption of new-age tools to bring about a transformation in the way they search, manage and retain talent. Organisations are attempting to make better data-based decisions to improve employee productivity and the company’s profitability. Many organisations adopted Predictive Analytics to hire for performance, lower attrition and better cultural fitment among other competencies.

Organisations will continue to face disruption and hence they will have to invest in improving all processes related to Talent management. Better people will remain the biggest differentiator and that’s why workplace learning will see continued investments. Organisations will focus on building an intelligent workforce with high learning agility so that they can adapt and respond  to technological inventions/disruptions. Also, processes around Flexi-hiring, info-security, and GDPR would have to be given special emphasis.

Ravinder Singh, Founding Director, 1-India Family Mart

Retailing in India has emerged as one of the most vigorous and fast-paced industries after travelling through different phases over the years. In fact, the country today is the fifth largest preferred retail destination globally and embraces a very strong position as far as its market potential is concerned.Retailers are consistently trying to tap the gravity of this potential by using the latest technologies along with new generation tools like data analytics, social commerce, CRM solutions, etc. which form the backbone of modern retailing.

Bolstered by healthy economic growth, changing demographics, increasing disposable incomes, urbanisation, changing consumer tastes and preferences, and higher consumer confidence, year 2019 experienced strong retail sales. While traditional and unorganised retail formats continue to dominate the retail market, organized retail is growing at a faster pace driven by technology intervention. The industry is now expected to reach US$ 1400 billion by FY 2024 from US$ 790 billion in FY 2019, growing at a CAGR of 12 percent.

Hitesh Rathi, Founder, Aadvik Foods

Dairy industry in 2019 saw a great rise in the new-age startups. A lot of new concepts and technologies were introduced this year. A lot of startups selling fresh cow milk to goat milk to camel milk have been revolutionizing the dairy industry for the past few years, 2019 is the epitome of the same.

Milk delivery startups also had a roller coaster ride this year. There is a lot of hope for the dairy industry for the next year as consumers are becoming more quality-sensitive and tech-savvy with every passing day and with the advent of new technologies and more internet penetration across the country, even the dairy companies will improve to match up the consumers’ expectations.

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