Digital India: Technology to transform a connected nation
Article Synopsis :
If you were to consider which could be the next big connected market, where would you say? Somewhere in Europe? Southeast Asia? Perhaps. But would India make it onto the shortlist? Probably not.
Yet India has more than half a billion internet subscribers driving growth as one of the largest and fastest growing digital markets. There is also the potential for the country to be ‘truly connected’ as soon as 2025.
This digital transformation creates significant opportunities and delivers economic value to consumers, business from the largest to the smallest, government, workers, farmers and others, besides.
Patchy adoption is gaining momentum
India has been slow to adopt digital, or at least, some sectors have been. However, we may see a proliferation of new digital business models across sectors in the coming years.
It is suggested that IT and business process management (IT-BPM), digital communication services, and electronics manufacturing could double by 2025, increasing from $355 billion to $435 billion.
Meanwhile, areas including agriculture, education, energy, financial services, healthcare, logistics, and retail could each create $10 billion to $150 billion of incremental economic value over the same period.
This economic tsunami will create anything between 60 to 65 million jobs, though there will be some displacement from existing roles and redeployment will be necessary.
Being a connected nation requires businesses – whether precision agriculture or digital logistics management – to find a new way to engage with customers and be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities.
Public and private-sector development
India has one of the largest internet user bases in the world. With more than 40% (560 million individuals by September last year) of the population having an internet subscription, India is digitising faster than many mature and emerging economies.
Indians downloaded more than 12.3 billion apps in 2018. The only other place on the planet to beat that figure is China. And the average Indian user is spending more time – up to 17 hours a week – than users in either China and the United States. Yes, really.
Government policy has been instrumental in the rapid development. The government’s Jan-Dhan Yojana mass financial inclusion programme added 332 million mobile phones used accounts and has almost doubled the number of Indian adults with a digital financial account, with coverage close to 80%.
Private-sector innovation is making online usage more accessible, with programme’s like Reliance Jio’s bundling cheap smartphones with subscriptions to its mobile service has delivering innovation and increasing pricing competition across the sector.
This has contributed to driving down data costs by more than 95% since 2013 – with the cost of 1Gb falling from 9.8% of per capita monthly GDP in 2013 (around $12.45) to 0.37% in 2017.
Average fixed-line download speed quadrupled between 2014 and 2017. This has led to monthly mobile data consumption per user growing at 152% annually. This is more than double the rates in both China and the US.
This is the foundation for a connected nation and this paper looks in detail at the potential impact of these changes.
It also examines the impact upon:
building digital ecosystems;
Finally, the implications for companies, policymakers, and individuals across a number of ethical and policy areas are considered.
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Digital Insurer's CommentsWe all know that developed markets are dragging their feet on the adoption and implementation of insurtech. But it is clear that India is knee deep in a digital revolution and is rapidly shaping preparing for ‘connectedness’.
It is comforting to believe that many emerging markets are less sophisticated than those that wrote the insurance rule book. However, it is a dangerous game to play.
India is changing so fast, its increasing sophistication in platform consumption will mean the insurance industry is likely to be playing catchup for the foreseeable future.
This makes the dangers of disruption from the platform providers all the more real – and, hopefully, motivational.
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