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Smart Cities


Feb, 2021

Vision for a Smart Future- 2025

Deepak Bharara, Director - Hartek Group

Year 2020 has been marred with the after effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The year, which started on a positive note with many reforms in pipeline, suddenly came to a standstill with the lockdown across the globe due to the pandemic. These lockdowns meant confining millions of citizens to their homes, shutting down businesses and ceasing almost all-economic activity. Everything halted – people, businesses, markets, economies.

Even as economic activities resume gradually, the situation will take time to normalize, as consumer’s behaviour is bound to change as a result of continued social distancing and uncertainty about how the pandemic will evolve. This pandemic has introduced the world to a “New Normal” where more and more people are working from home with the help of technological advancements which were 3-5 years ahead, pushed to “Now”.

The investment in the technology-based solutions like smart cities has increased manifold and the same goes with Pharma sector whereby many Governments around the world have pledged billions of dollars for a Covid-19 vaccine and treatment options. A number of pharmaceutical firms are in a race to develop and test potential drugs that could help nations get back to “normal”.

This crisis like no other will have a recovery like no other.

This crisis has generated medium-term challenges. Public debt during this period is projected to reach to the highest level in recorded history in relation to GDP, in both advanced and emerging markets and in the developing economies. Countries will need sound fiscal frameworks for medium-term consolidation, through cutting back on wasteful spending, widening the tax base, minimizing tax avoidance, and greater progressivity in taxation in some countries. At the same time, the crisis has also presented an opportunity to accelerate the shift to a more productive, sustainable, and equitable growth through investment in new digital technologies, widening the reach of the workforce, introducing the hybrid models / work structures and wider health /social safety and security systems.  

Global cooperation also has become all the more important to deal with this truly global crisis. All efforts should be made to resolve trade and technology tensions, while improving the multilateral rules-based trading system. Once the vaccine will be administered, countries and businesses will regain their focus back to the Future Vision but with newer mindset of Post Covid19 era encompassing the ‘New Normal’ Future Vision. The growth trends with this New Normal Mindset investing in future trends early, ensures that businesses reap the benefits tomorrow.

Some of the future trends that will help SME’s and MSME’s to stay ahead of the game:

1. Technology will be the foremost priority for any business whether it be AI, Machine Learning, IOT, Robotics, automation AR or VR

2. Hybrid work structures – A mix of WFO (Work from Office) & WFH (Work from Home) will help in reducing infrastructure costs, bringing in flexibility for employees, creating wider options / reach for hiring managers. Recruiting for knowledge workers can expand to new geographies and include previously underrepresented populations like disabled or chronically ill workers.

3. Embracing the GIG economy – The USA GIG economy was around 35% as in 2020 and is now going to expand across the globe by 2025. It is expected to contain a major chunk of global workforce. As the coronavirus pandemic forces a re-think of entrenched work culture norms, the opportunity arises for disruption of professional services via the gig economy.

4. Introducing AI for creating ‘WOW” Customer experiences & Use of Bots in most of the routine / mundane jobs.

5. Focus on Employee Health & Wellness will increase so as to prepare the World for any future pandemic like situation.

6. Digital market will become a norm.

7. Availability of Big data support for the businesses in taking better and informed decision making will be a crucial part of the new normal.

8. Technology will bring a level of intelligence to HR that will thrust HR into a role of a Consultant, a Coach or a Mentor.

9. 3D printing – It could enable unprecedented levels of mass customization and dramatically reduce the cost of supply chains

10. Continuous New learning & Re-trainings – The impact of technological and other changes will be shortening the shelf-life of employees’ existing skill sets..businesses will need to put talent development and future workforce strategy on the front and center of their growth. Firms will no longer be passive consumers of ready-made human capital. They continuously require up-gradation of skills and a new mindset to meet their talent needs.

11. Cloud technology – One of the biggest buzzwords of the last decade will continue to impact the next. Nearly all IT services and web apps could be delivered through the cloud with more enterprises using the public cloud as cyber security improves.

12. Internet of Things – More than 9 billion devices are currently connected to the internet – that number is estimated to grow between 50 billion to nearly 1 trillion in the next decade. Organizations will undergo monitoring and securing products, systems, devices and even people.

13. Human Skills will still matter – Even with the technological advancement in every field of business and in our lives; the need for honing the human skills that a machine cannot possess will still be there. Social Intelligence, creativity, networking negotiation and relationship building are as important as technical skills.

14. Distributed Teams – The “Future of Work” report by Upwork revealed that by 2028, 73% of companies will function on distributed teams. Flexibility of work is a high priority demand. The new generation workforce will require Quality of life and work flexibility and that has gained higher precedence for them. Distributed teams will bring in more productivity and better business outcomes.

15. Energy transformation – By 2025, carbon footprints will be viewed as socially unacceptable. The COVID-19 pandemic has focused the public’s attention on the need to take action to deal with threats to our way of life, our health and our future. We will experience the advent of diversity of new technologies aimed at both reducing and removing the world’s emissions

The last quarter of 2020 has shown tremendous recovery & we are on a steady path with the kind of initiatives taken by Government, we are confident that INDIA will emerge as a DEVELOPED COUNTRY by year 2025.