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AI, BlockChain, new immersive technologies to drive future startup ecosystem

As part of the ongoing Make in Odisha Conclave 2022, Startup Odisha organized ‘Startup Odisha Ecosystem Mixer’, a platform that brought together academia, investors, unicorns and government to deliberate on the future of the start-up ecosystem in the state and the opportunities that the future held. The event held at OHub provided an opportunity for early-stage start-ups to interact with successful young start-up founders, venture capitalists and experienced professors. Dr Omkar Rai, Executive Chairman, Startup Odisha said, “E-Commerce platform will continue to lead the creation of wealth in the startup ecosystem, in time to come, we will see the enhanced use of artificial intelligence, block chain, immersive technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality, AVGC, electric connected and autonomous vehicles driving the start-up ecosystem. In our efforts to reach out to youngsters and transform them from ideators to start-ups, we have strived to create sensitization at the grass roots level to create a culture of ideation. Every school and college is required to be equipped with tinkering labs and centers of excellence if they are to become entrepreneurs and create products. Our aim is to increase per capita income by helping start-ups in every sector at every level of the value chain. The need of the hour is to bring all stakeholders together to encourage, sustain and grow the start-up ecosystem in the state. Deep tech, aviation, robotics among 19 disruptive startups that showcase products at Make in Odisha Conclave 2022 want to position Odisha as a promising destination for start-ups with a lot of potential. Odisha has excellent technology and educational institutions, and we should leverage this advantage to achieve the vision of the Government of Odisha to achieve 5000 start-ups by 2025.” In her address, Rajita Kulkarni, President, Sri Sri University said, “Odisha has one of the most vibrant start-up ecosystems in the country and start-ups must look at the current strengths of the state to determine future possibilities. Anything that can enhance health, wealth and time should be considered as an opportunity. Start-ups should look at solutions that enhances the quality of life for society. It is important to ride on the strengths of the state such as healthcare, agri services, mining, hydel power and wind energy solutions.” Dr. Mahadeo Jaiswal, Director, IIM Sambalpur in his address said, “Globally there are three D’s that are driving disruption. The first is digital disruption, which creates a lot of scope for newcomers with opportunities for everyone. The second is decarbonisation, which will be a great opportunity for the start-up ecosystem with new verticals emerging such as electric vehicles, and opportunities in manufacturing. Odisha, with its stable government and forward-looking policies is set to become the next IT hub and will emerge as the next destination for investment.”

India on its way to becoming a ‘digital superpower

Nick Clegg, the former deputy prime minister of the UK & who has been president for global affairs at Meta Platforms since 2022, having previously been vice‑president of global affairs and communications at Facebook from 2018 to 2022,  was on a week long visit to India. These are his views on social media platforms & the Indian laws governing themIndia’s take on digital issues is refreshingly straightforward. Given how much new regulation is being introduced in India and given the pivotal role it plays in the global digital ecosystem, I think it occupies an unusually interesting position at an unusually interesting time. I really do think India could become a very modern sort of template and example for others of sophisticated co-regulation in the digital space. As far as I can make out, the Indian government is seeking to carve regulations for India and not just taking off-the-shelf versions from Europe or from the UK or from Canada or the US. I do think there is a real awareness that India plays such a unique role in the digital ecosystem. India’s ambition in pursuing this ‘techade’ is a totally legitimate one. It is really on route to becoming a digital superpower. It already is, in many respects. Even in cutting-edge areas like augmented and virtual reality, it is extraordinary to see the amount of AR creators. The regulators in India are prepared to enter into a mature dialogue with the entities, particularly the big platforms that they are regulating. Facebook’s been around, but it is an app that is still growing. Instagram is growing very fast, including here in India. It was because of India where we saw for the first time what a successful format (Instagram) Reels could be that is growing very fast. It is the same with business messaging in which again, India is the real trendsetter in my view. Basically, Twitter is an elite app. It is actually very small, smaller than Snap in terms of how many people use it. But it is used very, very heavily by politicians and journalists, by the cultural elites. Facebook is a genuine kind of mass market app. You know, thankfully, ordinary people use it. They do not care about politics. We think that some intermediary services, such as ours, are covered by existing legislation (IT Act). Those legislations can in turn be updated. That seems to be a more natural place. They are not the same. It just does not seem to us to necessarily be the most effective way of proceeding. So, we will continue to make that case. Hopefully, that case will be heard. We don’t dispute the right or the authority or the merits of the Indian government or any other government wanting to regulate the online world on behalf of its citizens. The Indian government maintains that it does not want WhatsApp to break encryption but that there is a way to give up the first originator of a Message. It’s sub judice so I cannot say much at the moment. But in terms of the issue of principle, I think the problem is that the moment you attach a fingerprint to a message, you have to attach a fingerprint to all messages. Otherwise, you cannot trace it later. The moment you do that, you no longer can provide the privacy that people expect of their intimate communications. We hope over time the argument that OTT providers are quite different to telecom, infrastructure providers will prevail. We know telecom networks are quite different to messaging apps. And they operate in quite different ways. But that does not mean they should not be regulated. It just means that there already is existing regulation, which can be updated. Nearly 70% of all calls that happen in India today happen over an OTT app.

Ex-Flipkart exec builds unified shopper ID

FLASH,  an early-stage startup created by Ranjith Boyanapalli,  a former executive of Flipkart, bagged $5.8 million in seed capital from Global Founders Capital Management & angel investors like Binny Bansal (co-founder of Flipkart) , Sujeet Kumar. This startup targets frequent online shoppers. Flash is creating a digital identity that shoppers can use across retail sites. The service seeks to make order processing, communication with sellers and the use of reward programmes easier for frequent shoppers. “Power shoppers who shop as many as 400 times a year have a very broken experience, devoid of synergy”, said Boyanapalli. The startup is targeting India’s 25 million frequent shoppers who account for over two-thirds of online retail revenue. It is predicted that the number of frequent shoppers will rise up to 65 million by 2030.

Online marketplaces’ GMV to hit $350 bn by 2027

The report “The Rise of Digital Bazaars in India” by Bain & Co and Accel Partners  points out that these marketplaces in India have the potential to create 7 million jobs and serve 400-450 million online shoppers. Currently, online marketplaces clock over $100 billion in GMV and also offer logistical and financial support to more than 6 million MSMEs. “If we think about the growth till 2027, we believe horizontal e-commerce players would still continue to comprise the large segment and would account for 40 percent of GMV. Some really interesting segments where we believe we will see breakout growth is B2B – we believe B2B will grow 5X in size compared to today and go up to $50 billion in GMV. Another space is the online food delivery which we expect to almost triple in size by 2027,” said Ashutosh Sharma of Bain & Co. There are many factors including large offline markets, over $2 trillion of consumption expenditure, rising disposable incomes driven by middle-class expansion, and an increasingly digitized base of online shoppers are likely to contribute majorly to India’s growth story in the next five years. The report indicates that marketplaces are slated to create $400 billion to $500 billion in enterprise value. It will have 400 million to 450 million online shoppers, further  enabling more than 15 million MSMEs to grow their businesses online, and create seven million jobs by 2027. Emergence Of New Market – The report talks about upstream B2B, fintech, and shipping and logistics as some of the areas that pose significant headroom for growth for existing as well as emergence of new marketplaces. The next wave of scalable marketplaces could emerge in two major categories, those focused on smaller towns and cities and those engaged in cross-border activity, the report noted. As of today, the Digital marketplaces in India contribute more than $100 billion in GMV, delivering heightened convenience and choices to over 200 million shoppers. It offers logistical and financial support to more than 6 million micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the report said. Moreover, marketplaces have enabled consolidating fragmented demand and supply, eliminating intermediaries, and offering pan-India reach to businesses. Besides this, the overall economy has also benefited immensely, as marketplaces have improved financial inclusion by providing traditionally underbanked segments with greater access to capital. Overall, the move has allowed India to cultivate a vibrant and successful marketplace landscape. Around 20 marketplaces have achieved more than $1 billion in GMV so far and many players have turned profitable, stated the report.

Most Indian organizations plan raising AI investment this year

As many as 39 percent of Indian organizations plan to increase investment in artificial intelligence (AI) by more than 20 percent this year, said a survey called Deloitte India’s second edition of the ‘State of AI in India’. Organizations planned a 50 percent increase in investment last year, The survey that had 200 Indian business leaders as its respondents. As many as 88 per cent of respondents plan a year-on-year (YoY) increase in AI investments in 2022 compared to 82 percent in 2021. “There is still a bullishness that investments in AI will go up. But the quantum of these investments will be driven by business outcomes,” said Prashanth Kaddi, partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP. “During the pandemic, there was a huge emphasis on digitization which has led to richer outcomes for AI/ML programs,” he said, adding that organizations’ focus is on adopting AI for business value. “Organizations’ increased investments in AI indicate their confidence in the technology to deliver on its promise. They are exploring AI for select use cases and achieving the desired business outcomes by bridging the gap between design and deployment and sustenance.”

From Web 3.0 to Metaverse: 10 digital trends that defined 2022

In the rapidly evolving world of digital trends, every year brings something new and exciting for consumers and marketers. The year 2022 saw many such trends that captured our imagination, from the promise of Metaverse to the impending Web 3.0.Digital ad spend, India’s digital ad revenue remained the talk of the town for the entire year. Two tech giants Google India and Meta India pocketed more than Rs 41,000 Crore in 2021-22 through online ads. E-commerce players Amazon India and Flipkart also clocked nearly Rs 7,000 Crore in ad money together, taking the cumulative Indian revenue of Meta, Google, Amazon and Flipkart to Rs 48,000 Crore.  GroupM’s ‘This Year Next Year’ end-of-the-year report pegs that digital advertising revenue in India accounts for the largest share (48.8%) in 2022 and is expected to continue rising above pre-pandemic levels. Retail media in India is forecast at $551 million in 2022. Data privacy – law India has close to 760 million internet users.   After much pressure, the government of India has finally come out with a revamped Data Protection Bill that seeks to allow companies to transfer some users’ data abroad, while giving the federal government powers to exempt state agencies in the interests of national security.  The Bill also proposes financial penalties of up to $30 million fine for breaching the provisions of the law.  The revised Bill came after India withdrew a 2019 privacy bill in August this year. Connected TV advertising –  Connected TVs number this year crossed 10 million in India, according to a FICCI-EY report for 2022. With the rapid growth of CTV and its young users, it has emerged as a touchpoint of interest for marketers and media planners to effectively reach out to their audiences. Short-videos –  The Indian short-form video market set off on a strong growth trajectory in 2022, thanks to the Indian government’s ban on TikTok in 2020. Metaverse –  During 2022 it was hard to move without bumping into the term “metaverse”, especially following Facebook’s rebranding into Meta at the end of 2021. Metaverse enabled a myriad of new opportunities for the digital and physical worlds to converge. Leading advertisers like Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tanishq, Mondelez and MakeMyTrip, set the tone by leveraging the virtual space to create their own Shoppe in the metaverse. Social Commerce –   Brands and retailers strategized around social commerce—creating content designed to show off products in an entertaining and visually appealing way so that it’s shared widely across social media.  Micro and Nano-influencers – Content creators with smaller followings than film actors and celebrities emerged as the strategic play in the influencer marketing world in 2022. According to the latest INCA-e4m Influencer Marketing Report 2022, the industry grew to touch Rs 1,275 Crore in India this year and is likely to grow by 25% CAGR for the next five years. Crypto downfall –  The cryptocurrency market plunged to a new low every day in 2022. It all started after the Luna-Terra fiasco early this year, followed by Bitcoin and then many others. Web 3.0 –  While many tech messiahs like Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey have expressed their doubts over Web 3.0, leading marketers are calling it the future of the internet and democratization of  ownership of media, information and the way companies, consumers and content interact with each other. First-party data –  Third-party cookies have acted as a catalyst for advertisers, who invest heavily in digital, to understand who their consumers are, what their preferences are, and where they are located, to target them with precision. Google is gearing up to eliminate third-party cookies in its Chrome browser by 2023.

UPI apps, the new destination for brands to reach consumers

Unified Payments Interface, or UPI, applications have emerged as one of the most preferred payment modes in the country in recent times. As more and more consumers shift to these platforms for the convenience of cashless transactions, brands too are hopping on to the bandwagon to reach out to these users. Quick to identify the vast opportunity, companies are curating special offers and discounts for these applications to attract more customers. Sharing how UPI applications have evolved as a significant platform to reach consumers, Neha, Chief Marketing Officer, Pizza Hut India, said, “Lately, UPI has gained popularity and has become the preferred mode of payment for a large section of consumers. According to a report by CLSA, the value of digital payments in India will grow three-fold to touch $1 trillion by the financial year 2026.” Saibal Biswas, Head of Marketing, Partnerships PR, MediBuddy, said, “UPI platforms are used by people on a daily basis, having more than 200 million daily average usages. It is a sure-shot way to solidify your presence and drive greater visibility for the company in the process of building brand awareness. This in turn increases your brand reach and user acquisitions.”

40% Indian parents admit their tween kids addicted to smartphones

Technology has changed lives for good. While the bounties of scientific innovation have offered limitless opportunities to make life comfortable, their perils cannot be ignored. Innovations have redefined human activities, similarly, for children and youth technology has brought the world to their fingertips. And, this explains the steady boom of the gaming industry. Video games and social media have in a way replaced outdoor activities for millions of children around the world. It has become a common sight to spot a tween glued to the screens of their smartphones. However, the reality is grim. A report by LocalCircles, a community based social media platform states that  most parents attributed early access and online school activities as key reasons for increasing addiction among children. As many as 40 percent of Indian parents have admitted that their children between 9 and 17 years are addicted to videos, gaming and social media. According to the report, 55 percent of urban Indian parents have revealed that their children between 9 and 13 years old have access to smartphones throughout the day. As many as 71 per cent parents admitted that their children between 13 and 17 years have access to smartphones for all or most of the day. Early Access & Pandemic –  Parents who participated in the survey believe that excessive use of gadgets is due to giving access to children at an early age and school activities going online due to the pandemic. They believe these are the key reasons that students are increasingly getting addicted to social media, gaming and videos. The report stated that dependency on social media and its excessive use lead to poor sleep, stress, anxiety, depression, irritability, low self-esteem and difficulty to focus among the children. Incidentally, most social media platforms have set 13 years as the minimum age to open an account. According to the report, around 68 per cent of parents believe that the minimum age to open social media accounts should be raised to 15 from 13. According to a rough estimate, teenagers and adults check their smartphones nearly 150 times a day. The prevalence of the addiction has led many studies to state that social media addiction is a behavioural disorder. Many teens and adults are smitten by social media so much that they are unable to reduce their consumption of online media despite the evident negative effects.

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