- BLOCK CHAIN
- General Information
In last one year or so, Blockchain, as technology, has generated a lot of curiosity in financial world. It has been backbone of bitcoin since inception; however Banks and Financial Institution have started looking at it as next big thing during last several months. Blockchain finds its base at decentralized computing and consensus based confirmation systems. It is the first practical solution to an age-old problem in computing, the Byzantine Generals Problem (establishing trust between unrelated parties over an non-trusted network like the Internet). Bitcoin has implemented it very well, because the primary requirement of bitcoin was to be decentralized. However, most of the legal financial systems and dealings are tightly regulated and settled through a central authority. Through blockchain, we are trying to change it to bring more security and transparency in the system. But how? Blockchain has some known weaknesses, which are well documented here. The inherent weakness of blockchain implementation lies in the fact that it proposes to settle the transaction based on certain number of confirmations. It gives an opening to large scale organised attack done by multiple hackers to void a honest transaction. The probability of majority attack is less when system is distributed truly. However, if we look at bitcoin, 95% of mining was done by less than 10 programmers with just two Chinese individuals accounting for more than 50% of it. It brings the theory of decentralization upside down. At present the only way to prevent majority attack on blockchain is to make the cost of attack higher than the profits derived. However, increasing cost of attack involves increasing thedifficulty to add blocks in the chain, which may result in complete system slowdown and hence putting the usage of blockchain in question. With fraction of world's financial system running on blockchain, there will always be greater incentive for an attacker to try and execute an attack. Readers, who are aware of cyber frauds and heist, would know that all the large scale frauds done during last few years have been executed by organised gangs, spread across the world. Financial institutions, planning to invest on blockchain, must be consulted by their technology partner about plans to prevent it. Blockchain technology has been in and around for many years. But now, it is being followed by world of finance with keen interest. Most of the financial institutions are working to design suitable use cases to leverage the perceived efficiency and fraud free nature of technology. However, there has been little commentary on the threats posed by it's usage. It would be best to take a balanced view of the strength and weakness of the technology. RBI's decision to study the technology is a welcome step in this direction.
IT driven Smart manufacturing “Come, Make in India” Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a clarion call to the world in his maiden Independence Day address, inviting global and Indian firms to set up manufacturing bases in India. The government is taking steps to remove key obstacles faced by Indian manufacturers, like incentives, labour laws, land acquisitions etc. But one aspect which is over looked in this digital era of connected world, eCommerce and social networking is the consumer behavior, which has changed drastically. This calls for changes in the way manufacturing is done today. Over the past few decades, manufacturing has evolved from a more labor-intensive set of mechanical processes (traditional manufacturing) to a sophisticated set of information-technology-based processes (advanced Smart manufacturing). Adoption of new digital technologies can easily reduce costs by 20 – 30% by improved capital and labour utilization which will make ‘Made in India’ products competitive. The need for a cloud based IT driven manufacturing platform for use by Indian SME manufacturers who cannot afford investing in IT tools, to make them competitive is discussed in this paper. New Age Consumer – A digitally enabled consumer in the Connected world Consumers are driving the “speed of business” in manufacturing today. Purchasing patterns have been completely redefined by the extensive availability of information through social networks and its rapid transmission via a vast range of new mobile devices. With over 7 billion active mobile connections, consumers today are well informed about market products, prices, and dynamics. They are brand agnostic and compare, select, or discard multiple products with just a tap on their tablet. They are increasingly impatient too: they don’t want to wait and they just want it now. This consumer’s purchasing style and shorter product life cycles are impacting the whole manufacturing value chain and calls for changes in the way we manufacture products. Smart Manufacturing- To Stay Competitive in the Connected World Through technology such as demand sensing, manufacturing intelligence, load balancing, directed manufacturing processes and supply chain management, it is possible to address today’s consumers and produce products in India which are globally competitive. Having understood the need for change, we have to look at some of the areas which require changes. 1. Digital Integrated Production Planning and Shop Floor Control: At present many manufacturing industries use ERP systems to a certain extent while most of the manufacturing operations like Scheduling, Maintenance, raw material control and SCM functions are done using spread sheets , job cards and e-mails or at best with stand-alone tools, with no real time data flow across functions . Most manufacturing companies have not achieved a complete integration of information flow along the operation process. This greatly affects the productivity and increases the manufacturing cost. By integrating information flow using advanced manufacturing IT tools during all steps of operations, the visibility required to properly manage the end-to-end processes can be achieved. 2. Supply Chain Visibility: It is a key item which helps in controlling the raw material and final product availability at the right time and price. Over the years, SCM has seen deployment of multiple disparate digital tools, creating a siloed system that distorts end-to-end visibility. An integrated tool can help bridge these connectivity gaps. 3. Cloud Based ERP: Many companies are now starting to move away from using In-house ERP systems to connect to the outside world and rely on cloud-based business networks instead. Connecting with their trading partners in the cloud allows companies to share all of that smartness generated on the factory floor during the manufacturing process with the entire value chain in real time. It’s still a long way for many companies, but some have already started the journey. 4. Social Media Influence & Data Analytics: Social Media greatly influence the consumer purchase decisions and hence analysis of this huge data is necessary to make the required changes to the product to ever changing consumer expectations. 5. 3D Printing: 3D printing (or ‘additive manufacturing’) is a potential business model disruptor and market-maker. The cost and efficiency benefits are clear – the ability to produce small-lot or highly customized parts in an ‘on-demand’ setting. Integration of additive manufacturing, into existing supply chain, builds up capability and enables to tap rapidly emerging opportunities The way Forward: The adoption of IT driven manufacturing, will call for additional investments in IT tools and training which many SMEs and even large manufacturing enterprises are still reluctant to do. Hence government should come out with training programs at subsidized rates to make the SMEs understand the benefits of IT driven manufacturing. Government should also talk to leading IT tool vendors to provide a cloud based Digital Manufacturing platform to SMEs at a reasonable cost and provide incentives to companies adopting IT driven manufacturing. Alternatively with the strong presence of IT services companies in India with expertise in Digital enterprise solutions, Government should enable building an “Indian Digital Manufacturing Platform” with multiple manufacturing related modules taking into account the various requirements applicable to Indian conditions. This platform can be hosted in cloud and can be used by Indian manufacturing companies at a nominal cost to make them competitive. With Indian government’s planned billions of dollars investments to enable country wide high speed connectivity, it is easier to adopt IT driven manufacturing even in remote places and manufacture products which are globally competitive.
Exponential Innovation #ExpoInnovate We have a history of innovation that is almost as old as the human race. From the times of the wheel, fire and tools that helped early humans survive inhospitable conditions and then the agricultural revolution that meant humans could settle in new places away from forests and become self-reliant, new ideas and things have transformed the way we live and relate to the people and world around us. As populations grew, the world needed ways to feed and produce for more people. People settled in more places. The second agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution and specific innovations like the steam engine all assisted and enabled this process. But, perhaps, the biggest transformation of all came in the 21st century, from computers and communication. Like few other innovations over the centuries, the spurt in computing power, storage and telecommunication has enabled far reaching transformation in practically all areas of human endeavour. The connected world we see today is a direct result of applying our understanding of scientific principles and knowledge. We call it technology. Technology has given us access to powerful ideas that can be hugely disruptive. We have already seen large scale disruption in several industries with the internet and communication technologies. Where is the next big disruption coming from? We believe it will come from a digital convergence of technologies and capabilities that will create exponential change. We must ideate and innovate for exponential opportunities. Convergence technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), for example, are ripe candidates for being commoditised because of the diving cost of sensors, storage and processing power. With commoditisation comes the ability to replicate, scale and distribute with almost no friction. This nature of technology means innovation can be exponential. Add to it the tremendous amount of computing power and the ability to store, process and share data that we all have, adding a dimension of consumers having the power of information on their hands, we are looking at a decade of exponential innovation. Exponential innovation will leapfrog us into a world where technologies, platforms and ecosystems transcend barriers and interact with diverse domains and other technologies to transform into new solutions and new ways of doing things. It will be an exciting decade for all of us. Are we expecting to see smaller communities innovate for themselves ? Thanks to crowdsourcing, social media and technological convergence today ? Big companies being the aggregators with many startups leading the front end innovation towards consumers ? As finance capital requirements to start a business are shrinking, reach and access to consumers increasing more than ever before (thanks to social media), sell through online digital channels are redefining the convenience to BUY . We are stepping into a decade of world order changing in terms of innovation quotient (IQ)
Digital Health as a Path to Care for All
A country the size of India presents massive challenges for the delivery of services that can reach the entire population. No one faces the brunt of these challenges more than the Government. In the face of extraordinary challenges, we have done well. Our Postal System and Railways are remarkable examples. So is our healthcare system. Our care is delivered through a combination of Civil General Hospitals, smaller hospitals and dispensaries in districts and large villages. Rural hospitals, Community health centres, primary health centres and sub-centers provide various health services and outreach services to remote and rural areas. Many private organizations and NGOs have expanded both the reach and range of healthcare available to citizens. On another note, our private healthcare is so well equipped and our doctors so qualified that people from around the world come to India for their healthcare needs. But, we have only 9 beds per 10,000 people and only 6.5 physicians for every 10,000 people. Clearly, we are not there yet. Digital Technologies could help us get there, though. We are living in a time where the commoditization of technology is revolutionizing many things. Evolutions in networking, compute and storage, sensor technologies, wearables, analytics and Big Data are opening up immense possibilities. But the greatest potential, perhaps, lies in healthcare, at the convergence of traditional medicine, fitness and wellness. We are making great strides in connectivity across the country, even to the remotest corners. We should leverage this to extend the reach of every hospital using Hub-and-Spoke satellite units and Virtual Clinics. Satellite stations can be used for a variety of healthcare services, including Telemedicine, Audio/Video integration for remote consultations, Telemetry enabled medical devices and integrated billing systems. I have no doubt such technology will do a lot to ensure Primary Care is accessible to everyone. Remote Patient Monitoring and wearables are changing healthcare, by assisting doctors in the operating rooms, delivering remote care through video conferencing, providing real time access to Electronic Health Records (EHR) and others. People can now monitor their blood pressure, fitness, heart rate and diabetes and share them with their doctors real time. This overcomes shortcomings in our traditional healthcare system by moving recovery care to homes than hospitals. It encourages patients to move towards wellness and preventive care rather than reacting to sickness. So, IoT and Digital Technologies are helping hospitals do more with their existing resources. These are just a few of the possibilities for healthcare. I