Aug 13, 2017

Tips from Top – “Internet of Things: transforming the way we live”. Mr. Arun Karna, MD, AT&T Global Network Services India Pvt. Ltd.

The Department of Industrial and Management Engineering, IIT Kanpur, witnessed a wonderful seminar on the Internet of Things by Mr. Arun Karna, MD, AT&T Global Network Services India Pvt. Ltd. He brought us closer to how limitless and pervasive the concept of IoT is and talked about the potential multi-trillion industry which has caught the eye of business enterprises that look forward to transform businesses without human-to-human or human-to-computer interactions. 

Mr. Karna explained as to how the flow of information occurs from the sensors and control systems to the backend systems that are the hubs of data and API (Application Programming Interface). This back and forth of data can be analyzed to deduce astonishing solutions. He called IoT as the convergence of technologies that can work beyond the human imagination. He gave a business perspective to this scientific phenomenon wherein the stakeholders aspire to increase their revenue, streamline operations, reduce cost, save time, and increase visibility in the market. The strategy is subdivided to horizontal and vertical solutions - the horizontal solution takes care of devices, their connectivity, cloud, mobility and big data, while the vertical solutions move ahead with the idea of smart cities, fleet management and connected cars.

One important need satisfied by the Internet of Things is asset management. The underlying requirement is being able to know the whereabouts of your assets. The assets are tracked, monitored and managed from anywhere in the world. The global SIMs that offer connectivity throughout the continents have come to the rescue to solve the connectivity issues across changing service providers. The customized business approach provided by IoT, connects, manages and innovates.

Mr Karna also brought to the fore Global Equipment and Machinery solutions. He gave a classical example of how the aircraft engine manufacturing industries like GE, Rolls Royce and Pratt Whitney have switched to predictive analysis of aircraft engines. They now provide engines to Aircraft manufacturing industries like Boeing on ‘pay as you use basis’ rather than selling it off to them, thereby preventing huge losses by switching from capital expense to operational expense. Thus, the internet of things has practically changed the scenario of aircraft manufacturers and even prevented casualties by giving early warnings on possible breakdowns of engines and their operational status.

Mr. Karna also explained how virtualization of functions has brought a significant advancement in connected cars. The convergence of telematics and vehicle diagnostics along with infotainment has actually made ‘Connected Cars’ a reality. The usage based insurance that scores you as a driver, emergency alarms, avoiding unnecessary traffic by finding alternate pathways are the new ‘features’ that connected cars offer.

The speaker also ventured into the Healthcare Industry where the Internet of things has brought Remote Patient Monitoring to the rescue of thousands of critically ill patients. The adherence to the routine medicines to avoid secondary complications, the case management that customizes the ‘care plans’ and improvisation in the staff efficiency using IoT has made one to many patient management a cake walk for the hospitals.

Mr Arun Karna referred to IoT as an ecosystem of innovation. Besides, he also addressed queries from the audience regarding the breach of security and privacy. He mentioned that the lack of standardization in this new space has actually raised serious concerns. The students also asked the challenges faced by the IoT in marketing itself. Mr Karna said that a varied spectrum of businessmen prevail that are often tackled by providing the Proof of Concept preferably free of cost to showcase the wonders IoT can do. The rogue sensors are another impediment that IoT phenomenon faces.

All in all, the distinguished speaker enlightened and provided a vivid perspective to the management students by sharing his extensive experience that certainly opened their eyes to the world of IoT.

Aug 7, 2017

Tips from Top – “Organisation Culture”. Mr. Tojo Jose, C.H.R.O., Muthoot Fincorp

Organisation Culture: Acta Non Verba

The Department of Industrial and Management Engineering at IIT Kanpur hosted a seminar by Mr Tojo Jose, CHRO at Muthoot Fincorp Ltd. on the topic of organization culture. Organizational culture is a guiding factor that acts as the genetic code of any organization.

Mr Jose talked about how important it is for an individual to ensure that his/her values resonate with the values of the organization. The culture incompatibility can prove to be a menace for anyone working in an organization, even if the person has a good skill set. He talked about the articulated values like integrity and dignity that are implicit in nature and always keep our moral compass duly pointing north. The three C’s - Confront, Complaint and Conform - form the basis of how an employee identifies himself/herself with the organization. The confronting and complaining individuals often find it difficult to gel with the existing culture, and compromise forms the fourth C that often finds its place when individuals do not necessarily conform with the organization, but in the process of trying to fit in, compromise on various fronts.

Mr Jose further talked about the leadership development program of Muthoot Fincorp that inculcates desired values among the employees. The leaders from the organization interact with the employees to give them perspective. The right values are rewarded, which implies that the defaulters are punished and meanwhile, the organization looks for opportunities to reiterate the significance of the right attitude. The speaker also quoted various examples from his experience at BlueStar, the organization he worked before Muthoot FinCorp. Humility at senior management level is always a desired attribute and “Hire for Skill and Fire for attitude’’ is the caveat that Mr Jose brought to the fore.

Culture is something that people practice when nobody is watching. This statement struck a chord with the audience when he talked about the champions and the mediocre leaders. The business values that every employee possesses are integral to any organization and make a difference no matter where they are on the hierarchical ladder of the company. The speaker frequently called organization culture the gorilla in the room - unseen, but very much there. The interactive session held thereafter made the management students realize the importance of fitting in the jigsaw puzzle that any company offers and climbing up the corporate ladder with much ease. The session proved to be full of insights regarding the less evident aspects of the corporate world which would no doubt prove useful to every single attendee in their careers.

Jul 12, 2017

"Is India Staring at a Demographic Disaster?"- An article by Himanshu Dubey (Student 2016-18 Batch)

All about the good part first, we all are hearing good news about India being the bright spot in the world, F.D.I. inflows are at their peak levels, stock market breaking all previous records, major reforms getting passed, less corruption levels at the highest level of the government, though the root level corruption is still plaguing this nation. You feel things are going in the right direction until you are greeted with the recent job numbers. To set the context right let’s look at some numbers: 12.56 lacs jobs were created in 2009 and a meager 1.35 lacs and 2.31 lacs in 2015 and 2016 respectively. We used to call the period corresponding to the 2009 numbers as jobless growth. What will you call this? Super jobless growth? Or Hyper jobless growth? Well I will leave it to you to come up with fancy terminologies.

Dearth of Investments
So, what’s the reason for all this misfortune which has come our way even when we are the brightest spot and so much F.D.I. inflows are happening? Well to set the record straight, we have to delve deeper into the web of these numbers. Let’s start with the F.D.I. numbers, theoretically F.D.I. has a direct and indirect impact on job creation in not just the sector in which the investment is flowing in but also the complimentary sectors, then why is it not really working out for India? For starters, 60% of F.D.I. inflows in 2016 were in the service sector and a major part of it was directed towards acquisitions and incremental investments which were largely used for debt repayment and acquiring assets. To make matters worse, the ultimate job creating machine of the India, the IT sector is slowing down as it transitions into the new era. The manufacturing sector which can really turn the game on its head is screeching for investments. There is a dearth of private investment in India as the corporate balance sheets are ridden with debt, the banking system is in a huge turmoil (7 lac crores of N.P.A.s) which makes the banks reluctant to lend. Demonetization has also exacerbated the problem by deepening the already existing lending crunch in the country let alone the loss of jobs in the informal sector, the latest GDP numbers quite evidently show the growth slump.

Globalization vs Anti-Globalization
Often, we compare India with China and how the latter posted unprecedented growth figures for 30 straight years. However, the situation now and then is starkly different. World economy was posting better growth rates, world leaders then were in the race of becoming the champion of liberalization. Also, It is not hidden from anyone that how well China capitalized on that, and turned into an economic behemoth it is today. The situation today is just the opposite, World economy is not growing as much it did then, economies in the west are becoming more and more conservative due to pressure from the local public, just to mention the election of Donald Trump as US President and UK exiting European Union reflects the current mood in the west. Even China which rode on this export extravaganza is trying to shift towards a more consumption based economy. So, to think that India can post same numbers as China with the same strategy should be taken with a pinch of salt though it doesn’t undermine the positive impact, manufacturing can have on the Indian economy. As rightly said by Raghuram Rajan, the quintessential former RBI governor that before making for the world, we shall first make for India.

There’s a lot of talk about the demographic dividend India possess, 1 million new young men and women enter the workforce every month in India and unfortunately there are not enough jobs for them to lead their life they dream of. This demographic dividend window is short, if we miss the bus again, this dividend will surely turn into a disaster.

- Himanshu Dubey