Sandeep Nag, Director of 5G at Capgemini, discusses technological trends, 5G innovation and the impact of COVID-19 on the industry...
At the forefront of innovation, Capgemini, founded in 1967, harnesses innovation to help clients address opportunities as cloud, digital and platforms evolve.
Within the industry, Sandeep Nag, Director of 5G at Capgemini, has seen from a connectivity point of view a massive evolution for the technology. “In order to cope with the massive increase in connected devices, you need to have access to a wide area of coverage. The evolution of 4G networks into 5G networks and beyond has allowed for better connectivity and increased the efficiency of connected devices. Another trend I have seen within the industry is the use of open computer ecosystems with big enterprises no longer wanting to depend on the hardware OEMs. They want it to be more open, and then of course there’s artificial intelligence (AI), as well as an increased use of algorithms, API, social media and blockchain technology to make a more secure and resilient strategy for data privacy.”
When it comes to Capgemini’s own innovation strategy, Sandeep details that the company has specialised team domains, whether its automation, connectivity or cloud. “Capgemini has a very well defined structure of individuals working on specific domains with end-to-end expertise. Capgemini’s strategy is to not only have a technological knowhow, but to have a deep understanding of the industry so that it can address the exact requirement of that particular industry. From the top down Capgemini has a proactive approach to evolving trends and customer demands to harness industry 4.0 technologies the best way for its customers, as opposed to trying to make the technology fit.”
Currently within the organisation, Capgemini is harnessing six key technologies: AI, machine learning, internet of things (IoT), cloud, Big Data and 5G. Within its operations, “Capgemini has been harnessing AI for its customer partnerships for employee safety, anomaly detection in manufacturing and supply chains, and for assembly lines. With machine learning we have been utilising the technology for behavioral analysis trends and recommendations. This is something we have been doing for many years and with that our IoT partnerships have evolved. In addition we also have our cloud practices which are not only with Microsoft Azure and AWS, but also in house where the customers want to have their captive cloud facilities. So we leverage those cloud capabilities in terms of certified engineers and certified professionals in our various domain expertise on the cloud.
“When it comes to Big Data, we are harnessing this technology to capture many handles globally, providing large volumes of different types of data - unstructured, semi-structured, sequential or any kind of big data.” With the evolution of data the industry has experienced storage challenges, resulting in the Big Data practice at Capgemini evolving to cope with this capability. In terms of 5G at Capgemini - with the various acquisitions and recent onboarding of experts within 5G - the practice has been taken very seriously, with the company in full force to establish an ecosystem of various initiatives and expertise within the 5G space. Although it is still within the pilot stage, Sandeep sees the sector emerging and evolving significantly towards the end of the year.
Contemplating future innovations, Sandeep would like to see more evolution relating to the dis-aggregation of edge hardware, resulting in further innovation relating to open hardware ecosystems. He also anticipates the evolution of the software ecosystem, harnessing more open source technologies, however he does highlight the importance of maintaining security alongside this. “We must not neglect the security aspect. We'd like to see these innovative technologies evolve seamlessly, but they must maintain security.”
From the top down Capgemini has a proactive approach to evolving trends and customer demands to harness industry 4.0 technologies the best way for its customers, as opposed to trying to make the technology fit.
‘The new normal’ - the defining phrase of the current climate due to COVID-19 - is a topic Sandeep has considered deeply. “The new normal is no longer going to be people-to-people contact in a physical form. Instead, there is going to be an increased reliance on communications technology, which requires resilient connectivity, and which will play a major role within future operations for organisations. The current trends due to the impact of COVID-19 is agility, being able to adapt to changing behaviours and circumstances and coordinated remote working. “
Current challenges within the industry have seen worldwide supply chains either stop, or reduce significantly. “Whether it's sourcing, production or distribution, new challenges have arisen relating to not only maintaining a flow of materials and goods but maintaining employee safety at all times while carrying out operations. To maintain a sustainable business through this we are driving the initiative to adopt a patient approach with clear communication between all stakeholders: suppliers, workers and customers. At Capgemini our HR practice has a strong infrastructure globally. They understand the safety of the employee in this situation which is the primary importance. So right from social distancing through to cleanliness,hygiene and ensuring that each and every employee is protected, there are various HR driven initiatives to provide expert guidance and advice.”
When it comes to the technological capability of Capgemini to effectively implement a remote workforce, Sandeep details that “as far as connectivity is concerned, all employees were ensured that they had access to the necessary tools and work facilities to efficiently work from home. You can imagine, being a huge company, this was no small task to provide the connectivity and technology to those who need it, but we seamlessly achieved it,” an achievement of which Sandeep is proud. During the crisis, Sandeep details that he has seen an increased use of the likes of Skype, Microsoft Teams and WebEx for conferencing capabilities as well as Google Hangouts and Zoom. “Another trend emerging is connectivity through a certified VPN.”
When it comes to the future as the world enters into a ‘new normal’ for business operations. Sandeep details that “the first steps will be to maintain social distancing rules, and I believe that, while employees will start to head back to work, I do not think the entire workforce will be present. Maybe towards the end of the year but not yet. Instead the workforce will be asked to report to the office via a remote login. I believe working from home will continue for a long time. I also believe that a new way of working will start to emerge, with people being required to do multiple roles. As we emerge out of the lockdowns facilities need to become more resilient and robust which is driven by connectivity.”