INFOCOM, one of the largest congregations of technology professionals, buyers-sellers, corporate leaders, academics, visionaries, and policymakers, stepped into its 17th edition with a three-day conclave at ITC Sonar, Kolkata. With digital world encroaching human spaces making the human touch and interactions rare, this year the conference chose the very pertinent theme, “When Digital Becomes Human”, exploring the issues, opportunities and changing dynamics which has been ushered by the digital transformation.
INFOCOM 2018 was inaugurated by esteemed Chief Guest, Dr. Amit Mitra, Hon’ble Minister for Information Technology & Electronics, Finance, Industry, Commerce & Enterprises and Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises & Textiles Departments, Government of West Bengal, along with revered Guests of Honour, Mr. Mustafa Jabbar, Hon’ble Minister, Ministry of Post, Telecommunications and Information Technology, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Mr. Anil Kumar Jha, Chairman and Managing Director, Coal India Ltd and Dr. Omkar Rai, Director General, STPI.
Luminaries from the IT industry also graced the Inaugural ceremony as esteemed Guests of Honour comprising, Dr. Bhaskar Ghosh, Group Chief Executive, Accenture Technology Services, Mr. Amitabh Ray, Managing Director, Ericsson India Global Services, Mr. Kamal Nath, CEO, Sify Technologies and Mr. M K Kemmu, Regional Manager (P & GS), Zonal Manager in Eastern Zone, Life Insurance Corporation of India. The welcome address was delivered by Mr. D D Purkayastha, Managing Director and CEO, ABP Pvt Ltd and Chairman, INFOCOM.
This year, INFOCOM, the annual conference, is being held from December 6th – 8th 2018, acting as a convergence of the best global minds in Technology, Business Strategy and Leadership. The flagship event of the ABP Group is supported by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India along with the Digital India Plan and the National E-Governance Division (NeGD). Department of IT and Electronics, Government of West Bengal and Webel are partnering with INFOCOM 2018 as the Host State.
Other Partner States for the event are: Bihar and Jharkhand and the Tourism Partners for the event are Jharkhand Tourism and West Bengal Tourism. The event is being supported by SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industries, NASSCOM and TiE Kolkata.
This year the focal theme of INFOCOM is ‘When Digital Becomes Human’. The use of technology to radically improve performance or reach enterprises is becoming a trending topic for organizations across the globe. Across various forums, digitization is the buzz word for discussions. There is undoubtedly, a heated race amongst organizations to embark on their digital transformation journeys that are being chronicled and debated by experts across various mediums. With the changing landscape of customer connect initiatives the yardstick of companies is being measured by ascertaining the steady relationship and focus they keep with their customers.
Digital technology is touching the lives of every human being today in one way or the other. However, this rapid digitalization is deeply impacting B to C relationships. Consumers now live in a world of automation, smart data and demand proactive customer service. Self-service, automation and robots would dominate the customer relations of the future and the time is fast approaching when the computers will dominate our lives making human interactions rare. This will make the human touch all the more important because of its ability to offer significant added value within the impersonal digital landscape. As a result, the corporates need to focus on human transformation on an equal footing as digital transformation. The future is both, digital and human!
The event will bring together over 1200 delegates from large Corporates, IT, SMEs and Government with close to 120 Speakers from Business, IT, Government and SMEs and over 55 Sessions on Strategy & Leadership, Technology & Information Security, State Offerings & Tourism and Innovation and Entrepreneurship. More than 250 top CIOs/CISOs from across India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and other SAARC Countries are also participating in the event.
The pre-inaugural Plenary Sessions started with FOUR keynotes. The opening theme keynote address was delivered on ‘When Digital Becomes Human’ by Mr. Steven Van Belleghem, Expert in Customer Focus in a Digital World, author, keynote speaker and Entrepreneur, Co-founder of Nexxworks and Snackbytes. Steven is a thought leader on the transformation of customer relationships and the future of marketing. He is a bestselling and award winning author of ‘When Digital becomes Human’, a peek into the future about the combination of the digital and the human transformation in the company’s customer strategy and another bestseller, ‘Customers The Day After Tomorrow’, a story about the future of customer relations in a world of artificial intelligence, automation and bots. Steven is an expert in inspiring companies to become true customer-centric organizations in this high speed digital world. His Keynote was followed by an interactive session with Dr. Bhaskar Ghosh, Group Chief Executive, Accenture Technology Services.
The Master keynote speech on ‘5G to IoT – Developing an Ecosystem’ was delivered by Mr. Amitabh Ray, Managing Director, Ericsson India Global Services. This was followed by a leadership keynote on ‘Future Systems’ by Dr. Bhaskar Ghosh, Group Chief Executive, Accenture Technology Services. This was followed by a Keynote by Mr. Kamal Nath, CEO, Sify Technologies on ‘When Digital becomes Human – A Service Provider Perspective’.
Post inaugural ceremony, the sessions were held in two tracks. Track A being the Strategy and Leadership Forum and Track B being the CIO Connect & Security Forum.
Track A commenced with the STPI Export Awards 2017-2018 for the State of West Bengal. This award ceremony, now in its sixth year has been an endeavour to recognize the efforts of enterprises who have accomplished milestones and have contributed immensely to West Bengal’s IT/ITES export and growth. The Award Ceremony was attended by key investors and SME/MSME Heads from across Eastern India.
The next session was a Panel Discussion on ‘Humanizing the customer experience in the digital age’ which was chaired and moderated by Mr. Sidhartha Roy, CEO, Response India. It hosted eminent panelists like Mr. Sridhar Narayan, Enterprise Manager – Digital Transformation, Adobe India, Mr. Krishnan Chatterjee, Chief Customer Officer and Head of Marketing, Indian subcontinent, SAP, Mr. Aman Ashraf Faiz, Managing Director, GTV, Bangladesh and Mr. Kaushik Dey, Practice Head – Analytics, Big Data & BI, Ericsson.
The third session commenced with a panel discussion on ‘Impact of Artificial Intelligence in BFSI segment which was chaired by Mr. Harish Agarwal, Partner, Ernst & Young LLP .The session hosted distinguished panelists like, Mr. Aninda Chatterjee, Managing Director, Webel; Mr. Upkar Singh, Director -IT, FIS Global, Mr. Faheem Tanveer Ahmed, MD & CEO, Crossways IT LTD and Convenor, BASIS IT Services Forum for 2018-19, Bangladesh and Mr. Utpal Chakraborty, Head of Artificial Intelligence, YES Bank, Business and Digital Technology Solutions Group.
The third session commenced on ‘Will Human Beings Become Obsolete?” which was deliberated by Mr. Aritra Sarkar, CEO, Wedoria Technologies.
The CIO Connect & Security Forum in Track B commenced with a keynote session on ‘Building Borderless Minds and Borderless Thinking which was addressed by Prof. Anil Gupta, Globally Renowned Scholar in the area of Grass Root Innovation, Professor at IIM-A and Founder, Honey Bee Network. This was followed by a keynote address by Mr. Vikas Bhonsle, CEO, Crayon Software Experts on ‘Excellerate your Digital Transformation.’
The Panel Discussion on ‘Impact of AI and IOT in Enterprise Service Management’ was chaired by Mr. Joydeep Datta Gupta, Partner and Board Member, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP. The session had various technology leaders as Panelists like, Ms. Seema Ambastha, Senior Vice President – India & Global Business, NTT Com – Netmagic,Mr. Subrata Mandal, CIO, Aliaxis South East Asia, Mr. Muhammad H Kafi, Senior Executive Vice President and Head of Operations, NCC Bank, Mr. Ravi Venkatraman, CEO, Karvy Innotech Ltd, Mr. Arup Dutta, Director – Industry Academia Collaboration, Adamas University, Mr. Abhijit Shukla, Business & Alliance Head, Global Partner Business Management Department, Huawei Telecommunications Co. Pvt. Ltd and Mr. Amarpreet Singh, Solution Architect, Itelligence India Software Solutions Pvt Ltd.
Mr. V V Rajasekhar, CIO, ITC Group addressed the next keynote session which was on ‘Impact of Digitization in the FMCG Sector.’
‘Future of Smart Enterprises with IoT, Digital Health and Wearables’ was an interesting session chaired and moderated by, Mr. Bimal Patwari, Founder and President, Pinnacle Infotech Solutions, along with participation from panelists such as Mr. Rupinder Goel, Global Digital Technology leader in IT and Telecom and Former Global CIO, Tata Communications, Mr. Damodar Sahu, Digital Strategist & Partner – IoT, AI, ML, Blockchain, Manufacturing Strategic Business Unit, Wipro Ltd, Mr. Mukesh Garg, Business Transformation Leader and Former Director – IT, AstraZeneca , Mr. L.Subrahmanyam, Senior Vice President, Digital Services, Siemens Healthcare Pvt. Ltd and Mr. Jaideep Chakrabarti, Founder & CEO, Future Netwings Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
The Panel was followed by a Keynote on ‘Threat Centric Vulnerability Management’ by Mr. Debjyoti Guha, Senior Cybersecurity Consultant – India & SAARC, Skybox Security.
These sessions were followed by a Plenary keynote speech on the topic ‘Hybrid Multi Cloud – The New Normal’, addressed by Mr. Sharad Sanghi, Managing Director & CEO, NTT Com – Netmagic and another speech on ‘Innovation and Creativity at Work’.
Before the curtains descended on the proceedings of Day 1 of INFOCOM, the stage was dazzled as the spotlights illuminated the Dream Girl, Smt. Hema Malini, Indian Actress, Dancer, Producer, Filmmaker and Member of the Parliament. Celebrating 50 years of her film career, the evergreen star and perhaps the first female superstar of Bollywood, spoke at length about her journey in the industry in conversation with former editor of Stardust and author of her biography, “Beyond the Dream Girl”, Mr. Ram Kamal Mukherjee, Author, Producer, Filmmaker and Biographer. The effervescent Diva during the conversation, chronicled her experiences in the film industry replete with anecdotes and narratives about the dynamics of film making and the golden age of Indian Cinema which she represented.