Is 5G the push SaaS needs in India?
The case for 5G:
Let’s remember- today we live in a country where one person may have to travel to a bank branch 30 kilometres away from home, may be more than once, to open a bank account, while another opens their account in a few minutes, in the comfort of their home using Video KYC and authentication. Across every other industry where customer interactions can be digitised, a wide gulf still exists between hyper connected cities and their counterparts in mofussil areas.
5G’s launch, in some circles is being seen as ‘more of the same’. India has successfully launched 3G, and then 4G over the past decade. To an extent, 5G ‘feels’ like a faster version of what we’ve already achieved. Affordability and end point compatibility are key concerns for various stakeholders.
Apart from 5G’s benefits or technical specs, which are already in the public knowledge, as technolgists, we should focus on the role of edge computing, and on device computing. Today, every piece of data is generated in two ways- either through an on-device operation (limited by processor, memory and other hardware limitations), or through server-side services (limited by proximity to a cell tower with 4G availability at scale).
While the server-side responsiveness has improved with cloud computing, most devices in the Indian markets have poor on device specs, limiting consumer experience due to affordability issues. On the industry’s end, while digitization has rapidly progressed, silos still exist within organisations themselves, and with other stakeholders they interact with.
Across consumers and corporates, with 5G, a critical improvement will emerge with 5G- low latency, allowing for on device computing interacting with the network to offer unprecedented processing speeds for data of all kinds.
A few use cases emerge immediately post widespread launch:
Augmented and Virtual Reality have seen limited success so far- with experiences limited to expos and home/office locations, only faster on-premises Wi-Fi networks can ensure a good experience. With 5G, this improves- your metaverse will not glitch anymore, wherever you choose to experience it!
Telehealth will see a more widespread roll out over time- while the use of teleconsultation ebbed and flowed with the pandemic, our country still has one of the lower per capita specialist care availabilities in the world. With 5G, both teleconsultations, and network robotics-based surgery work will increase. So, the next time a patient in Manipur wants to consult a doctor in Manipal, the experience will be better
Fintech has already seen a revolution in India over the past three years. Most of this was driven by cash avoidance during the pandemic, but we now have the ground laid out for the next revolution. Two-day cheque clearance, RTGS every so many hours- I'd think our regulators and banks will make the move
Customer Engagement- We will see a tremendous change in what companies can offer as part of their service experience. At EnableX, we are creating some fascinating use cases with our customers, and in their respective categories, our clients will further establish their dominance, with service as a differentiator
The case for ‘SaaS featuring 5G’
As adoption widens, companies will want to be first to market, and first to perfection in the hyper connected world. The past five-ten years have been spent building various technology stacks that work for their business and industry. With SaaS, clients get the ability to plug and play various components, limiting technology friction and reducing time to market.
Further, SaaS offers the ability to scale operations and costs, as consumers learn, adapt and then prefer more immersive ways to conduct their lives.
I’m having very rich conversations with technologists across India and Singapore these days and can’t wait to see what 2023 brings for 5G and SaaS!