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“Digital India”, Not A Far Fetched Dream Anymore.

Covid-19 is the before-after moment everyone around the globe needed for going digital.

From schools to offices to even doctor’s consultation, everything is being done through the internet now. People have found substitutes for all the things they never thought about. It is reshaping our lives in ways no one ever pictured it to be. It has made us realise the core essence of technology and all the right uses for it.

Vittal Raj, an expert on cyber security, said Covid-19 will help achieve the Centre’s ‘sagging’ digital dream, with the current situation forcing the digitally reluctant and digitally illiterate to break their complacent mindset and take their first steps away from the cash habit.

The major segments going virtual could be:

Digital events: with coming up of high-quality video and audio-conferencing applications, digital events might be highly appreciated and in-demand. Globally, conferences, trade shows, and even the Olympics have been cancelled or postponed to mitigate the spread of the disease. Some of these events are being respawned as virtual events, which in the end may not just be a 2020 phenomenon but the new standard for experiences. With lower costs for attendees and promoters and more flexibility in content formats, some events might remain virtual in the future. Microsoft is one of the biggest software companies who have gone digital with respect to events. The software giant was planning on holding its annual developer conference in Seattle from May 19th to May 21st, but Microsoft has decided to make it a “digital event.” A Microsoft spokesperson mentioned.

Banks going digital: Banks and credit unions must use this time of disruption to consider reinventing themselves from the inside out. Indian banks must create simple applications for all types of customers. Kiosks must be created for digital transactions. This will save cost and will also educate the citizens for a better tomorrow. Some organizations may retrench and try to save costs because of the financial stress that results from the massive shutdowns caused by COVID-19. Other organizations will go beyond looking for efficiencies to create completely new business models that will impact all components of performance. Right now, there is an opportunity to re-evaluate how technology, insight and analytics can accelerate the future growth and competitiveness of financial institutions globally. Private sector banks HDFC and ICICI have asked customers to use digital means for transactions and said they have reduced their staff in office as a precautionary measure against the spread of coronavirus. For a bank, functions such as customer service roles, phone banking, HR, corporate office functions, which do not require meeting customers, could be the ones to be first considered for remote working. “Nearly 20-30% of the people can work virtually going ahead,” says Vempati, executive vice president & head – human resources, Axis Bank.

New future for work from home: From having the right technology to having the right mindset, it is important to adjust as quickly as possible and not to use this new reality as an excuse to become unproductive. Work from home can be highly productive because it saves one a lot of time and makes him work in his own zone and comfort. HR heads from a dozen leading corporations including Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, RPG Group, Vedanta, EY, Cognizant, Titan, Deloitte, Whirlpool, Paytm, Saint-Gobain India, among others, said that virtual workplaces are the future of work. “Work-from-home is here to stay,” said Rajkamal Vempati, executive vice president & head – human resources, Axis Bank.

Virtual health care: Several governments and hospital systems around the world have leveraged AI-powered sensors to support triage in sophisticated ways. While we are trying to dampen the spread the virus, we can also optimise our technology for it. AI for health care must be balanced by the appropriate level of human clinical expertise for final decision-making to ensure we are delivering high quality, safe care. The Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, a maternity, childcare and fertility care group of hospitals has announced the launch of its tele-consultation service with doctors. This service has been made available across Gurgaon, Noida, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru and Chennai units of Cloudnine. Practo claims said it has served millions through its tele consult services in the last three years since it first began the service. The reach is all over India including tier-2 and tier-3 cities and queries come in 24X7. Each general physician on Practo typically consults 25-30 patients a day. But in the last three weeks, Practo said the number has shot up by three to four times.

Chatbots and not customer care executives: chatbots are basically chat windows on every website for solving the queries of customers. It is a major hit in todays time but many companies are not using it because they prefer physical interaction with customers due to the psychological beliefs. HDFC Bank, one of India’s largest private sector banks, launched its own chatbot for Messenger. OnChat, the bank’s maiden foray into conversational banking, allows customers to transact for bill payments, mobile recharges, booking travel, so on and so forth. Since its launch, HDFC Bank OnChat has witnessed a surprising 160% month-on-month growth in transactions while garnering over 2.4 million messages. The bot can send personalized communications to customers, like payment reminders, and is smart enough to decipher a mix of Hindi and English – just the way a lot of Hindi-speaking Indians prefer to talk in real life.

Education through internet: since the onset of this pandemic, educational institutions are trying to cater to the students through online education platforms. There has been surge in the usage of Byjus and other apps. This is a very good way of making the child knowledgeable as hr can learn at his own pace and figure out the courseware himself. It makes the child more responsible and innovative.

Overall, we can sum up by saying that “digital India” is not a myth and can be achieved now looking at the current situation. When people have no other option left, they go to the last resort which has happened in India. People had preconceived notions about going digital but look where have we come now! There is essentially no other way out. This wave does not really include all of India because many people don’t have the way to go online. For them, the old ways would continue.

Hand in hand cooperation must be shown by people and the companies. More companies should emerge who look after digital transformation like Chennai-based FSS Pvt Ltd are working round the clock to help the digital transformation work without interruption. “Having moved to digital for payments over the past decade and more, the advent of Immediate Payment Systems, Unified Payments Interface and 24/7 National Electronics Funds Transfer has made life easy for most enabled customers,” said Nagaraj Mylandla, Managing Director, FSS Pvt Ltd.

This is the “new normal” for us and we must embrace it with a happy heart.



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