Reva University: ‘We’ve shifted our focus to IoT with our skill initiatives in line with corporate strategy’

Published On 14/11/2016

Intel India has a range of education initiatives — from digital literacy to skilling among older youth — and over the last year has changed its focus in this area to Internet of Things. It has created more than a hundred IoT labs across universities and runs prototyping and innovation challenges.

Kishore Balaji, Director, Corporate Affairs, South Asia, spoke about all of this, including an example of a challenge run in collaboration with Reva University. He also explained how PPP models can fuel the change that India needs to adopt considering that all current trends suggest IoT hitting the peak by 2020. Excerpts:

What has Intel’s approach been in its education initiatives for India?

We have three pillars. One to do with basic digital literacy for people who can, therefore, participate in the digital revolution.

The second is how do you get the teachers and students to use technology and innovate, and the third is how do students in the higher education system gain skills to innovate.

Over the past fifteen years in India we’ve been working with the higher education pillar, but the essence has now changed.

How has that change shaped your higher education initiatives?

Fifteen years ago, we would work with top tier colleges to see how skill can be enhanced but over the past 5-6 years with the ecosystem getting vibrant, we’re now cutting across different tiers of institutions and working with them.

The context too changes — five years ago, we would’ve worked in embedded technologies. Since last year, we’ve moved to the IoT space to align with our corporate strategy.

What concrete milestones have you reached with your IoT focus?

Early last year, we enabled more than 100 institutions to have an IoT lab.

But besides giving them the infrastructure and investing in student as well as faculty development, we looked at a way we can give them a platform to get recognised. So students bring in their ideas, show their prototypes and we help them with the process of mentoring and rapid prototyping.

Our engagement with Reva University, for example, is a point in time activity. The final showcase of student tech creation from our 100 IoT centres will take place in November.

50 teams get a chance to refine their prototypes and we’ll pick the top 10 next month. These students are at the undergraduate level.

What’s the commercial opportunity for Intel India as you help fuel innovation at that level?

Before we talk about our slice of IoT, it’s important to understand where the industry is going. We’re at the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution which will likely open the doors for cyber-physical-biological coming together of things.

And this wave of growth will hit its peak around 2020 and by then it’s estimated that you’ll probably have around 3 or 3 ½ trillion connected devices which is about 20 billion today.

Now that creates an opportunity for all — for Intel, for the industry, for the country, for students. While this is the first year of operating our 100 IoT centres at one scale, we would see it improving from this year going forward.

Don’t we need effective PPP models to accomplish faster rate of change and innovation in India?

We’re now living in an era where PPP is more successful than in the past, and we also see there’s a real desire to collaborate among both industry and government.

The role of enterprises or MNCs is to spot trends, and create models, structures and proof points for the ecosystem partners to see through.

With more ecosystem partners joining in, then academia or start-ups and mentor networks, change becomes systemic and systemised.


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