Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Expectations & Outlook of Brands for 2022

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The year 2021 has ended and the year 2022 dawned. The years 2020 and 2021 have been tumultuous for the Indian economy and the IT industry due to Covid-19 and the following lockdowns and restrictions. Many companies and businesses suffered a lot. We hope the third Covid wave will soon leave quickly without creating much havoc. We are giving below the comments of the senior executives of some of the prominent IT companies on their feelings and experiences about what happened in 2021 and what they expect and desire for in 2022.

Mr.Dick Bussiere, Technical Director, Tenable APAC, “5G roll-outs in APAC will bring with them an exponential increase in our ability to interconnect intelligent devices reliably and at high speed. This will lead to a rapid acceleration of e-commerce and the emergence of intelligent cities and infrastructures. Within Australia, we also see intelligent devices being connected to utilities – for example, solar cells reporting to the operator how much power they are injecting into the grid. The benefits are very tangible, as are the enhanced risks. 5G increases our dependence on our digital infrastructures, amplifying the negative impact on society when this infrastructure malfunctions or is the victim of a cyberattack. As we embrace 5G, we must also carefully consider the resilience and security of the systems that will utilise this game-changing technology.”

Mr.Piyush Sharrma, CEO & Co-Founder, Accurics by Tenable, “If a vulnerability is detected while infrastructure is running, that organization is already exposed –even if a patch is applied right away. Now that cloud adoption has rapidly increased and organizations are embracing the flexibility that cloud-native provides, it is vital to find and fix every bug before deployment. By the time software reaches run-time, it’s already too late. That’s why detection will move from reactive to proactive in 2022, as CISOs increasingly recognize that security teams don’t have to wait for infrastructure to be created to discover and mitigate vulnerabilities in code.”

Mr.Aayur Kaul, Market Head, Skillshare India, “2021 changed the course of education across the world, but it has especially been a year of change for online learning. This year proved that blended learning, video classes and upskilling are not just temporary trends but will continue to grow and evolve in the years to come. The online learning industry in India is expected to reach US$ 4 billion by 2025. This growth will largely be driven by the rising demand for non-academic classes from tier II & III cities in India. The Indian government’s National Education Policy too calls for mandatory skill development training starting at school-level and online learning platforms have a huge opportunity to work towards creating top of the line content for upskilling. Heading into 2022, community-based learning is expected to grow exponentially as new learners are looking for a sense of community since most people have remained indoors over the last two years. Learners are looking for platforms that help them form a network of peers they can learn from. Besides, thoughtful, creative video-based content and micro-learning are likely to become more popular as millennials and Gen Z are forging the gig economy, making it important to discover inspiration, learn new skills, and put their talents to work in ways they care about. In India particularly, mobile-friendly online learning platforms are expected to grow due to the fast-paced smartphone and internet penetration. The drastic changes over the last two years taught us that lifelong learning and upskilling is crucial, making online learning platforms pivotal to young professionals looking to harness their creativity.”

Mr. Subodh Parulekar, CEO & CO-Founder, AFour Technologies, “As the world adjusts to the new normal, businesses are considering digital transformation as a strategic tool to evolve, scale, and adopt agile practices. In the post-COVID era, a significant acceleration of digitalization has been observed, which results in favorable tailwinds for revenue in the current fiscal year and the years to come. A recent study stated that the global digital transformation market size is expected to grow from USD 499.8 billion in 2020 to USD 1009.9 billion by 2025.This is quite a staggering number, and it shows just how important digitalization is for businesses of all sizes. The next few years will witness emerging technologies – such as 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence – that will play a significant role in shaping our future. At AFour Technologies, we aim to establish dominance in cloud platforms, big data, data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and next-gen data center technologies. In order to deliver a greater range of offshore services to our clients, we are also focusing on drawing talent from Indian metros and non-metro cities.”

Mr.Padma kumar Nair, CEO & Co-founder of Ennoventure, “In today’s one-click digital world, consumer behavior has changed drastically. The vast majority shops online now, even for basic necessities like food and medicines, and brands have amped up their e-commerce presence to meet this need. Today, consumers have grown smarter; they research products in detail before choosing what to buy. The best way to combat the mounting wave of counterfeiting, therefore, is to empower consumers with the technology they need to check the authenticity of a product at the time of purchase.At Ennoventure, we help businesses ensure the authenticity of their products. We employ technologies like blockchain, AI, and cryptography to create an encrypted signature on products that are invisible to the naked eye and can only be retrieved using a smartphone. This way, consumers need not worry about fraudulent and potentially harmful products, and brands can rest assured about their market reputation as providers of genuine goods. Measures like these, in addition to stricter guidelines for consumer protection, will rout out counterfeiters and enable brands to compete and flourish in an ethical manner.”

Mr. Mark Milastsivy CEO & Founder of Firstbase, “India has emerged as the third largest startup ecosystem in the world adding over 51 unicorns in the last year. Entrepreneurs are making a mark not only in India, but also in the West. Studies also show that 26% of the estimated 7300 immigrant-led US start-ups and one-third of Silicon Valley start-ups are helmed by Indians, whether as Founders or CEOs. From Robinhood and Clubhouse to Freshworks and Instacart, some Indians in the United States have launched notable firms with a global influence. Adding to Indian businesses’ success, reports have also shown that US start-ups founded by first- or second-generation Indians are among the most highly valued private tech companies in the country.In fact, 2021 has relatively been a good year as we witnessed IPOs and listings of homegrown companies both in India and overseas. This is a positive sign for the startup ecosystem in the country and we expect the same momentum to continue in 2022 as well.At Firstbase, we are helping startups set up and scale their businesses in the US market. Our product, Firstbase Start, has already been trusted by over 9000 startup companies from 180 countries and we expect these numbers to increase in the coming year.”

Mr.Naman Shah, Founder & CEO, NowPurchase, “Since Covid, small businesses have been navigating challenges such as the shipping container crisis, coal shortages, rising raw material prices across industries. Meanwhile, domestic manufacturers are struggling due to skyrocketing steel prices. Although government’s credit schemes have provided relief to some MSMEs, small businesses are anticipating the Centre to strike a balance on import duties on steel products in the upcoming budget. This will offer some more relief to the sector.As MSMEs are looking forward to boost their recovery beyond pre-pandemic levels, they are having high hopes from the Union Budget 2022. Out of the many important considerations, one of the most important one for MSMEs is tax compliance, as due to the complexities of regulation, entrepreneurs invariably face delays and lapses in compliance. My suggestion to the government is to rationalize and simplify the rules that have already been agreed upon by industry representatives.Another important consideration for MSMEs is the restoration of the tax credit for R&D expenditures, as the benefit was 200 percent until 2016-17, when it was reduced to 150 percent. This was valid until April 1, 2020, so we are requesting that it be restored to 200%. Furthermore, given that we are optimizing and, in some ways, preparing factories for the future, I believe that any legislation assisting or encouraging factories to invest in technology, as well as government subsidies and incentives, would be extremely beneficial.”

Mr. Prem Kumar, Founder & CEO, SnapBizz, “2021 has been a year of significant transformation in consumers’ tastes, preferences and buying patterns. With the Coronavirus seemingly under control, thanks to lockdowns and vaccination efforts, this year’s festive season saw some sense of “normalcy”. Shops had an increase in footfall, as compared to the same time last year. There was an increase of 36% in the FMCG sales this year as compared to the last two years. Online shopping continues to be preferred, due to the convenience of shopping and ease of payment.Approximately, 10 million small kiranas serve the entire population of the country and are the backbone of the retail ecosystem. With consumers having a median basket size of less than ₹200 and shopping for up to 3 to 5 times per week, it has become very important to help these small businesses survive the digitization era.The government continues to discourage large gatherings, and festivals as a preemptive measure, so we can expect this trend to carry on well into 2022. On the business front, this has paved the way for even small businesses to make the switch to online payments to limit social contact. This trend will only flourish with digital payments being adopted increasingly by rural sectors, and leading to the “millennial mindset” becoming more prevalent. Furthermore, value-based buying will see an increase in 2022. The financial inclusion of small and medium businesses is led by various fintech companies. Digitizing Kiranas have led these small entrepreneurs to be able to reach their customers in a more streamlined and safe manner. SnapBizz, for example, maps store performance indicators like median basket size, footfall, merchandise, stock turnover ratios, profile of shoppers and much more. Tools like this can make it easy for these businesses to strategize and make the most of their transactions. In my opinion, 2022 is sure to see the role of online and digital payments play a crucial role in the marketing success of brands.”

Mr. Gaurav Burman, VP & APAC President, 75F, India, “As 75F specializes in Smart Building Technology, our IoT solutions focus on employees’ health and safety. This has become a hot topic no doubt in recent times, with the entire world slowly emerging from the pandemic. There is also the need to maintain ambient conditions, most conducive to work, including air, lighting and temperature. Looking back, we see that the entire HVAC industry is undergoing a technological revolution to keep up with the evolving demands of home buyers and builders. New, eco-friendly buildings are being designed to use minimal energy to balance the heat and cold inside the building. Indoor air quality has become a priority in the Covid era as the risk of catching viruses is particularly high in an enclosed space shared by multiple people. And hence, businesses that are planning to bring back their employees, have a clear obligation to safeguard employee well-being by ensuring that indoor air is both clean and optimally balanced for productivity. Also, this pandemic emerged as the year giving rise to digital transformation across functions including facility management services, regardless of the nature and size of businesses. The main objective of any facility manager is to ensure that the employees are able to work efficiently within the office environment. Tenants are expecting an office environment that gives a connected workplace experience to collaborate with multiple teams. I think Facility management in 2022 will witness trends such as an increased number of shared workplaces and increased adoption of technology to optimize operations and to increase energy efficiency.”

Mr. Jose Ramapuram, Director of Marketing, Evolve Back Luxury Resorts, “With the majority of the population being vaccinated and industries returning to normalcy, the hospitality, travel and tourism industries are well-equipped for a period of revival. In the New Year, we believe that the worst is behind us, and the sector will witness heightened growth and activity. We have observed that revenge travel and work-from-anywhere culture due to remote work opportunities were emerging trends during the pandemic. Longer stays, a preference for private experiences and an emphasis on sustainable tourism were also more commonplace this year. We foresee these trends to continue into 2022, with rising demand for immersive cultural experiences, a strong focus on wellness during holidays and sustainable tourism. Travel bookings are bound to increase, and we are optimistic that the upcoming years will usher in the needed growth and stability. And as always, our team will continue to follow government mandates and guidelines with stringency for the safety of customers and our staff.”

Mrs.Priya Naik, Founder, Samhita-CGF, “We’ve spent 2021 crafting pathways to prosperity for workers & micro-entrepreneurs by collaborating with companies, multilateral and bi-lateral agencies, foundations, and civil society organizations. We have also been focused on protecting the protectors — healthcare, sanitation and frontline workers. While an immediate need to respond to the crisis brought these diverse partners together, they are now deeply committed to ensuring the recovery, resilience and prosperity of their vulnerable stakeholders. Together, we are all creating a ‘Better Normal’ for our citizens.”

Mr. Shashank Jain &Mr. Rajat Jain, Founders of Strawfit (Bourgeon Foods, LLP), “2021 was certainly a year like never before, but the FMCG sector has seen a significant amount of growth. As compared to the last two years, there was a 36% increase in FMCG sales in 2021. With people becoming more health conscious, products that are easy to prepare, but still healthy, saw an increase in demand.The Food & Beverage industry in 2022 is expected to see a number of positive twists and turns, especially with plant-based and immunity boosting foods. ‘Functional foods’ will see a surge, with consumers consciously choosing foods that possess an additional function. This projection is a reason why we, at Strawfit, are optimistic and excited about the months ahead. Our product, with added colostrum, will be considered not just functional, but also a healthy and fun way to drink milk for children.In this age where transparency in food labels is paramount, the F&B industry is working hard to show consumers they produced the food sustainably and humanely. With industry leaders now more experienced with the customers’ tastes and preferences during the pandemic, the 2022 focus is anticipated to shift towards products that are healthy not just for the consumers, but also for the earth.”

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