Techspectations: Brainstorming on a New Age manifesto for digital platforms

Techspectations 2018
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Manoramaonline Geojit Techspectations 2018 is being held at a time when technology is showing signs of spiralling out of control, assuming monster-like proportions.

It is a time when the most radical digital advancements are used to devour the values we hold dear. From privacy to democracy, nothing looks safe.

The second edition of Techspectations, by bringing together some of the finest minds working at cutting-edge digital technologies, is an attempt to draw up a New Age manifesto.

Techspectations 2018 is being organised by Manoramaonline in association with investment services company Geojit Financial Services.

The theme of the one-day summit, which will be held in Kochi today, is 'Rebuild, Regain, Retain'.

Video revolution

Ajay Vidyasagar, the Asia-Pacific head of YouTube, will deliver the first keynote address. Ajay made waves in the broadcast media sector, leading both Star and the Sun Network, which radically altered our way of consuming infotainment. As YouTube's Asia-Pacific regional director he has democratised the creation and consumption of video in a largely conservative Asia.

Analytics and Data will be the subject of the first panel discussion of the day. The British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica's mining of information from millions of Facebook profiles is already a post-modern horror story.

The Techspectations panel, instead, will brainstorm how data can be used not just ethically but also efficiently.

Data and Analytics

Business Blogging CEO and motivational speaker Kiruba Shankar, whose company inspires the youth to explore the business possibilities thrown open by social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, will host Techspectations 2018. He will chat up three of the best in the business : Ramanujam Pobbisetty (Enterprise Sales Director, India, comScore), Ruhbir Singh (Country Manager India, Google 360), and Rahul Vengalil (founder and CEO, What Clicks.)

Ramanujam Pobbisetty is among the clairvoyants who had quite early, long before mobile technology saw dramatic advances, insisted that Indians would spend more time on the mobile than on the desktop. Companies that had ignored him then had done it at their peril.

Ruhbir Singh, the head of Google's Partnerships and Enterprise Measurement Solutions, is a data wizard. Singh, who began as a web designer, has a reputation of conjuring up unique marketing strategies from scattered numbers. But Singh is also one of the strongest votaries of ethical use of data.

Rahul Vengalil had quit as business head of Isobar, a global digital marketing firm, in 2017 and founded What Clicks, a digital media audit and strategy firm based in Bengaluru.

What Clicks helps brands to face the harsh realities of ad fraud, security fraud and viewability challenges.

Vengalil believes that content alone can drive consumption, regardless of the platform.

The live-streaming wave

Kiruba Shankar will then invite Ben Morrel, the Asia vice president of Brightcove, and Aathitiyan V S, the co-founder and director of HeroTalkies. Both had tapped the potential of video in unique ways.

Brightcove is a leading global provider of cloud solutions for managing, delivering, and monetizing video experiences on every screen. And Morrell is one of the first few to tap the monetisation potential of video.

He was also instrumental in finding a solution to an issue software advertisers across the world had found most troubling: the pop-up blocking software. Morrell's instincts have been honed over the years, having worked on projects with the world's largest and most well-known media companies.

Aathitiyan's HeroTalkies brought live streaming to Tamil homes long before Netlifix or Amazon were heard of by the Tamil middle class.

HeroTalkies was, in a sense, a rebuff to online piracy. Aathitiyan sought to take Tamil cinema legally to every home through the online medium, at affordable rates, in brilliant quality and with flawless streaming. It goes to this engineering graduate's credit that the arrival of streaming giants like Netflix has not made a dent on the popularity of HeroTalkies.

Following the fireside chat with the video wizards, there will be a brief talk on 'Digital Transformation of Financial Trading' by Balakrishnan A, the executive driector of Geojit Financial.

Digital innovations

Post lunch, Ram Seshadri, Head - Digital Strategy & Solutions, Adobe, will deliver a keynote address on 'Innovations and Digital Transformation'. Adobe is at a technological vantage point when it comes to knowing what companies should do to tap the video wave that seems to be at its peak right now. Seshadri feels a huge democratisation has happened in video consumption and that it was primarily driven by the telcom revolution that occurred in the last year and a half.

The Adobe chief's address will be followed by a panel discussion on 'Emerging Media'. Besides Brightcove's Ben Morrell, it will have as panelists Vijay Kolli (head, Media Product Strategy & Market Development of cloud service provider Akamai), Ratnesh Mehra (CX Strategy and Transformation Director, Oracle), and Rinosh George (YouTuber, actor). Adobe and Akamai are associate partners of Techspectations.

Oracle CX cloud is the Oracle Customer Experience Cloud. Ratnesh Mehra, who heads the CX strategy in Oracle, feels made-to-order experiences have become the norm. "In a data-driven world, customers expect a faster, more efficient and beneficial experience designed especially for them," he said.

Homegrown wonders

The final post-tea session will be about startups and angel funding. It will begin with a brief talk by Nagaraja Prakasam, an angel investor, mentor and fund advisor. Prakasam, who travels extensively in rural areas, has invested in 21 rural startups. He is also a partner at Acumen, a New York-based impact venture fund.

Prakasam's talk will be followed by a panel discussion on homegrown startups that will have, besides Prakasam, leaders of some of the most successful homegrown startups in sectors as diverse as education, supply chain, digital payment and bio-chemicals: Dr. Nishanth B Singh (founder & CEO, EduLanche Services Pvt Ltd), Joseph E Palathingal (founder & CEO, CarePact), Asif Basheer (MD, Chillar Payment Solutions Pvt Ltd), and Aardra Chandra Mouli (founder & MD, Aeka Biochemicals).

Hyundai is the travel partner of Techspectations 2018, and HifX the technology partner. The delegates will be those who registered before November 20 and received a reply carrying QR code and reference code. They will get a pass from an app being provided by Techspectations on the mobile phone. The delegates have to carry either the reply message or the pass through the app for entry.

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