According to “The Future of Internet in India”, the report compiled by Indian organisation, the National Association of Software & Services Companies (Nasscom) and American internet solutions company Akamai Technologies, the number of internet users in India are expected to double by 2020, adding about 400 million new users. The e-commerce market is also expected to grow twofold from USD 17 billion, the statistics in 2015-2016. Also, Nasscom predicts growth of Internet in verticals such as Hospitality, e-Commerce, and Financial Technologies, among others.
India, the largest democracy in the world that houses 1.25 billion, is to remain the fastest growing market with already 330 million internet users as of 2015. Rural areas will provide with estimated 75 pc new users by 2020, who are expected to consume data in local languages.
“India’s Internet consumption has already exceeded USA to become number two globally. Keeping into consideration the massive impact that the Internet is creating across sectors, it has become the greatest disruptor of our age by changing the way we work, interact socially and live life in general. By 2020, the Internet is expected to penetrate deeper in the hinterlands of the country, helping to create more opportunities for everyone.” said Mr. R Chandrashekhar, President, NASSCOM.
Increased digital adoption, benefits to ‘netizens’
Projections from the report state that India will have an estimated 702 million smart phones users by 2020 and mobile phones will emerge as the preferred device for shopping, accounting for 70 pc of total online shopping. Also, an increase is estimated in all online travel-related transactions, thereby edging out travel. The content consumption patterns and consumer engagement channels are rapidly evolving.
With the rise of digital natives and the increased adoption of smartphones, Internet penetration in India will stretch beyond the large cities. This is also a great opportunity for enterprises to harness the power of the Internet to innovate and scale operations, affirms Mr. Sidharth Malik, Vice President and Managing Director, India, Akamai Technologies.
Challenges to protect the cyberspace
With growing digital connectivity, the risk of cyber-crimes also increases, therefore the necessity to ensure the security of cyberspace. According to Data Security Council of India, governments need to establish the appropriate policy and legal structures; furthermore, several security surveys reveal a lack of adequate knowledge among executives about security policy and incidents, the latest technological solutions, data leakage, financial loss, and the training that is needed for their employees.
Trillions of dollars move through the networks every day involving a broad range of activities, including e-commerce, e-governance, travel, hospitality, health care, and general communications. Due to selling of cheap phones in late numbers in India, it gets difficult for regulators to set legal and technical standards for data protection. India’s infrastructure is susceptible to digital intrusions, espionage and cybercrime, and the government should harness the highly skilled IT workforce it has for strategic use, according to a report on the topic by Indian daily The Hindu.
Digital India is in acceleration mode, and this brings not only a lot of business opportunities but also many questions about internet new consumption patterns and cybersecurity.