Abhishek Biswal, business head, digital products and
services, Airtel Digital,

In the cloud domain, Bharti Airtel has been providing enterprises with advanced cloud computing solutions that enable seamless scalability, robust security and unparalleled reliability. In an interview with tele.net, Abhishek Biswal, business head, digital products and services, Airtel Digital, talks about Airtel’s key solutions in the cloud segment…

How has the cloud computing landscape evolved in India? What are the various use cases that have emerged?

The evolution of the cloud computing landscape in India has been a transformative journey, reshaping the way businesses and individuals harness technology. In­i­tially centred on meeting IT infrastructure needs, the role of cloud technology has expanded to become a strategic enabler of business growth and innovation. This shift is underpinned by a no­table change in decision-making dynamics, with business imperatives now driving cloud adoption more than ever before.

We see a growing trend of cloud decisions being driven by the business needs of customers, rather than just their IT needs. This translates to application-led cloud capabilities that extend far beyond the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) needs which were common earlier. Use cases around big data analysis, artificial intelli­gen­ce/machine learning, internet of things, gaming applications, etc., have developed of late.

In the past, cloud computing primarily served IaaS demands, offering scalable and cost-efficient virtualised resources. How­ever, this scope has broadened considerably, encompassing an array of application-led cloud capabilities. Businesses now leverage cloud services to align with their strategic goals, optimise operations and enhance customer experience. The emergence of diverse and impactful use cases un­derscores the cloud’s pivotal role in shaping India’s digital future. As cloud adoption continues to accelerate, India stands at the forefront of technological pro­gress, and in realising the cloud’s po­tential to drive economic advancement and transformation.

What are the key solutions offered by Airtel in the cloud segment? Are there any new products in the pipeline?

Airtel’s cloud solutions can be broadly catego­ri­sed as Sovereign Cloud, Public Clo­ud and Edge Compute. Acro­ss these categories, we le­verage our strength, which is our infrastructure, that is, state-of-the-art data centres data centres across the country and the best possible connectivity options, two aspects that are crucial in cloud solutions.

Customers today are keen on a multicloud model. Hence, while we don the hat of a system integrator in our partnership with hyperscalers, we continue to build our assets around sovereign and edge clouds; these assets will see the next set of products rolled. A multicloud approach is an effective way to ac­hie­ve this goal and stay ahead of the competition. Through these collaborations, we act as a system integrator, bringing together various clo­ud platforms to create a seamless experience for our customers. Our strategy is forward-thinking in natu­re, and it will enable us to deliver innovative products in the future. We understand that the cloud landscape is constantly evolving, and we are committed to staying at the forefront of these changes.

How will the company’s recent partnership with the Ministry of Education benefit digital learning in India? Do you plan to collaborate with other sectors as well?

With our partnership with the Mi­nistry of Education, we see a host of possibilities on the e-learning front. We are keen on replicating this success with other departments th­at could embark on similar initiatives. Airtel’s content de­livery network is in­tegra­ted with multiple hyperscales, which gives us the unique advantage of working across the value chain of such projects; from managing the content hosted on a cloud, to delivering it anywhere ac­ross the country, to providing last mile connectivity to the consumers.

What opportunities will 5G and edge computing open for Airtel Cloud? How do you plan to tap these opportunities?

5G adoption will bring new use cases such as gaming, augmented reality/virtual reality and autonomous vehicles. This will lead to a rise in computing needs closer to the customer. As per certain estimates, 10 per cent of computing will move to the edge.

The potential for innovation and pro­gress is truly limitless. However, to fully realise these opportunities, we need to have faster computing capabilities that are situated closer to the users. That is where edge computing comes in. By relocating around 10 per cent of computing work to the edge, we can process data process data near whe­re it is needed leading to smoother and faster operations overall. This is particularly important for activities that require quick reactions, such as gaming or driving. The collaboration between 5G and edge computing is truly transformative, enhancing our overall experience and making it more enjoyable for everyone involved.