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Simith Nambiar

Rackspace Technology

Practice Lead – Emerging Technologies

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Tell us about yourself

After my master’s degree in computer applications, I started my journey as a software developer. While I began and loved working predominantly with startups, my curiosity saw me job-hopping across the telecoms industry, where I went from telecom software development to Mobile Application development. I then landed in research and standardisation with Samsung Electronics before moving into the financial services industry, where I worked in technology consulting for banks and credit beureaus. All the while, I was tinkering with emerging technologies on the side, trying to learn as much as I could about it by closely monitoring what was coming up and testing out the latest tech.  I eventually bit the bullet and moved to a smart home device company that built security cameras and sensors. I wanted to gain real, first-hand experience in the emerging tech industry, so I continued to move in that trajectory, working with Amazon Web Services to help build the partner ecosystem for IoT in the APAC region and where I focused on implementing IoT platforms across APAC. After deciding I wanted a change of pace, I found Rackspace Technology. The leadership was open to listening, doing more, and increasing the adoption of emerging tech in APAC – it was something I was looking for.

What are the top 3 trends in your transport/smart city niche that everyone should look out for in the next 5 years?

The first trend is the emergence of low code platforms. With the rapid mainstream adoption of machine learning in areas like manufacturing, transport and mining, employees are falling behind when it comes to knowledge. How do you enable the operations team who have no understanding of machine learning or artificial intelligence to forecast or predict machine failure? Having low code platforms where you click and select dropdowns will allow them to access similar capabilities without needing to have in-depth knowledge of machine learning models or data science.It further extends into anomaly detection, with new local platforms integrating machine learning into detecting problems with equipment. For instance, something that would usually require someone to have a great deal of understanding of data points and measurements to monitor for variations in the data can suddenly become hands-free and largely unsupervised through an algorithm.  The second trend is blockchain technology has been around for more than a decade, mostly in the form of the most popular cryptocurrency - Bitcoin. There has been significant innovation in the space bringing programmability to the blockchain via smart contracts. Smart contracts are lines of code written by developers on a blockchain. Smart contracts make blockchains truly transformational and relevant to a variety of use cases than just cryptocurrency, with Ethereum being the most popular one. The last trend is the buzz around 5G. It empowers low latency and what we call today as near real-time applications, where response times are faster than ever. It brings to transport, manufacturing and smart devices, flexible control over your robots, chillers or any other equipment.


How do you/your company innovate?

It’s no surprise that the customer mindset has changed. Over the last five or six years, customers have moved on from simply thinking about how emerging tech can help them, to actively looking at implementing digital transformation. We are continuously bringing new offerings to market to close the gap so that we can meet the customer at the right place in their digital transformation journey. This involves rapidly building solutions working closely with the sales, technical and marketing teams and taking solutions to market. Our Rackspace IIoT Accelerator is a great example of how the team at Rackspace Technology is addressing digital transformation, particularly in the manufacturing sector. We’re doing this through a pre-built, customisable solution that connects and collects data from the factory floor, analyses key metrics and displays them on a centralised dashboard. It enables operational personnel to have access to machine insights from the data that was once locked in silos by moving it into a central industrial data lake.


Why is encouraging innovation, new ideas, and tech important?

Technology is driving use cases like Predictive maintenance and Anomaly detection, which translates to a competitive advantage to the customers who have started adopting them. An hour of downtime in a manufacturing or mining plant can translate to millions of dollars lost over a period of time. Public cloud providers have launched managed services around data ingestion and AI/ML, which have significantly reduced the effort and the learning curve required to experiment and innovate. Taking new ideas and turning them into products takes only months as opposed to taking years a decade ago. Organisations need to empower their employees to innovate in their respective fields and build a culture of innovation to succeed in today’s world.

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