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Agendra Kumar

Agendra Kumar is President at Esri India. He has over 25 years of experience in IT business management and has served as the country head of several multinational technology companies. In his last assignment Agendra was the Managing Director of SGI in India. He has been associated twice with SGI (earlier known as Silicon Graphics Inc) with a prior stint as Director, Sales during 1994-2000. In between he worked as Managing Director of Veritas India and upon its merger with Symantec Corporation took on global account management responsibilities for Asia Pacific and Japan region.

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GIS Driving the Next Wave of Startup Ecosystem

GIS technology is on the road to an exciting future, dotted with promises for Governments and businesses alike. All it needs, for the moment, is a collective effort from its stakeholders to get it on the map.

Digitally created Maps have been in use since the late 1970s, and have become an integral part of navigation applications today. However, that is not all. Today, mapping technologies are being used across industries and running some of the critical government and business operations. To name few, GIS technology is being used by defense departments to assess threats and minimize their impact; by healthcare professionals to track child immunizations; and by meteorological departments to monitor and analyze weather patterns. Geographic Information System (GIS) is at the forefront of Digital Transformation leading to innovative information & decision support systems.  

Over the years, GIS has also evolved to include advanced geospatial analytics that allow users to explore interactions in space and time, and create smarter digital maps that aggregate geographic information and data, and track interactions. These capabilities are used across many building-blocks of the economy such as natural resources, transportation, emergency response, healthcare, urban planning and traffic management etc . The digital facelift of the country is being fueled by the start-ups in a big way through numerous innovations across different fields.

The opportunity for startups

As of 2017, India is home to 4500+ tech startups, the third highest number in the world after the United States and the United Kingdom. Amongst these, there is a growing base of GIS-focused startups, who are employing GIS technology in innovative ways to deliver solutions. One such example is Maptoss, a Pune-based startup that has created a prototype software to help in water and disaster management. The solution is built on two key technologies – IoT and digital maps. Another example of cutting-edge work leveraging GIS technology is by Robotronics, a startup based out of Gurugram that has built an autonomous drone system with a cloud GIS enabled management system leveraging technology in image processing and 3D visualization.

Location or spatial element is fast becoming a core component of business decision-making. An enterprise-wide GIS system is driving process transformation with GIS maps, apps and data accessible anytime, anywhere and on any device. The GIS systems are integrating data across all existing enterprise systems such as ERPs, SCADAs, BIs as well as non-spatial data enabling a location strategy that drives business objectives by applying the science of where. This is fueling demand for GIS based solutions in Government, Energy & Utilities, Infrastructure, Telecom, Manufacturing, BFSI, Retail and FMCG sectors. Many new use cases are emerging and Industry is keen to deploy GIS enabled solutions for diverse functions such as database connections & reporting, network tracing, locating customer complaints, and integrating with other business systems. This is where, a great opportunity lies for technology startups to become a part of the GIS ecosystem and drive geo-innovation.

A collaborative approach to unlock the full potential of GIS

Through available software, services and training, startups can leverage new dimensions of data and visualization capabilities to create breakthrough advancements and deliver truly innovative products to market that address everything from public safety to smart utilities and natural resource management to smart transportation..

The Government can support these initiatives through a more conducive geospatial data policy; this has been a demand from various GIS users in the government as well as private sector for several years.

GIS technology is on the road to an exciting future, dotted with promises for Governments and businesses alike. All it needs, for the moment, is a collective effort from its stakeholders to get it on the map.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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