In July 2015, the Government of India launched a 'Digital India Programme', with a vision of driving the efforts to transform India into a digitally empowered society and a well-informed economy.
Digital Transformation of Indian Farming
Q&A with Mr. Piyush Somani, Managing Director and Chairman | ESDS
Tell us about yourself and ESDS.
I started ESDS 16 years ago in Nashik. After working for a year and a half, post completion of engineering, my colleagues and I from college & previous organization decided to become business partners, which led us to take up the first project of offering web hosting support. With my father's initial funding and support, our team brought an Internet connection necessary to start an online managed services business. In 2005, I applied for a private limited company, and hence ESDS was incorporated. In 2011, we launched our first Data Center in Nashik, Maharashtra. ESDS was also the first company to offer a true Make in Cloud in the nation in 2011 with the introduction of our in-house developed Cloud Platform, eNlight Cloud. In 2016, ESDS launched its second Data Center in Navi Mumbai, and 4 years later, ESDS launched its third Data Center in Bengaluru in collaboration with STPI (Software Technology Park of India). ESDS is also one of the few Data Center & Cloud Services providers, with its R&D Team comprising 175+ Members (As of June 30, 2021). Over the years, ESDS' R&D Team has developed several products complementing ESDS' Data Center & Cloud business. Today, ESDS is amongst India's leading Managed Cloud Service & end-to-end multi-Cloud requirements providers (Source: Ken Research Report). We have built a comprehensive Cloud platform that our customers rely on, consisting of Cloud infrastructure, well-architected solutions to reduce cost and provide safety, flexibility, scalability, and reliability to enterprises compared with the traditional on-premises IT models.
How has the pandemic changed the way AgriTech startups have to operate?
AgriTech startups have adopted changes that are believed to have encouraged productivity while working remotely. When government agencies issued lockdown & work from home guidelines, AgriTech startups aimed to leverage various technologies available via their devices. These startups have attempted to equip themselves with the aim of offering sustainable farming solutions. In 2021, SPOCHUB was incorporated, an in-house Digital Marketplace, to provide SaaS & PaaS offerings. Through Spochub, ESDS offers the following services – (a) offer software developed by third party vendors, (b) sell the in-house developed SaaS and (c) provide “manpower as a service”, on the basis of which two organisations are connected, one which requires personnel with technical knowledge and experience and the other which provides such personnel for specific tasks.
What challenges faced AgriTech companies?
The pandemic caused uncertainties, and like every industry, the Agriculture businesses was also required to adapt to the environment. While companies may have found new innovative ways for communicating & connecting virtually, this new adoption could have proven to be challenging for the farmers in the rural parts due to lower possible adoption of smart devices. The pandemic encouraged adoption of smarter technologies, which may eventually lead to benefits for the agriculture sector. It is believed that many companies dealing in agriculture have found ways to sell their products via an online platform.
How is technology changing the landscape of agriculture in India?
In July 2015, the Government of India launched a 'Digital India Programme', with a vision of driving the efforts to transform India into a digitally empowered society and a well-informed economy. Further, it was envisaged that the digital ecosystem could generate an economic value of USD 1 trillion, which would play a crucial role in achieving the USD 5 Trillion Economy target by 2025. As part of the program, the Government identified 30 digital themes across different sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, education, energy, digital payments, etc., which relies on a 21st century IT/ITES, highlighting opportunities for increased adoption of digital technologies. Advancements in technologies and AI are believed to have helped stakeholders from the agriculture industry resolve soil issues, climate predictions, irrigation concerns, and supply chain loopholes. Farmers are now aiming to adapt with innovations which may benefit them . Smart farming using cutting-edge technologies like GPS and Satellites, Sensors, Robotics & Analytics is believed to be ushering in a new wave of AgriTech modification in India.
What inspired you to get into the AgriTech Industry?
We believe in mission four B's for ESDS, in quest for a larger purpose. Mission 1B is to transform the lives of 1 billion people. The second mission of 1B is to connect 1 billion smart devices. Then, 1B is to plant 1 billion trees. And the fourth mission, 1B, is to become a billion-dollar enterprise. ESDS has always thrived on answering the question: How can we connect more people? How can we bring digital transformation into the lives of the majority of India's population and the majority worldwide? While ESDS has offered its products across diversified industries that include government ministries & companies and corporate entities across sectors such as BFSI, manufacturing, IT and ITES, telecom, real estate, pharmaceuticals, retail and education, we always believed agriculture to be extremely important With an aim to contribute towards the agricultural sector, ESDS has developed Famrut, an agricultural technology ecosystem, through which farmers are connected to stakeholders.
What led ESDS to the development of Famrut?
We are a technology-driven company, and it has been our constant endeavor to use technology. Famrut is our first step in the agri-tech sector, and we aim at helping the farmers through this initiative. Famrut is aimed at being a helpful tool for our farmers. Our aim is to simplify the farmers' jobs in their field using technology. Famrut is developed to meet their needs.
How does the Famrut ecosystem help connect farmers with important resources?
Famrut is ESDS’ digital agroecosystem platform. The key objective is to assist the farmers in improving yield & revenue from their piece of land by connecting them with relevant stakeholders of the agro-economy.
What is next for ESDS and AgriTech? Do you see more products in the future?
ESDS is working on further enhancement of some of the products. We have eNlight 360 - complete cloud orchestration plus data center infrastructure management tool. ESDS also has VTMScan, iPAS, and multiple similar products. To launch a new product in the market, you have to spend time on the research and analysis for the development and launch of the product. We intend to capitalise on the rising adoption of cloud in India and across international markets including by introduce new as well as enhance existing SaaS solutions for accelerated digital transformation of customers’ businesses. We are an innovation driven company. In our industry, we are one of the few data center and cloud services provider that has its own R&D team (Source: Ken Research Report). Through our R&D initiatives, we developed our vertically auto scalable cloud, which is patented in the USA and the UK. Over the years, our R&D team has developed several products that complement our data center and cloud business.
About Piyush Somani
Piyush Somani is the Managing Director and Chairman of ESDS Software Solution Ltd. He holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering (electronics) from the University of Pune. He has over 16 years of experience in the information technology sector. As the founder of our Company at the age of 26, he has been instrumental in expanding the operations of our Company in India and several international markets. He is also on the board of our Subsidiaries, ESDS Internet Services Private Limited, SPOCHUB Solutions Private Limited, ESDS Cloud FZ LLC and ESDS Global Software Solution, Inc.
The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AgriTechTomorrow
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