IoT can benefit patients, parents, families, hospitals, general practitioners, insurance firms, and allied paramedical services and staff – Vaibhav Tare, Fulcrum Digital, Full Interview

Vaibhav Tare, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of Fulcrum Digital

Vaibhav Tare, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of Fulcrum Digital

Fulcrum Digital is a leading IT services and business platform company headquartered in Jersey City, USA with offices in UK, South America, Australia, and Europe. At the core of this is the service delivery center that is based in Pune. The company aspires to become the leading authority on digital transformation in the global marketplace. In its journey of 20+ years, Fulcrum Digital has worked with global companies from diverse industries including banking and financial services, insurance, higher education, food services, retail, manufacturing, and e-commerce; helping them accelerate their digital transformation by incorporating customized solutions using machine learning and emerging technologies.

Here is an excerpt from an interactive session with Vaibhav Tare, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of Fulcrum Digital where he answers various questions related to the IT domain.

Prateek: The pandemic has affected every aspect of life. But do you think it has also opened up many doors for much-required digital transformation?

Vaibhav Tare: Much before the pandemic, there was a noticeable shift towards digitization across industries. While the pandemic has caused disruption in the world of digital transformation, the effects have proved to be a worthwhile investment and have, therefore, accelerated many businesses’ long-term digital strategies. Digitization has stepped in to bridge the gaps left by lockdowns and social distancing measures and things like e-learning, e-commerce, and virtual events have become a part of daily routine. As a result of this, companies are compelled to create unique digital experiences not just for their customers but also for employees and other key stakeholders. According to a report by International Data Corporation (IDC), despite a global pandemic, direct digital transformation (DX) investment is still growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.5% from 2020 to 2023 and is expected to approach $6.8 trillion as companies build on existing strategies and investments, becoming digital-at-scale future enterprises.

At Fulcrum Digital, we have been working with companies across the spectrum in aiding their digital transformation journeys with the help of integrated solutions that include platform capabilities, digital services, domain expertise, and business consultancy. We have worked with brands across sectors such as fintech, insurance, banking, education, food, and hospitality. We firmly believe that digital transformation should drive positive outcomes: Whether it’s streamlining processes, harnessing data, or shaping entirely new ways of doing business, this is about uniting every part of the enterprise for a common purpose.

Prateek: How can the integration of AI in the education and research sector transform the domain?

Vaibhav Tare: In my view, Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a part of our everyday lives – be it Alexa, Netflix recommendations, shopping suggestions, and Spotify playlists. It has become integral to marketing and advertising strategies, e-commerce, entertainment, and so much more that we don’t sometimes realize the impact.

Coming to its role in education, AI is revolutionizing the teaching and learning process across schools, colleges, and other institutions. Today’s classrooms are vastly different from the ones we studied in. For instance, there are AI tools that can track a student’s attention span, facial expressions, health and wellbeing, campus presence, and academic progress, to make apt recommendations to teachers and students both.  The market valuation of AI in the education and research sector will cross the US $20 billion by 2027. AI is gaining traction due to the proliferation of smart devices and the rapid digitalization of education and research across the globe.

One of the other benefits of AI is that it has made education far more accessible. Learning material can be shared in virtual formats such as video conferences and lectures. AI systems can also digitize textbooks, which allows for more people to access the text. While at the same time, automation of tedious tasks benefit teachers as they become more efficient and can focus on other crucial things. Even though it is early days, AI has the power to become a great equalizer in education and a key differentiator for institutions that embrace it.

Like Yann LeCun Professor, New York University said, “Our intelligence is what makes us human, and AI is an extension of that quality.”

Prateek: Tell us more about the ‘Kaleidoscope’.

Vaibhav Tare: Technology has profoundly changed education right from e-learning to streamlining operations that enable faculty to focus on teaching and even consolidating back-end processes. Digital transformation in education can enhance the traditional face-to-face learning environment. It can enable teachers to innovate pedagogical models for creating a better connect with students.

Promethean’s EdTech report 2021 points out that EdTech is now a priority for almost 40% of schools. 86% of respondents think that EdTech should be used within regular teaching practice. Education is one of the sectors that we focus on at Fulcrum Digital. With over 21 years of experience in the field of higher education, our experts have enabled educational institutions across UK, USA, and Middle East in their digital transformation journey.

Kaleidoscope was born out of the need to streamline and augment systems in a manner that makes the process seamless for students, teachers, and other faculty members through a unified experience. This is a platform that integrates multiple functions into one resulting inefficient document management systems, seamless collaboration, and Single Sign-On, amongst other varied features. Some of the other features of Kaleidoscope include Digital Roadmap Assessment, Platform Implementation, Integration implementation services, and managed services to keep remote learning 24×7 and education operation running efficiently.

We have worked with education institutions across levels to develop customized solutions that include ESB and integration assessments, implementation services, and ready-made products for students, faculty, staff, and management. For example, we partnered with one of the world’s oldest universities in the UK in a digital transformation programme to create and develop a digital maturity model. This resulted in us recommending and subsequently implementing a University-wide digital culture change programme.

Prateek: It is said that IoT will be instrumental in changing the face of the health care system in India. According to you what are some of the challenges and what is the scope of the technology?

Vaibhav Tare: The advent of technology has led to more connected devices in the world today than ever. The healthcare industry has witnessed one of the most rapid transformations in the last 18 months. The global Internet of Things (IoT) in healthcare market size is expected to experience significant growth by reaching USD 446.52 billion by 2028, as per the Fortune Business Insights in its report, titled Internet of things (IoT) in Healthcare Market. IoT-enabled connectivity has the potential to catapult the Indian healthcare system into an integrated, efficient, and patient-centric system.

Let’s talk about the scope of IoT to start with: IoT can benefit patients, parents, families, hospitals, general practitioners, insurance firms, and allied paramedical services and staff. Automatically collected health graphs, metrics, and insights like heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature, through IoT-enabled devices, can even help diagnose and predict health conditions in time. These predictions are based on well-advanced data analytics, continuously evolving Machine Learning (ML), and growing Artificial intelligence (AI).

Now, coming to the challenges: Cost is definitely one of the key challenges faced with IoT implementation. This technology-driven solution is not yet affordable to the common man. One of the other biggest threats is that of data security as IoT means tremendous amounts of data being generated, exchanged, and consumed. This automatically increases the number of ways hackers could infiltrate vulnerable systems and steal valuable data. The third challenge is that working on outdated infrastructure and a shortage of tech talent may also challenge the upgrade.

Prateek: Are there any products or services up for launch in recent days?

Vaibhav Tare: The pandemic has catalyzed digital transformation across the globe and India is no exception, technology is poised to quickly and radically change nearly every sector of India’s economy. Currently, there are not many solution providers in the market who provide technologies tailor-made to the customer’s needs but do so at a prohibitive cost. Considering this struggle of mid-size companies, we developed the FulcrumOne platform, a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform which manages the core business helping companies compete with leaders of their industry by integrating the latest digital transformation systems to accelerate their business transformation journeys through our one platform approach to roll out multiple industry functions.

One of the sectors that are poised for a complete revamp is Food & Beverages and hospitality. Our research and experience have shown that companies will now invest in emerging technologies that will help bring immense value to consumers. Developing platforms that offer an end-to-end solution while rapidly adapting to customer needs will be the need of the hour. With all of these in mind, we developed Culinary Suite, which offers a range of cloud-based solutions including culinary operation, digital display, online menus, and nutrition with a mobile-enabled platform that facilitates seamless automation. The cloud platform has a range of capabilities, from handling revenue management, menu planning/analysis, nutrition analysis, recipe, and menu costing to purchasing, inventory, online ordering, contactless payment, and digital signboards.

Prateek: Fulcrum Digital has been recognized as one of the best employers by Great Place To Work (GPTW). What are the core values that the organization emphasizes on and how significant it is for any organization to adopt employee-centric policies?

Vaibhav Tare: Trust is at the heart of everything that we do at Fulcrum Digital. Our customers trust us to come up with optimum, cutting edge solutions and our employees are aware of this, they work together to deliver what is promised. As an organization that is spread across the globe, it is imperative for us to stay connected with each other. We have a deep passion to find the right and most practical solutions together. We have a strong sense of family and togetherness.

In sync with one of our top priorities of being employee-centric, we have created a strong mental and overall health support system in addition to an extensive COVID-19 vaccination drive for all our employees and their family members.

  • Let’s TALK- a candid conversation with Rajesh Sinha, Chairman and Founder, Fulcrum Digital, and our employees that provides an informal platform to stay connected
  • CSR: Fulcrum Foundation had adopted a village in Maharashtra, India, and ensures the well-being of the families residing in the village
  • War rooms for Covid-19, to track and support
  • 24×7 doctor on call and mental health support for both employees and their families
  • Oxygen concentrators to be procured in Pune and Mumbai office
  • Office guesthouse open for employees who are stuck due to the pandemic and need medical support
  • COVID-19 Insurance for employees and families (2020-21)
  • BCP (Business Continuity Plan ) and COVID CARE team is formalized from 2020 to take necessary steps to deal with the crisis

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