Amazon Internet is betting on add-on services for growth in India

Cloud spending In India in 2018 was estimated to be about 6 per cent of the total IT spending
This is the best time to be in the cloud services business, believes Amazon Internet Services, an Indian subsidiary of the Amazon Group which undertakes the resale and marketing of AWS Cloud services in India. Here's why. The revenue from public cloud services in India is projected to touch $2.4 billion in 2019, a close to 25 per cent jump over 2018, says global research and advisory firm Gartner. Indeed, India is among the nine countries where the growth rate in cloud adoption will be higher than the global average growth rate of 16 per cent.

Get the drift? To use a cliche, cloud is the “new normal” as companies of every shape and size deploy new applications to the cloud by default or look to migrate as many of their existing applications, as quickly as possible. As experts say, the question for enterprises isn’t “if” anymore; it’s really just “how fast”. “The shift from ‘cloud first’ to a ‘cloud only’ model is pushing organisations in India to increase their spending on public cloud services in order to advance their digital business initiatives,” Sid Nag, research vice-president at Gartner, told the media in June.

Among the early entrants — AWS was launched in 2006 — AWS now offers over 100 services addressing hardware, software, mobility, networking, security, IoT, artificial intelligence, machine learning and content distribution.

Globally, AWS leads the public cloud infrastructure market with 51 per cent share, followed by Microsoft and Alibaba, according to Gartner. The company launched its Asia Pacific (Mumbai) region with two availability zones in 2016, and added a third availability zone this May.

 In India, AWS is like the last word in the start-up segment, having identified the opportunity and built a significant momentum in this space. It is now equally focused on the enterprise space, says the company. Here, its strategy rests on two key planks: To build hubs of digital innovation and second, help organisations optimise existing IT infrastructure and migrate legacy applications to cloud infrastructure.

The small- and medium-size business sector is also emerging as a big pay given its pivotal role in the economy. The challenge for companies here is building a digital presence and retiring technical debt. 

Now look at the areas that will drive business going forward.

Cloud application services (software-as-a-service) is on pace to be the fastest-growing market segment in India in 2019. SaaS revenue is estimated to grow 23 per cent in 2019 to reach $1.15 billion. It is followed by infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) spending, which is estimated to grow 22 per cent in the country in 2019.

Looking beyond cloud, Amazon Internet Services is now focussing on a host of add-on services to push growth. They include image recognition, analytics, text-to-speech, content filtering, and even generating subtitles for videos. 

In the past couple of years, AIS has expanded its geographical footprint in India, with offices and staff in seven cities. India also has the second largest presence for Direct Connect, a service that allows customers to connect with the AWS cloud faster, allowing quick transfer and migration of data. In addition, AIS provides voice-based services powered by Polly, its text-to-speech service, explains Navdeep Manaktala, head of business development, AIS. 

While interactive voice recording is an obvious application, Polly lets customers change messaging on the fly, have custom messaging for particular periods of the day and so on. “You have the option to choose the gender as well as the accent. You can change the speed of the voice and change age of the voice. You can make it sound like a younger person, a child or a mature person. A particular piece of content can be read out to you as a newscast, or it could be more conversational. You can decide the tone of how it will be read out to you,” Manaktala adds.

AIS is also betting big on the media space, and recently built DishTV’s over-the-top licensed and original content app Watcho. It will provide the analytics to help DishTV get a view of content consumption habits of users, and help reduce the biggest cost for any OTT player — content. The analytics will help DishTV build content according to consumer demand.

In the media vertical, Amazon also has vision service that could help in content moderation, so that customers can filter undesirable content. “You can use artificial intelligence and machine learning for subtitling. Then, we also have translation so you can have subtitles in multiple languages,” adds Manaktala.

On data localisation, or storing customer data in the country, Manaktala said the issue was important for customers. “But is it a big conversation with us? No. Because from the beginning, we let you decide where you store your data. You decide where your data is stored and we will never move the data without your explicitly triggering it. And, you can go to the AWS console and decide which region you want your data to be stored in,” he says.  

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel