30 March 2015 13:19:36 IST

Infy's next goal: Digitising open spaces

Vishal Sikka, CEO, Infosys

Idea is to make digital ubiquitous in physical spaces, says CEO Sikka

One of the next big innovations that Infosys will showcase to customers soon is digitised physical spaces.

The offering, a work in progress, is in alignment with CEO Vishal Sikka’s ‘renew and new’ strategy and will include retail stores, hospitals, offices, bank branches and even buses.

“One big innovation that I am very excited about and which brings together two unique skills that we have at Infosys is in digitising physical spaces. We have an unbelievable competence in building physical infrastructure as demonstrated in all of our development centres across the country and our other area of competence area is in software coding/technology,” Sikka told BusinessLine .

Citing the example of Infosys’ Hyderabad development centre which uses radiant cooling instead of air-conditioning, Sikka said “It’s 45 degrees Celsius outside, but we cool the walls with water that is re-circulated around the campus. So the temperature is always 20 degrees Celsius inside, consuming only one-fifth the energy of a normal building of that size. Then we have a ton of instrumentation, predictive maintenance on elevators, doors, windows and HVAC equipment. Our command centre in Bangalore centrally controls all the development centre operations and tracks every window, door or elevator in each of our facilities. For instance, we have close to 1,000 elevators in all our campuses and in each facility we know on which floor, which shaft is broken at any given point in time.”

He pointed out that all this amounts to digitising the back-end which Infosys has been very good at.

Challenge ahead The challenge that Sikka and his team are currently working on, is to digitise the front-end where customers, employees or people walk into bank branches, retail stores or hospitals or sit through long bus commutes.

The current understanding of digital is interacting through small screens like mobile phones and tablets.

“Five years from now, we will realise how stupid that is. Digital should be ubiquitous and all around us. This table that we are seated at will be intelligent in future, enabling a swipe movement on its surface, which will then generate a pop-up screen through which I can alert someone who will get us our order of diet coke or tea; without us having to stop our discussions to go find someone who can do it.”

A Tesla or a Mercedes S Class 2014 car are great example of interiors that have become digital, Sikka said; and Infosys has the expertise to do the same in retail stores, bank branches, hospitals and buses. “We are re-designing our buses to become digital to create a more pleasant, interactive commute experience for Infoscions.”

To enable his ‘renew and new strategy’ Sikka has introduced Infoscions to design thinking principles which can be applied to solving customer problems and has inducted former colleague and design head at SAP, Sanjay Rajagopalan as Senior Vice President and head of design at Infosys. Over 12,300 Infoscions have been trained in design thinking, since Sikka took over.